My New Workout! (Harry Potter Marathon Weekend)

I just need to take a second to pat myself on the back... I have been doing a really good job of trying out new workouts recently. I actually have started tackling the things I pin on my Fitness board and the routines I pull out of magazines. It feels really good to change things up and try out new moves. If I love them, I can incorporate them often; if I hate them, I can find a move I like better for that body part. I filled out a workout calendar for the month of July, with each day focusing on a different area (legs, arms, abs, etc). Even though I haven't been following the calendar 100%, it makes me think a lot more about which muscle groups I'm targeting. I think in a few months I might even post a workout calendar on this blog!

Even though I've been pretty consistent with doing my workouts, I have really been avoiding hardcore cardio. I think it's just the hot summer weather- I don't want to go outside, and I'm tired of doing the same "cardio blasts" (jump rope, burpees, jumping jacks). I've been thinking about joining a gym again, but I'm not sure if it's worth the money. There are a couple new gyms in town- a Farrell's and a CrossFit "box"! Anyone have any advice? Have you been to one of these gyms?

I tried on wedding dresses last week, and I think I may have found THE DRESS. I would totally post a picture, but my faithful fiance reads my blog and looks at my Pinterest boards, so I'll have to keep you in the dark. I'm right between a size 8 and 10, and I would love to fit in the size 8 before I decide to make the purchase. Maybe that's what's behind my new-found fitness motivation!

A very popular pin on Pinterest is this Harry Potter Workout. I've seen it before, but I saw it posted on a blog I regularly read this past week and I realized that ABC Family would be showing the Harry Potter movies over the weekend. Here's the jist:

I did this 2 nights in a row. The first night (Chamber of Secrets), I ended up doing 125 push-ups, 200 jumping jacks, 200 bicycles, 150 crunches, etc etc. The second night (end of Goblet of Fire and most of Order of the Phoenix), I changed the exercises to work different muscles. I ended up doing a lot of side planks, calf raises, triceps dips, and side lunges.

Reasons I LOVED this workout idea:
-I burned 400-500 calories each time
-I got a workout in while watching something I probably would have watched anyway
-There was enough time in between exercises that I hardly even felt like I was working (125 push-ups in one night?!?!? Unbelievable. I'm still a little sore).
-I got a spark of inspiration to start making these workouts for things I normally watch- Modern Family, Say Yes to the Dress, Biggest Loser, and so on. I already made the Modern Family workout today... but you'll have to wait a few days before I post it! What do you think about this idea? Are there any shows you want me to make a workout plan for? Let me know!

Last but not least, the Workout Move of the Week: Sumo Squat Swing

Start with feet wider than hip-width, with knees and toes slightly turned out. Hold one end of a dumbbell (or kettlebell) with both hands.
Squat down and tap the dumbbell on the floor. Stand and swing dumbbell overhead, using your hips to propel you up. Squeeze that booty!

Try a workout during your favorite TV show or movie and let me know how it goes!


Two Quick and Easy Recipes

As promised, here are two simple recipes I tried out (successfully) this week:

1. Skillet Salmon and Parmesan Potatoes
I love salmon. I like it with all different kinds of flavors, sauces, and sides. I stumbled across a list of 20 easy salmon recipes, and I decided it was time for me to experiment cooking salmon myself (I always make Josh do it). I picked this specific recipe because I already had all the ingredients on hand.

-Salmon fillets (I cooked 4 for my family)
-Cooking Spray (I used an awesome Tuscan Italian Herb flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil from a local shop in the pan instead)
-2 medium potatoes
-Parmesan cheese (I used the shaker stuff because I didn't have any fresh Parmesan on hand)
-Salad greens (Just romaine for us)
-Tomatoes (I substituted chopped carrots and celery)
-Low-fat balsamic vinaigrette
-1 Lemon
-Salt and pepper

1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add Olive Oil to pan. Add fish to pan and cook for 6 minutes on each side.
2. While fish is cooking, pierce potatoes with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes. Rearrange potatoes and microwave for another 3-5 minutes. Then let stand for another 5 minutes.
3. Cut cooked potatoes in half and season with cheese, salt, and pepper.
4. Add chopped carrots and celery to lettuce and toss with vinaigrette.
5. Squeeze lemon juice over salmon and serve. I also added a touch of butter.

Nutritional Information (per serving, according to health.com)
410 Calories
12 g of Fat
30 g of Protein
49 g of Carbohydrates
7 g of Fiber
50 mg of Cholesterol
800 mg of Sodium

Yum! This is the perfect recipe to make when time is short (I made almost the whole meal during half-time of a soccer game on tv) because you can easily do the prep work while the salmon is cooking. It only takes about 15 minutes and it is simple and healthy!

2. Triple Berry Banana Yogurt Smoothie
Josh surprised me this week with a single-serving blender! I had to try it out right away. I searched for a recipe that included yogurt (I had a big container I needed to use up) and fresh/frozen fruit.

-8 oz. frozen mixed berries
-2 small bananas, peeled, frozen and cut into pieces
-6 oz. vanilla yogurt (I used Fit & Active Non-fat vanilla yogurt, but you could easily substitute Greek yogurt or a flavored yogurt)
-1 cup milk (Although the recipe calls for whole milk, I used skim milk and it was great)
-1 to 2 tbsp. honey (I added some honey, but not that much. It really doesn't need the added sugar)

This smoothie was SUPER creamy and thick. It tasted really great, and it has pretty good ingredients. I know there's some sugar and fat in it, but it's better than eating ice cream (which would be my normal choice). The thing I didn't like about it was that it was crazy seedy. I know, I know, what did I expect when it's full of raspberries and blackberries? Anyway, I think next time I might try to strain out some of the seeds.

I'm still keeping up with trying out new workout routines. I've also been doing Cassey Ho's Bikini Blasters every few days and I am loving those. My mom had mentioned that she is wanting to start toning up, so I am going to start making up short and easy routines that she can do in our living room. Super excited about that!

The other thing I'm super excited about? My new shoes! My best friend and her fiance are in town this weekend, and we all went shopping at the outlet mall. We went to Nine West because she was looking for shoes to wear to a wedding. The whole store was BOGO, so she forced me to get something. These are so summery, so cute, and so perfect for the 4th of July (and only ended up being 10 bucks)!

(Sorry about the lame cell phone picture, I couldn't find a pic online)

Lots more to chatter on about, but I will save it for another post. Have a great weekend!


Crafting a good workout playlist

Even though I haven't talked about it on this blog yet, I'm obsessed with music. I loved everything, from country when I was younger, to pop-punk and more indie stuff. When I met Josh, he introduced me to a whole new world of music (hello, Avett Brothers) and we regularly burn mixes for each other to share music we love. We also listen to the radio ALL THE TIME (partly due to the fact that both of our CD players were on the fritz). Since we don't get a lot of variety in Columbus, Indiana, we even listen to country. And Radio Disney. I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you like something, like it and be proud. I will belt Bieber, Kenny Chesney, and Mumford & Sons in the same sitting. So what do I listen to when I work out?

I lived at home during my second year of college, and since there was never anything to do, I went to the gym quite a bit. I always ran on the treadmill, and my go-to running playlist was a simple shuffle of Panic at the Disco's first album, Paramore, and Fall Out Boy. It was the perfect tempo for a fairly well-paced run. No matter how many times I went to the gym in a week, I never got sick of this playlist. Those were simple times.

A few years ago, my sister gave me an Ipod shuffle for Christmas (best present ever). Around this time, I also started following podcasts and getting a bunch of free playlists of unknown bands. I'm really bad at listening to new music (I get caught up in my old favorites), so I decided to load all new music onto my shuffle and listen to that in the gym. This worked well for a while- I just skipped over songs that weren't my style or weren't the right tempo. Eventually I got tired of this because I didn't know the track titles or band names, and I couldn't keep straight what songs I liked.

Now, I fill my shuffle with a crazy mix of songs- country, pop/radio hits, rap, and old favorites. It works well because I know I like the songs, so I only have to skip over songs that aren't fitting what I'm doing. I throw some slower songs on for strength training so I remember to focus on my movements. So without further ado, here are 2 quick playlists- 1 for cardio and 1 for weight-lifting.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Keep your eyes out for a few recipes I'll be sharing soon. I tried some new ones today!


The best Nike commercial I've ever seen (Title IX)

I'm not sure whether I was watching a soccer game (either Euro 2012 or MLS) or Olympic trials on tv today, but I saw this seriously awesome Nike commercial. It gave me goosebumps.

It came out at a perfect time, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX- "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." As a female athlete and tomboy, I know what it's like to deal with boys who won't pass you the ball. I'm used to being picked last for sports when I'm playing with guys. And I savor the looks of amazement on their faces when I kick their asses. So, girl power! I'm so thankful for the women and girls who led the way and are good role models for female athletes today.

I had a pretty lazy day, but I decided to try one of the many workouts I rip out from magazines but never get around to trying. This one is the Beach Body Circuit workout found in the June 2012 issue of Fitness magazine, and you can find the slideshow of it on their website here. Just looking at the pictures, I had no idea how challenging it would actually be (except for the Plank, Row, Flye. I knew that one would be suck suck suck). Some of the moves were fairly simple and I wish I had heavier weights to use with them. I liked the short cardio bursts between sets and I definitely worked up a sweat. I was even able to do this in the living room while Josh was watching a soccer game without disturbing him too much. When I plugged it into www.weighttraining.com, it said I burned something like 600 calories. Pretty sure that's still too high of a number, but I feel good, and tired. Doing 2 complete circuits took about half an hour.

This workout also led me to this week's Workout Move of the Week: The Wraparound
You start lying face up with your legs extended and arms extended behind your head holding a weight (I used 8 lbs). You raise up your right leg to 90 degrees and raise your head and shoulders at the same time, passing the weight around your leg. Then you return to the starting position and do it again but with your left leg. 20 alternating reps.
I loved this move because there were lots of things going on at once, and I could feel my abs and obliques working hard.

I'm getting up early tomorrow to go watch Josh's 5 and 7 year old niece and nephew, so I'll be starting my day running around A LOT. Wish me luck!


3 Things

1: Workout Recap
I found two more Jillian DVDs at the public library (Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and 30 Day Shred). I did Level 1 of 30 Day Shred on Thursday morning. It's the same setup as my fave Ripped in 30, but I didn't like it as much. I'll be putting up a full review soon (as soon as I have made it through all 3 levels a few times. I did four 6 minute circuits of Boost Metabolism today (all cardio, all high intensity, with each circuit focusing on a specific area). It was pretty killer, but the 30 second bursts of different exercises kept it fun. I'm hoping to post a review of the entire DVD (which has 7 circuits) sometime this week.
I am really getting into logging my workouts on www.weighttraining.com. It's a great boost to look at all the calories I've burned, weight I've lifted, etc. Even if I'm not completing a full workout or I can't do as much as I wish I could, I still log what I do and I can focus on what I can do. It's definitely helped me think more positively about myself and my workouts. There are also cool features like challenges and competitions that offer even more incentives for doing work.

2: Peaches
Can I just say how ridiculously excited I am that peaches are finally in season? I imagine heaven is comparable to biting into the first ripe peach of summer.

Hello, you beautiful thing. My dad refuses to eat peaches because when he was a kid, he ate a peach from a tree and there was a worm in it. More peaches for me!

3: Zionsville, Indiana
Josh and I went up to Zionsville on Friday. I had a job interview here:
This picture does it no justice. It was literally breathtaking. This is a MIDDLE SCHOOL, by the way.
After my interview (not holding my breath), Josh took me downtown to Main St. so we could walk around. It was the happiest place on earth. Brick paved road, houses from the 1800s, shops and restaurants, gardens in alleys, character. I was "awww-ing" up a storm.

Bumming around home for the rest of the day (and probably weekend). I have had 13-14 hour days recently and I am happy to be home and relaxing!




HIIT a.k.a. High Intensity Interval Training. My workout today. This is the same workout I tried to do a few days ago, but this time I was more prepared for the insanity. Here's what I did:

Warm-up: 15-20 reps of bodyweight lunges
Superset (each exercise flows into the next without any breaks or rest):
-35 reps split squat jumps
-30 seconds narrow stance static squat
-10 burpees
-30 seconds plank
-75 mountain climbers
-10 push ups
-40 reps spiderman planks
-8 reps downward dogging cobra (this is "recovery". ha!)
-15 reps plie squats
-15 reps in-and-outs
-15 reps out-and-ups
-30 seconds static squat
-10 burpees
 ANDDDD a 90 second break before doing it all again (THREE more times actually).

At least that was the plan. I did manage to do 2 sets. Each set takes about 10 minutes, and after 20 minutes of HIIT, I was ready to die. When I logged my workout into www.weighttraining.com, it said I burned something like 800 calories. While I'm fairly certain this is way too high, I know I burned quite a few calories. So much sweat. And as I'm writing this an hour later, I still feel shaky. It's a good thing, right?

I spent the rest of my day swimming at the lake with Josh, watching Euro2012 games, and (ugh) going to the dentist. I don't hate the dentist as much as some people (i.e. my sister- check out her blog), but I certainly don't enjoy it. This trip was special though. While in the waiting room, a little boy with Down syndrome took a shine to me. I said hi and he sat down right next to me. First question: "Are you married?" When I told him not yet, he grabbed a pamphlet off a table, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him (and gave me the pamphlet). What makes this moment even better? "Single Ladies" by Beyonce was playing in the background. Yes, please. As he left, he even gave me one of these:
Only he was way cuter.
I mean, seriously. This really happened. I love my life!


The overwhelming need for Icy Hot

Consider yesterday my most hodge-podge workout day of all time. Let me recap my day:

1. I wanted to try this new workout guide for the month of June featured on one of my favorite blogs, Blogilates. This girl's motto is "Train insane or remain the same". Yes. I did one of her videos which is a muscle-specific challenge set to a pop song. My choice: Glad You Came Calves Challenge. Basically, your heels don't touch the ground for 3ish minutes and you do calf raises and pulses. Torture. Even more torturous? The way my calves feel today. I am limping around like Forrest Gump with his magic legs.

2. I also tried to do a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout found on the same blog. You're supposed to go through the circuit 4 times. I didn't even finish one. Whoops. I did some random arms moves with dumbbells while watching TV- concentrated curls, one-arm rows, butterflies, etc.

3. Josh and I went out to the lake, and decided to take my dog Maggie with us.
Totally my favorite picture of the 2 of us.
It's fun to take her out to the lake and watch her frolic in the water. She leaps like a gazelle and chomps on the water like she's eating it. We kept her on the lead because she's not a very well-trained dog... until she just looked so darn cute jumping around that we decided to let her off the leash. It worked for about 2 seconds until she decided to go explore the shoreline, and then poop in the neighbor's lawn. As Josh headed up to the car to get a plastic bag to clean it up, Mags took one look at us and sprinted up the driveway like an unruly teenager. Almost no one was out at the lake on midday Friday, so it was just the two of us searching the roads and woods for my crazy dog. Luckily, I heard her exploring the woods and I was able to follow her close enough that I could at least keep track of her. She eventually worked her way back to our cabin (after leading me across a creek and into multiple people's yards and back) and acted like she was going to jump in the car. Fooled us again. She ran off down the drive AGAIN. By this time, I was fed up. She stopped to sniff a plant and I got real with her. Dog whisperer and stuff. "MAGGIE COME!" And she listened (or she was just tired and knew I would give her water). So there was another workout for the day. Did I mention that this dog is "AKC Good Citizen" trained? Pshhh.

4. Last but not least, Josh and I went to his parents' house to water the plants and take care of their dog. They have a trampoline, so I decided to try to make it like a workout. I'm not sure how effective it was, other than cardio, but I'm pretty sure I looked like this:
Maybe I should have mentioned this at the beginning of the post, but I joined Weighttraining.com. It's pretty cool- you start with a Fitness Report Card, log workouts, and compete in challenges. Just another factor that I'm hoping will motivate me. I'll have a more detailed post about this in a few days.

Now, back to the heating pad!


And now, for something completely different...

It's me! I haven't disappeared... I've been on vacation in the lands of Iowa and Minnesota for the past 10 days or so. I have always been bad about keeping up with exercising and healthy eating during vacations (why run on the beach when you can lay on it??) and this trip was no different. If I'd have thought ahead, I would have come up with a doable vacation workout plan. But the trip came up before I knew it, and when the time came, I was just not prepared to try to workout on top of everything else (you know, sleeping in, spending time with family, checking out new places).

So instead of making this a typical post, I decided to share some highlights of my trip:

1. We visited my sister and brother-in-law in Iowa. Not only is my sister my favorite person, but we got to spend a lot of time planning out DIY projects for my upcoming wedding! I also found a cheapo dress at Old Navy to wear in the engagement pics (more on this in a minute)...

2. The first thing we did in MN was visit the Mall of America. I like shopping, and this place is one hell of an experience. I usually run out of steam by the 2nd floor, which I'm sure suits Josh just fine. At Barnes and Noble, I did pick up a bargain priced Pilates book called Pilates Practice Companion. I haven't had much of a chance to explore it, but it starts with an introduction to the benefits of Pilates and a "baseline"- record of your beginning strength, alignment, breathing, stability, flexibility, etc. I am hoping to start trying some of the Pilates in this book beginning next week after I record my baseline. I'll measure it again in 6 weeks and see where I stand!

3. Engagement pics! Josh's cousin is a photographer, and it recently occurred to us to ask her to take our pictures. Here's just a preview of the end result:

So cool, right? She takes some ah-maz-ing portraits (especially of her super cute kids) so go check out her Facebook page!

4. I got to explore downtown Minneapolis for the first time. I love spending time in MN and I love Josh's family (they have an annual family reunion each summer). Josh and I have seriously discussed moving there. We shall see...

5. Getting out of the car after the 11 hour trip. There's no place like home.

Josh and I are planning to go out to the lake tomorrow, which means I have an opportunity to be his drill sergeant for another workout. Yay!


Four star chicken recipe!

So instead of going on and on about working out, I'm going to share my new favorite chicken recipe with you. It's part of Jillian's Ripped in 30 Diet Plan, so it's really healthy AND easy to make.

Nut Encrusted Chicken Breasts

-1/2 cup unsalted almonds, toasted
-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-3/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
-1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
-1 garlic clove
-1/4 tsp. salt
-4 (4-5 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, garlic, and salt. Process until coarsely chopped; the mixture will be a thick paste. Arrange the chicken breast halves in a baking dish. Divide the almond paste and spread on the breasts; pat down to cover each breast completely. Roast in the oven until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165-170 degrees, about 10 minutes. Loosely tent with foil and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 4
293 Calories per serving
17.4 grams of fat
4.3 grams of carbohydrates
194.2 mg sodium
30 grams of protein

I wish I had a picture to include, but I don't. I've found that I've had to cook the chicken more like 20-25 minutes for it to cook through (probably because I've used bigger pieces of chicken). We ate this chicken this week with steamed broccoli. Delish!


Listen for the unwritten symphonies in your footsteps

Started out this morning with Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown. I found a copy of the DVD at the public library! Like I've said before, I am not a yoga person. I've always been incredibly intimidated by "yoga people". I have been trying lots of new things in the past few months health/fitness-wise, so I figured now is the time to give yoga a shot. I just did the Level One circuit (about 30 minutes of basic yoga moves). It was all body weight training, with reps of small movements included instead of just holding poses (then again, I'm not sure whether that's the "norm" or not). The workout felt good- I was working up a sweat but not gasping for breath.

After the yoga, I took my dog for a walk and realized that the blazing heat of the past few weeks had broken. It was cloudy, breezy, and even cool. I felt so good, I decided to go to a people trail and jog. In my younger years (haha) I ran this trail fairly frequently. I was never a hardcore runner, but I did run a lot for soccer training. This trail is 1.4 miles and I remember that I could run it in about 10:20 (not amazing by any means, but it got the job done for soccer fitness tests). Today, I started running with that time in mind. I wanted to compare. Yikes. I had to walk a few times, and I ended up finishing in 13:17. At least now I have a specific running-related goal to work towards! (Side note, the title of this post is what I was trying to chant to myself during my jog...)

Diet-wise, I have cheated slightly a few times (i.e. eating bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds), but I haven't had anything bad. I did get a Starbucks frappuccino today, but I controlled my urge to get a box of candy when we went to the movies. I'm counting that in the win column. We went grocery shopping tonight so I have all sorts of healthy options for the coming week. I'll have to start posting recipes!

I did this today! I'm sure I looked just like this too (haha)


Be the best version of you

I spent this weekend out of town at a soccer tournament (unfortunately, as a spectator, not a player) so I didn't get much time to work out. I did get to go swimming twice, so I tried to focus more than normal on making it workout-esque. Today, I spent 2 hours in the pool playing with my 5 and 7 year old niece and nephew... definitely a workout. I also did Level 4 of Jillian Ripped in 30, so I feel pretty good about what track I'm on. Being in a bathing suit, I've realized that while I haven't lost any weight, I've definitely put on some muscle.

While I like having muscles, I've always wanted the slim, toned kind of muscles, not the female-body-builder kind of muscles (Not that I'm anywhere near either of those options...). Josh and I will be getting our engagement pictures taken when we're in Minnesota in about 10 days, so we've decided we need to really get our butts in gear to be looking good for our photo shoot. Meaning, I'll finally be getting back to healthy, mindful eating.

The only "diet" I've ever tried is the 17 Day Diet. My parents, Josh, and I did this at the beginning of the year- we lasted about 2 or 3 weeks without much cheating, but then kind of slipped. Within the first week, I lost something like 4 pounds. I'm thinking I could stand to lose 5 pounds before the pictures, and then hopefully maintain a steadier weight loss after a few weeks. The first 17 days on this plan is called the "Accelerate" Cycle. Here are the basics (i.e. what I'll willingly eat):

Lean Proteins:
Canned Light Tuna
Other Fish
Chicken Breast
Turkey Breast
Ground Turkey

Cleansing Veggies:
Bell Pepper

Low Sugar Fruit:
Red Grapes

Cottage Cheese

As you can see, this is a fairly restrictive diet plan. It's a definite challenge, and I won't lie and say I never felt hungry. I will say, however, that if you're looking for a way to change your mindset about eating (healthy snacking, portion control, natural foods, etc.) this could be a good spark. I'm already brainstorming different recipes I can try that will fit in with this diet plan. We shall see how this experiment goes!

Workout Move of the Week: Sun Salutation
The Sun Salutation Sequence
That's right, I picked a yoga pose! Jillian includes this sequence in the Shed and Shred DVD and I like it a lot. I read an article by a woman who was specifically working to increase her flexibility and she said she started each day with a few sun salutations. Sounds like a plan.

Until next time...



Get after it!

After my brutal workout Monday, I took Tuesday off. Other than walking my dog a few times, I could barely even bring myself to move. I refused to let myself slide though. Wednesday, I did Jillian's Ripped in 30 Week 3 workout. Today I did the Week 2 workout. So I'm still on track this week. Let me walk you through what a Ripped in 30 workout looks like....

1. Warm-up (usually about 5 minutes, but even some of the warm-up moves are challenging!)
2. Circuits. There are 3 circuits with completely different moves. Each circuit follows the same pattern: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute abs. Within each section, you do 30 second bursts (i.e. strength would be 30 seconds of push-ups, 30 seconds of squat presses, and 30 seconds of side lunges with front raises; then repeat once).
3. Cool down- stretching.

This is why I love this DVD: The entire workout only takes about 30 minutes, but you get the whole package. I used to go to the gym and do strength training for about 45 minutes, plus cardio for 30 minutes. And never did I work as hard as I work during these Ripped in 30 routines. More effective in less time? Yes, please!

Another reason: I really love Jillian Michaels (if you can't tell by how I refer to her on a first name basis...). She's insane and tough, but she pushes me and helps me find that athlete that's disappeared lately. Not everyone wants that in their workout, so my advice is try out different DVDs/trainers/methods until you find one you like and that seems natural. I could never stay on track when I tried Jennifer Kries "The Method" workouts, because I couldn't do anything the way she did it and that made her annoying.

She was too flexible, too controlled, too calm. (If that sounds nice to you, check her out). I need someone pushing me and reminding me they can kick my ass!

As for the drinking more water goal, it's been going great. Other than having to pee all the time, I haven't run into any difficulties. I've heard that after a few days of drinking more water, your body adjusts to the new level so you don't have to get out of bed three times a night to go to the bathroom. I've also heard that not drinking enough water actually makes your body hold onto water weight because it's dehydrated and doesn't want to get rid of water. Interesting.

We haven't gone to the grocery store lately, so don't even ask what I've been eating... One step at a time.


If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up...

Well... didn't take long for me to fall off the wagon. I got distracted with subbing, graduation, and job interviews (good things to be distracted by, at least!). Like I've mentioned before, once I miss a day, I find it so easy to slide back down the hill to my lazy ways. And no one wants to blog about how lazy they are when they should be working out and cooking healthy recipes. I'll be honest, it's been extremely hard for me to stay on track not just with cooking, but with healthy eating in general. I crave sweets morning, noon, and night; getting those cravings under control is not going too well. I need to come up with a plan (something that's strict but something I can actually follow) for what I can eat and when. More on that in the next few days.

I decided over the weekend that I'm going to mix up my fitness routine. I have two Jillian Michaels DVDs (Ripped in 30 and Extreme Shed and Shred)- in all, there are 6 different routines from these programs. So instead of doing the same weekly routine every day and switching on Sundays, I'm going to try doing a different routine every day (meaning I should be doing these workouts 5-6 times a week- another way to keep me in check). I started right in tonight (Monday) with 80 minutes of Extreme Shed and Shred. Yes, it was painful. I was drenched in sweat. I whined. I yelled at Jillian through the TV. Josh can attest to all of these things. But, an hour later, I feel amazing. Whether I'll be able to move enough to do a workout tomorrow is another story... :)

3 things I want to start focusing on for this blog:
         1. Trying out some new moves and picking out a "Move of the Week", which I will share on Mondays. (I definitely need a jazzier name than "move of the week" but I can't come up with anything right now).
         2.  Sharing workout songs I particularly like. Warning to all you music snobs: there will be terrible, lame, and ridiculous pop music and guilty pleasures, and I won't be ashamed to share them with you.
         3. Picking one facet of healthy eating/living that I will try to incorporate into my routine that week. My thought here is that I can't just change everything in my life and expect to stick to it and not cheat. Instead, if I focus on one or two things each week, they will be routine by Saturday. This week, I'm starting simple and basic: Drink more water. Always have it, drink throughout the day. Easy enough, right?

Move of the Week (Week One):
The Plank... Master it, because I will be putting up a ton of variations on this move. It's awesome.

That's all for now. I promise to be back next time without such a long hiatus.


Day One (and Two)

Well, I knew I was out of shape, but WOW. J and I immediately changed into our workout clothes after school (a good way to get yourself going before you can convince yourself otherwise). We went to the people trail and officially started Day 1 of our 5K training. Even though it was only 2 miles total, it was challenging. It was nice to have the intervals so we could work hard and then have recovery built in. The good news is we did it! Day one was a success.

We intended to make salmon and red potatoes for dinner, but I failed to read the part in the recipe that said to marinate the salmon for 3 hours. Seeing as we didn't want to eat dinner at 10 p.m., we decided to make chicken, black bean, and rice casserole. It has a lot of healthy ingredients (the zucchini was even edible), and it tasted fantastic. We added some low fat plain Greek yogurt to ours; it acts like sour cream and really added a nice touch.

The plan for today's workout was crosstraining, so J and I were going to ride our bikes to the library and back (about 8 miles round-trip). Instead, I got to be a drill sergeant! Josh and I jogged to a park/playgound, and did bodyweight exercises and cardio using things there (i.e. wall sits in the handball court, triceps dips on park benches, etc.). It actually ended up being really fun- for me at least. I made Josh do all the killer things that Jillian Michaels makes me do (duck walk!). Honestly, we spent about an hour total on the workout, and it was great. Find a fitness buddy! Time flew. We also went to Indy to do some stuff at IUPUI, and while we were there, we decided to walk the canal (my favorite place in the city) with our friend Jennie. Another good workout, and we even included some strength training.

Our Tuesday dinner was the maple grilled salmon with smashed red potatoes. The results were mixed. J and I weren't fans, but my parents liked it. It was definitely missing something. Any thoughts of what to add to it?

Until next time...


The Starting Line

Before you start any new workout plan, it's important to know your body: what it can do, what it can't, and what you want it to do. I hate trying to follow along with a DVD or pictures of moves performed by insanely fit and flexible people. It doesn't inspire me; it discourages me. Why? I will never be able to bend my body in half like this. So here's what I know about my body:

1. I am inflexible. Sit-and-reach was my worst nightmare during gym class fitness tests. One of my main fitness goals is to increase my flexibility. Baby steps here. I'll be trying out yoga and pilates-inspired moves little by little, but not enough to burn me out.

2. I have weak arms. After playing soccer for 18 or so years, I got pretty beastly legs. Downside, my arms were mostly ignored for that time. I won't be focusing all of my moves just on toning my arms; I'll be doing total body workouts. But I'll be looking for lots of ways to tone up my arms specifically.

3. Although I'm pretty out of shape right now, I'm an athlete. My body has the capacity to do amazing things when I push it to the limit. So whenever I feel overwhelmed, like I can't do it, I have to think about what I can do. Things I've done before. Two-a-days in the blazing heat. 80 minute games with no subs. A million different kinds of sprints. Grueling stadium laps after a timed mile and a half. My body is capable. I just need to get my mind on that level.

Tomorrow is the big day. The beginning of the 5k training and cooking healthy recipes. I've taken my starting measurements and weight. I've never been a believer in the scale, because I don't feel like it's a very good gauge of my progress. I'm looking forward to seeing if my measurements change even if the scale doesn't budge.

Anyone else at the starting line with me?


Reasons Why...

I never thought I would be writing a blog. The last time I tried something like this, I was writing a melodramatic LiveJournal as a freshman in high school. Needless to say, my life is a little different these days. In December 2011, I graduated from college and got engaged. How did those two events lead to me writing a blog? The transition from student teaching (the most stressful eight weeks of my life) to being a grad with no job meant I got a lot more free time; having a wedding to plan meant I was suddenly prowling the Internet searching for everything from a dress to DIY projects to workouts.

A girl's gotta look good on her wedding day, so I started focusing in more on my health and fitness. I joined a gym, bought some new DVDs and equipment, and started reading health magazines. The real kicker, though, was a favorite of many... Pinterest. I noticed that some people were following me and re-pinning my workouts, so I thought I might as well take this next step.

I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to working out. I love how I feel when I am eating well and exercising, but I never keep it up ("I'm too tired" is my go-to excuse... which seems pretty valid after substitute teaching for hooligans all day). A day off is never a bad thing, but my one day off always leads to another day off, and another. Having this blog will be like my own personal trainer, hanging over my shoulder and pushing me to do work. And hopefully, people who read this will be motivated to start making their own changes (and sharing them with me).

When I'm doing my Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 workout, she always says how important it is to be goal-oriented. (Side note: Seriously, get this DVD. It makes me euphoric while also making me want to keel over and die. A perfect combination in a workout). So it's only fitting that I start out my first blog post with a few goals:

1. When Monday rolls around, I'm starting the "5 Weeks to a 5K" plan. Josh and I will be doing this together so we can push each other through the shock of running, outside, for an extended period of time, with no soccer ball in sight. I found the 5 week plan here at shape.com.

2. I recently started cooking. Then I recently gave up cooking. But over the weekend, I am planning meals for the rest of the week, going grocery shopping, and following that plan throughout the week. Most of the meals I'll be making will be healthy (hopefully), so I'll add links to those recipes as I go. First up is Maple Grilled Salmon and Smashed Red Potatoes. Wish me luck!

In the next few weeks, in addition to updates about the 5K training plan, I'll be adding various strength-training and cardio workouts that I'm trying out. Until then, let's get out there and do work.