Category Archives: Fitness

People are Awesome!

NoActOfKindness

 

 

 

Sometimes someone you may not really know can totally make your day.

I freaking love that.

If you ever have the urge to say something kind and encouraging to someone or to give them a random compliment, I say do it.

You never know how much that will help someone with whatever it is that they are going through.

I have this tendency to hurt myself with little yet devastating injuries from working out.  I am not usually one you need to push to do more.  If you do push me, I will totally smash myself.  It isn’t smart but I will do it nonetheless.  I am on a journey to learn how to push myself without hurting myself.  To train smart and not just hard.  I just get into a sort of “beast mode” and will do things that maybe I shouldn’t do.  It is now my official quest to learn this delicate important balance.  

My latest injury has been a hip flexor strain.  Long story short, I over did it with many fast v sits and jumped right into sprints and  found myself racing a man who is fast and fit and winning and getting really freakin pumped over it so yeah!  Go bitch go! A switch went off and well, 2 days later all the DOMS you can imagine but I kept on going because stupid.  A week later, I strained my right hip flexor.  So there I was with a stupid injury and a certification training in 2 weeks.  Needless to say, I was pissed at myself.  Ice, ibuprofen and total rest for a few days.  I got checked out by my physical therapist.  I love her.  I was good to go but not so fast.  Got back to a spin class on Friday and was feeling great.  Next day, however, a little sore and a little tight so I headed to Sunday yoga class.  

I realized that I was stressing about not going to my classes and if my girl crush instructors were going to be disappointed and think I was a slacker for not showing up to my 5:30 a.m. classes all week.  This has been causing me anxiety as silly as that may sound.  I know strong women are not supposed to care what other people think of them but I’m being completely honest here.  While I couldn’t give a flying frog about what a lot of people think about me, I do care about what the people who matter think and the people who matter in this situation are the ones that I either consider my mentors, coaches and role models or peers who have similar interests and values.  I read somewhere that this has something to do with my birth order.  I am the oldest child of six and they say that makes me a “pleaser”.  In my case it’s true.  I am not only dedicated to my own fitness, but I am dedicated to classes, the instructors, the group, the routine, the community of it all.  It’s a big part of my world and when I can’t do it I am not happy.  Now here’s the part where someone totally made my day today.

I saw one of my early bird classmates at yoga and she said that she missed me in pump.  I was so happy to hear that and to have an opportunity to explain why I wasn’t there all week and that I absolutely HATE to miss my classes.  She was super kind, compassionate and encouraging and it totally lifted a burden off of me.  She encouraged me to rest it and not further injure it, which I already know I should to.  Hearing it from a classmate gave me such a relief and made me feel supported.  It may seem like a little thing, but it made me feel like a huge weight had been lifted.  

My plan this week leading up to my training is going to be to not do early classes and get sleep to heal.  I will do upper body strength exercises such as push ups, planks, dips and chin ups and for cardio I will do jump rope.  I will get to another yoga class and maybe some Pilates.  I will spend my evenings studying my Spin manual and taking notes and come Saturday, I will be ready for that training.  I will schedule a massage for Sunday.

Now I am really feeling positive about the week ahead!  

So thank you gym friend!  You made my day!

People are awesome.

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Gym friend who made my day is 5th from left. I’m second from the right and one of my girl crush instructors is in front. I want to be just like her when I grow up.  And yeah, it was St. Patrick’s Day so that’s why the green.

Smug Cake

Here’s the best thing that ever happened to getting up at 4:30 a.m. in the cold to go work out before going to work:

Two words.  Mug.  Cake.
Mug Cake Chocolate Raspberry

So on my never ending quest for food and ways to make it be healthy and simple, I have come across this thing called the mug cake.  I did not invent the mug cake but if I did, I would have to call it Smug Cake because if I had invented a way to have yummy comfort food that is healthy and quick like this, I would be all sorts of full of myself.  I just came across this idea on Facebook but nevertheless, I have to share this awesomeness with you!

Also I really can’t be too smug because I wore not black pants to boot camp and then did lots and lots and lots of jump rope. If you don’t know why that was a bad idea then please read my workout tip below:  

Workout tip:  If you have ever given birth and you are over 40 and your workout will include lots of jump rope, and maybe you had a little too much coffee before, for the love of all things not embarrassing, do NOT wear any other color pants besides black!  You may not be able to stop nature as you pound your feet down a couple hundred times while your trainer in her amazing way of motivating you to go “faster!” “How many can you get in?!”  gets you to push yourself in ways you never thought possible.  Thank you Jean for being that trainer!  Cindarella Jump RopeBut alas, jump rope is not quite like it was when I was 8.  “Cinderella dressed in yellow….” I suppose maybe yellow was a good choice for jump rope? No. Not really.

In any event, if the same person who peed their pants at boot camp can make a mug cake then you know it is really that simple.  It should be called Duh Cake.

Here is the basic recipe:

  1. One mug
  2. One Banana
  3. One Egg
  4. One Tbsp Dark Cocoa

Instructions:

  1. Beat together.
  2. microwave 2 minutes.
  3. Eat.

For my pre-workout Mug Cake I like to add:

  1. 1 tbs brewed coffee
  2. dash cinnamon
  3. 1tbs maca
  4. dash Himalayan Salt
  5. 1tsp vanilla

This warm, cocoa-y cake definitely helps me to get up early in the morning and has the carbs, protein, caffeine and nutrients in it to get me ready to rock that workout!  This and some black pants and I am pretty much unstoppable.

You could play with the recipe and make it for dessert for your family in cute little Christmas mugs with some peppermint or if you are all about the pumpkin flavor, add a little pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices instead of the cocoa!  Top that shit with some nice cream, serve it with that smug cake look all over your face because you pushed a few buttons on the microwave and made cozy yummy magic happen and now everyone loves you.

Smug Face

Smug Face

Then sit back in your dry pants with your cozy cup of cake and smile because you have cake! And the only thing that got dirty is one mug and a fork.

 

 

Nice Cream

Nice cream:  another really easy recipe

  1. 3 frozen bananas
  2. 1 tsp vanilla
  3. dash of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Peel bananas.  Slice into 2 inch pieces.  Wrap in plastic.  Freeze rock hard (overnight)
  2. Put all ingredients in food processor.  Pulse a couple times then blend.  It will go from chunky, to gooey to creamy.  
  3. Spread into a glass container, cover with plastic wrap and then an air tight lid.
  4. Place in freezer.
  5. Wait at least 2 hours (for gelato type consistency)
  6. Now you can eat it.  

For chocolate – also add 3 tbs of cocoa and 1 tbs coconut oil.

You can add some nut butter while you are spreading it in the dish before you freeze it for chocolate nut butter swirl.  

Get creative!  the possibilities with this are endless!

Pee pants

It’s a Wonder Womanful Life!

lrgscaleu_20260840_Half Moon Bay_Homewares_Coasters_wonder-woman-action-hero-coasterThe New Year.  A blank page.  What have we learned from 2014 that we can bring with us into 2015 and what do we want to leave behind?  What people influenced us and in what way?  Did we make new friends on our journey toward our goals? Which friends, old or new encouraged us or did they discourage us?

One lesson that hit me in the face this year was a meme I came across which said, “Don’t chase people.  Do your own thing and work HARD.  The right people will come into your life and stay.”  I saw this about half way through this year and I decided to take it seriously because I realized that in my efforts to keep certain relationships going and to be accepted by certain people, I was chasing, and that made me feel like a lonely fool.  I decided that I was okay with being alone more, but not okay with wasting my time and the part about being a fool, well, when you are with those few special people who love and accept you for who you are, that can be wicked fun!

So I focused more on my own family and my own interests.  I had a wonderful vacation in the Adirondacks with my husband and kids,  I grew even closer to my daughters and husband and continued to work on my health.  I started the paleo life, worked out a lot more and harder, I made a PR and got a medal in a 5K, I did more yoga and worked on some meditation. I was able to stick with it and resist a lot of foods that I thought I couldn’t live without.  Like this hot delicious looking and smelling pizza.  That was not easy man.  Do you see this pizza?!  See that sauce and cheese? Ridiculous.IMG_0020I count it a victory that the only “cheat” i made over the last 9 months of paleo was a piece of birthday cake for my daughter Claire’s 13th birthday. IMG_0021 If it weren’t a beautiful work of art,  homemade by a friend with fresh and real food ingredients, I may have resisted, but I didn’t and I don’t even consider it a failure because it was the most delicious piece of cake I have ever had and I don’t regret it.  I simply file it under “Holiday Gift to Myself”, and move forward.  Also, this year,  I started this blog, which is something I never thought I would have time for.  I decided to make the best of things that I cannot change.  I stopped chasing.  I started being in the moment.  I enjoyed a quiet and beautiful Christmas with just my husband and girls.  It was agreed by all that it was the best ever and we will continue to do it every year.  I learned that I have the power to be happy.

On my journey of focusing on my own health and fitness, I made a few new friends. I am happy to surround myself with people who encourage and inspire me to be the best I can be and whom I can encourage as well.   I also realized that the old friends who are encouraging and supportive have not left me and those who are not have more or less faded out of my life.  Life is short.  It’s not worth your precious time suffering with people who bring you down or just don’t make you happy anymore.  You may always love them and care about them, but you don’t have to chase them or try to make them understand and accept you.

Looking ahead to 2015, I am taking the accomplishments, encouragement and gratefulness I have gained in 2014 with me and leaving behind what doesn’t serve me anymore.

Someone very cool made a new years resolution for me and invited me to do 27 push ups (or more) a day so that by the end of 2015, we will have each done about 10,000 push ups!  I never thought I would be able to hold a plank with good form for 10 minutes straight but I worked on that all year and by Thanksgiving, there we were, our little “plank club” holding it up for 10 minutes!

Other goals include less caffeine.  That one seems to creep up on me.  It needs to be a little boost, a treat and not a crutch.  Also, getting more consistent sleep, Eating more vegetables and a little less meat.  I want to do more consistent reading of paper books because it is so good for my mind and keeps me off the constant chatter of social media, which wastes time and energy.  I am going to make it a priority to be to work on time.  I have allowed that to get away from me because I try to fit too much into my morning.  It will require me to be more disciplined with my time.  My fitness goals include steady, consistent gains in strength.  I’d like to add more weight to my bar for squats, lunges and presses.  This time last year, my squat weight was 40% lower than it is now.  I am glad I kept a record of that so I could see my progress in a realistic way.  I worried it seemed a little obsessive to do so, but those were the voices of the haters, the eye rollers, the people who don’t get it and don’t get me and now I simply don’t care what they think.

This year I would absolutely love to have people in my life whose goals are similar to mine.  It’s been a little bit of a lonely paleo life thus far, aside from my husband and kids, the only “paleo friends” I have are on the internet,  but even so, I am going to keep with it because I thoroughly enjoy it and feel stronger and healthier as a result.  I have learned a lot about nutrition and fitness that I was clueless to before.  My family has been great and encouraging and that is a lot to say for 2 teenage girls and a man who was in passionate love with Italian bread!  I am also going to be patient with myself as I build this blog.  It is not as sophisticated as many of the great food blogs out there, but those (mostly women) have been an inspiration to me as I forge ahead with my own recipes and build my blogging skills.

I look back at 2014 with gratefulness for all I have been given and learned and improved in and I look ahead to 2015 with optimism, patience and confidence, knowing that slow and steady progress is the most successful, that being here now and mindful of the moment, doing the task at hand, and seeing the beauty right now is the best way to live and to grow.

Also, these shhhweeet adult sized Wonder Woman Underoos that my daughter gave me for Christmas, will remind me that the ones who matter most totally get me, to have fun and not to take myself too seriously.  Also to stay positive because even though I may be a middle-aged mother of 2, working at a desk all day, folding laundry, schlepping around in a 17 year old Subaru and grocery shopping, underneath it all, I know that I am freakin’ Wonder Woman!!   FullSizeRender

 

 

 

 

 

Why I might have to break up with running

imageBack a few years ago, my life changed and I began finding myself in the process.   Right about this time, I started running.  I would do a little running.  It was nothing much, just a mile or so every few days.  Then one day I ran 5K on the treadmill and I decided that I would like to keep doing that and maybe run a 5K race.

So I signed up for my first 5K race that was to be on my 40th birthday.  I felt like this was a great way to kick off my forties.  The last leg of the race was all down hill and I laughed to myself as I thought how ironic it was running to hang on to my youth but really it was “all downhill from here!”

I never did a race before so I wasn’t that concerned with time and I finished it in about 30 minutes  All that was about to change when I decided I wanted to improve my time, so the very next week I did another one and shaved 2 minutes off my time.   A month later, I did a turkey trot and shaved more time off and finished a cold hilly turkey trot with a push from my speedy little sister in just over 27 minutes.  I felt great about my times improving so i wanted to go faster and faster!

That ended up being stupid because every time I ran I was trying to beat my time.  Not on races, but every time I ran until one night I hurt myself on the treadmill and did something to my left knee.  It has given me trouble ever since.

At first, I was in denial and kept trying to do the elliptical at the gym but that was aggravating it too.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I am not a little man from Kenya and I should not have tried to do so much so soon.

Over that last 4 years I have been searching how to help my knee heal and how to run without hurting my knee more.  I searched the internet, read running blogs, went to physical therapy, an orthopedic doctor, had cortizone injections and ate tons of ibuprofen.  Throughout this journey, there are two things that I have learned thus far.   One is to eat anti-inflammatory food such at dark leafy greens, turmeric, ginger and coconut oil and avoid inflammatory foods such as processed foods and sugar, vegetable oils, breads, gluten and legumes.  Also to fuel my body with nutrient dense carbohydrates and proteins.  The other important thing I learned was that I needed to build muscle and strengthen my leg muscles to support my knees better.  In order to do that, I started focusing less on just running and more on strength training and in doing so, I was not beating my knees on the pavement at the same time that I was strengthening them.

I started doing a boot camp class and that was probably the best thing I ever did.  I discovered that I really love classes!  In classes, the trainers plan the workout and you just do it.  It’s great!  I have learned so much from them.  In addition to the boot camp, I started going to a gym and doing more classes; body pump, yoga and spin.  Another benefit to classes as opposed to doing it on your own at home or at a gym, is that you feed off of the energy of the trainer who feeds off of the energy of the class and they are inspired to motivate you even more and then people in the class motivate each other.  It’s like an energetic cycle of motivation.   I discovered quickly after doing these classes that I pushed myself a lot more in this setting than when I worked out on my own and was very encouraged by what I could do.

Without putting so much emphasis on running alone and consistently going to classes, my knee has been much better.  I have decided that running will just be a thing that I will do sometimes.  Maybe do a 5K once or twice a year.  I did my best 5K a year ago in 25:13, placing first in my age/gender but  my dreams of doing a half marathon are on a shelf indefinitely.  I would rather be able to continue working out, gaining strength than blow out my knee.

That being said, I have a 5K coming up this weekend just after my 44th birthday.   I went for a run tonight, this time focusing on my gait.  Landing mid foot, lightly and not striding too far.  Keeping shorter quicker revolutions of my foot falls and  with my knees facing forward and my body upright, slightly bent forward.  I bought a Rehband knee brace.  I think my muscles are going to be sore tomorrow.

imageStupid running.  I hate you but I just can’t stay away from you.  You are the devil but I love you.  Okay.  I will do this race on Sunday, but after that,  no more!  Don’t call me again because we are never ever ever getting back together ….until the next race.

 

UPDATE:  I ran the 5K, beat my previous PR by a few seconds for 24:58 and won 3rd place in my age/gender group.  That’s why I love running.  It feels great to reach your goals!   But I hate it because it’s a bitch.