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.