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Simple Things A to Z

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Last night, Brian and I met with the planner at our wedding reception venue.

Right from the get-go she took us upstairs, offered us some wine and cheese and said let’s get to business.  She is my kind of girl!

The meeting was everything I needed.  Basically, we were just touching base to make sure that we were all on the same page since we made these arrangements over a year ago.  She told us we were ahead of schedule, and made me feel like we really had a handle on things!  Thank goodness!

Breakfast

I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast this morning when I woke up.

Yesterday, there were little scrapings of peanut butter in the jar, so I immediately made myself a batch of overnight oats in a jar to eat this morning.  My oats were then topped with blackberries and strawberries and totally hit the spot.  Yum!

Friday

Ok, so it is Friday, and I really don’t feel like sitting at a desk all day and doing “work” stuff…but I gotta!  So, In order to make Friday fun, I found this little survey to share the simple things that make me tick.  You can see Julie’s survey on Peanut Butter Fingers, Chelsey’s survey on Clean Eating Chelsey, or Dory’s survey on Living with Healthy Hunger.  Enjoy!

The Simple Things: A to Z

A – Almond butter.  I have to restrain myself around the stuff, because it is just so. darn. good.  My favorite varieties are homemade, Justin’s, and Maranatha

B – Brian, my fiancé.  He is my best friend, and I can’t wait to marry him!

C – Christmas. I absolutely LOVE the holidays, especially Christmas.  I love the feel in the air, the traditions, and being close with my family and friends.  Needless to say, I can’t wait for the winter season to roll around.

D – Down time.  I need to work on taking advantage of it more often.

E – Exercise.  Moving, being active, and challenging my body is something that I do, and love to do most days of the week.

F – Friends and family.  Mine are pretty awesome, and I can’t live without them!

G – Grocery shopping day.  I love to go the grocery store,  slowly go through the aisles, and pick the perfect ingredients for every meal coming in the next week.

H – Help.  I love to help out when I can and feel like I have a job and I am needed.  I also welcome help when I need it! 😉

I – Ireland.  Brian is Irish, and his family has remained in close contact with his relatives there.  I can’t wait to meet them someday!

J – Jewelry.  I love accessories and I feel that jewelry totally makes an outfit.  It doesn’t have to be the fanciest or most expensive, just something that puts a little flair of “you” in whatever you are wearing.

K – Kangaroos.  Australia was one of my favorite places to visit while I was working on a cruise ship.  I was lucky enough to feed some, pet some, and get very up close and personal!

L – Love…

M – My Mom. She just gets me when no one else does, she is a great listener, and love how our relationship has developed into my adult life.

N – Nuts.  They say you are what you eat…well, I eat a lot of nuts. 😉

O – Oatmeal.  One of my favorite breakfasts whether it is hot, overnight, in a jar, I love it all the same!

P – Planning.  I have to have my planner with me, and I love trying to schedule everything…even though that is impossible!

Q – Quiet time.  Typically I love to be loud, and around people, but I need that time to myself where I just think.  It’s nice.

R – Running. I love it because all I truly need to complete a run is me, myself, and I …and my running shoes.

S – Strawberries.  They are my absolute favorite fruit. Growing up, we would go strawberry picking each year and I would eat so many that my tummy would hurt…every single time!

T – Traveling. I love experiencing different cultures, different traditions, and just seeing how other people live!

U – Upcoming events.  I love putting things on the planner so that I can look forward to it all the way until it gets here!

V – Vegetables!  I love them so much, and they make me feel so good J  I love them raw, roasted, steamed, baked, any way you make them… I will eat them.

W – Weddings. This summer, Brian and I have attended more weddings then I think I have in my life. I love being a part of the celebration and being able to celebrate this special day in the newly weds’ life.

X – X rays…ummm…Xcellent food! (that was a STRETCH!)

Y – Yoga.  I never had a true appreciation for yoga until I began taking it in order to prepare myself to teach it on the cruise ship.  I haven’t kept up with it as much as I should, but I love the completely relaxed, loose, and free feeling I have after a great yoga session.

Z – ZZZZs… I love getting my Z’s in 🙂

What are some of the simple things in your life?

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New Workout Page and Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

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Boy, oh boy do I have a recipe for you!

But first, I want to tell you about some updates I made to the blog yesterday.

After the usual Sunday grocery shopping and food prep, I got out of the house and headed to Starbucks to completely focus on getting some blog work done.

 

The end result was a mission accomplished!  I updated the workout tab on the top bar, and created a drop down list categorizing various workouts that I have created, my race stats, and I compiled all of my fitness related posts into one place.

So, if you are in need of  a workout routine, then head on over to the workout page to check it out!

Now, on to the important stuff…

Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

I had really been wanting to make a batch of granola recently, so I decided yesterday was as good as a day as any!  I looked at several of my usual recipes, took bits and pieces from each and threw in a little of my own flair.  The end result was completely tasty.

Ingredients (warning, this recipe makes a TON!! So you can definitely half it or even quarter it!):

  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups oats
  • 2 cups sunflower seed
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, oil, honey, vanilla, and agave.  Place in the microwave and heat for about 1 minute, or until it is slightly bubbly and easy to stir and combine.

Place dry ingredients in peanut butter and honey mixture.  Stir until combined.  Place the mixture onto one or two greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir.  Reduce the oven temperature to 250, and place the granola back in the oven for 10-15 minutes removing it to stir and replacing it back in the oven until it is the desired brownness.

When it is done cooking, spread the granola on waxed paper to cool, then store in a sealed container.

ENJOY!!!

Feels Like the First Day of School

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Today will be the first day as a working woman!  Well, I guess technically I have been a working woman, but this is the first day of my first “real” full-time job, and I am so excited!  I feel as though it is the first day of school all over again.

Today will also be a trial run for showering, getting ready at the gym, and packing breakfast, lunch, and some snacks.  In order to stream line my morning routine, I packed everything the night before.  I even picked out my gym outfit.  I wanted to make sure that I had nothing to worry about before heading out, and that I didn’t forget anything.

Workout Plan for the Day

My plan is to squeeze in a couple of laps at the gym this morning before teaching yoga sculpt.  Then it is back on track with my half marathon training and after work I plan on banging out 4 miles…I hope I am not too tired!

Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was a cold baked oatmeal cake. I made it last night, then had half before my workout and half in the car on the way to work.

Wish me luck on my first day!

Of Possible Interest:

I Took a Little Break

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So, have I been crossing things off of my to-do list?  YES.  Has anything gone according to my hourly schedule?  NO.  But at least I am getting some things done.  At about noon, I started to go cross-eyed so I decided to take a break from the computer…not literally cross-eyed, but sometimes I feel like being in front of the computer all the time makes my head spin.

During my break I did a little bit of this:

I took it easy today, because I have my long run scheduled for tomorrow.

I also spent some time in the kitchen making a batch of these:

and a batch of these:

I couldn’t decide which ones to make, so I made both!

Questions of the Afternoon:

  • What was your workout today?
My workout today was a nice jog outside and teaching yoga tonight 🙂
  • When you want to have a productive day, do you make an hour by hour schedule or do you just make a list of things to get done?
I find that I am more productive when I have an hour by hour schedule…otherwise the list just keeps growing!

4 Moves for Summer Dress-Ready Shoulders

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Yesterday after teaching my spinning class, I decided that a little shoulder workout was what I needed.  Summer is getting near meaning it is time to expose our arms, and I have always thought that if a woman has toned shoulders it automatically makes the rest of her arms look great!

Shoulders are not my strongest muscle group, but it is one of my favorite muscle groups to workout.  Maybe it is because I reach the fatigue stage so easily!

This workout took me about 20-25 minutes to complete, so it would be a great addition to your regular cardio routine.

Bent Arm Lat. Raise:

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Shoulder Rotation Step 1:

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Shoulder Rotation Step 2:

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Arnie Press:

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Shoulder Press Machine:

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Breakfast

This morning I started out with more PB2 Chocolate in my overnight oats.

I swear, I am addicted to this PB2 stuff! I should have ordered more than one.  Now, I am off to volunteer at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, fit in a 3.5 mile run, and sing in the church choir.  Sounds like a great day to me!

Question of the Morning:

  • What is your favorite muscle group to tone and strengthen?

 

I Passed and Had the Best Weekend Ever

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For those who don’t know, Body Pump is the original barbell class that works eight major muscle groups (quads, glutes/hamstrings, chest, back, triceps, biceps, abdominals, and shoulders) to fatigue in one hour, all set to awesome, popular, motivating music.  This weekend, I attended my initial training module to become a Body Pump instructor.

Going into this past weekend, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  After going through such difficult training to work on the cruise ship, I thought that I could make it through just about anything.  But after talking with a couple of people who are way more experienced than me in the fitness industry and actually have Body Pump certifications, they made it sound like the weekend was going to be the toughest thing that I had ever done in my life, the trainers would eat me alive, and I would be lucky if I scraped by with a “Pass Withheld” meaning I would have to do a little extra training before I could send in my video.

With all of this going on in my head, I was pretty nervous.  I started Saturday with a little Starbucks (I used my free birthday coupon 😉 ) and some overnight oats to give me plenty of fuel for this physically active weekend.

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed that it was all girls…except for two boys.  I was honestly pretty surprised by this at first, but then I realized that most participants are girls in the group fitness setting so it made since.  Also, it wasn’t hard to realize that everyone was nervous.  None of us had a clue as to what we should expect…even the people who had done previous Les Mills certifications.

The very first thing we did was take the master class.  This was taught by our training facilitator, and two facilitators in training.  This was seriously the best group fitness class that I have ever taken.  Everyone was responding to the instructors’ cues and questions.  We were all cheering and singing along with the songs, it was awesome.  It basically felt like a live workout concert.

All in all, this weekend was amazing.  It was inspiring, it was motivational.  We worked on technique, cueing, how to motivate our classes, how to make our classes feel special, and our own fitness level.  I thought I loved Body Pump before this weekend, but now I am obsessed!

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And good news…

I PASSED the training module.  I didn’t receive a pass withheld, I passed all the way.  That means that I only have to team teach four times (which I will probably do more) and then I can submit my video to receive FULL certification, and my first team teaching session is tomorrow morning.  I couldn’t be more excited.

I am so happy that I completed this training, and I cannot wait to begin my Body Pump and Les Mills career.

After I found out I passed, I immediately came back home.  Brian and I then headed out straight to his parent’s house to celebrate my birthday.

Everyone had burgers, but Brian’s dad specifically made me cod with roasted peppers and onions.  It was delicious and much needed nourishment after such a physically active weekend 🙂

Brian’s mom also made delicious strawberry cupcakes with homemade strawberry icing.  I felt like I could have eaten about three of them, but somehow contained myself to one.

Today

Waking up at 6am today was like a treat after waking up at 4am and 5am this weekend for training.  I honestly expected not to be able to move this morning because this weekend we completed 4 Body Pump classes, a technique Boot Camp, and the Body Pump challenge (in which I probably lifted more weight than I ever have before!).  Yet, my body is not any more sore than usual!  I still plan on taking the day off from weight lifting and cardio, and I plan on attending a yoga class this evening.  I am expecting it to be very relaxing.

I started my day with some overnight oats in a jar.  They were delicious as usual.  One of my favorite things about eating the oats from a jar is scraping the last bits of peanut butter off of the bottom of the jar and having be like a little surprise underneath the oatmeal on my spoon.  What can I say?  I love peanut butter.

Because I had such a full weekend, I have to do some errand-type things today, like grocery shopping.  Brian and I are about out of food!  I am also volunteering everyday this week except for Friday at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to help them prepare for the Maestro Open event this coming Monday.

I hope everyone had an amazing weekend, and is ready to start this week off right!

Foam Rolling Magic

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Sorry about the lack of postage yesterday, I was having some internet difficulties…but as of right now, I am back online!

This morning, I started my day off early with some speed training on the track.  I completed a routine of 6×400 interval training, and ended my time at the gym with a session of foam rolling.

I am pretty new to the world of foam rolling, but I must say that I honestly feel that it is one of the best things I have ever done for my extremely tight muscles.

What is foam rolling…

Last fall, I ran my first half marathon.  I followed a combination of a two different programs.  It was a learning experience in many ways.  Although I made sure to stretch daily, it still wasn’t enough.  I didn’t have any knee pain until after the actual race, but the pain that I had in my knee made it very difficult to walk.  Both of my parents have bad knees, and I thought that I was getting my share of the problems early.  After continuing to stretch and rest, the pain didn’t go away fully until I left for the cruise and I did not run for about a month.

Things seemed to be fine once I was working on the cruise ship, until I taught spinning (among several other classes) 5 days in a row.  My knee started acting up again.  Luckily, the fitness center was part of the spa, and my roommate was a massage therapist who specialized in therapeutic massage.  She felt around on my knee, and assured me that it wasn’t the bone.  She then felt my outer thigh and was shocked at how tight my IT Band was.  She said that I needed to come in for a massage immediately.  

When I came in for the massage, she performed a technique on my calves and thighs that released the fascia (a layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds the muscles that can become restricted in movement from overuse causing “knots”).  The massage was very “deep” and a little bit painful, but afterwards, my knee pain was gone!  I simply could not believe it.  In my studies to become a personal trainer, I had read about myofascial release, but I didn’t have much experience.  I decided to do a little reading on the topic to figure out why this worked and what I could do to prevent the soreness in my knee from occurring again.  Since weekly massages are a bit out of my price range, purchasing a foam roller was the next best thing!

Just like the massage, using the foam roller realigns the elastic muscle fibers from the “knotted” position into a straighter alignment.

One should use the foam roller to apply pressure to tender areas within the muscles, known as knots.  The foam roller is used on muscle groups such as the calves, adductors, tensor fascia latae (upper outer hip), iliotibial (IT) band, and the glutes.

While foam rolling is used as a therapy to aid in stretching and muscular wellness, it is important to note that it is also hard work and can often be borderline painful.  When foam rolling, one must pay attention to what is a moderate “good” pain and a pain that could potentially cause injury.  The foam roller should make the muscle feel better, not worse.

According to the American Council on Exercise, one should foam roll in small, continuous back and forth movements over the tender area for 30 to 60 seconds prior to stretching.

Here are some poses that can be performed on the foam roller daily:

IT Band Pose

Lie on your side, with your outer thigh on the foam roller.  Roll the area between your knee and your hip, focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, you can place your top foot on the ground for added support.

Quad and Hamstring Pose

When focusing on your quad, lie with both thighs on the roller and your stomach toward the ground.  Roll between your knees and your hip flexors focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, do one leg at a time.  When focusing on your hamstrings, place the back of your legs on the foam roller and roll back and forth from the back of your knee to your glutes.

Middle Back Pose

Lie with the foam roller on your middle back region, knees bent and feet flat on the ground.  Cross your arms over your chest.  Simply roll the area from your lower back to upper/middle back.

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Breakfast

After a good session of foam rolling, I then came home to get ready for the day and refuel with some overnight oats.   But today, I added something different.  Oat bran.  Oat bran is the outer husk of the oat grain, which is usually thrown out while the oats are being milled.  The bran contains most of the dietary fiber in the grain.  I am running low on oats, and I had some oat bran on hand…so I decided to combine the two in my breakfast bowl.  This breakfast bowl seriously tasted like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in breakfast form.  It was good 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats and Bran

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder (can also use unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein
  • 1/2 NuNaturals stevia packet
  • Top with: 1/3 frozen banana, and 1 tsp peanut butter

Combine all of the ingredients (except for banana and 1 tsp peanut butter), and allow to sit in the fridge overnight or for 30 minutes.  When ready to eat, top with banana and last teaspoon of peanut butter.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition for Entire Recipe:

Calories–269.5  Fat–8.6g  Carbs–48.3g  Protein 23.6g

 

Questions of the Morning:

  • What is one of your favorite flavor combinations?
Mine would definitely have to be chocolate and peanut butter 🙂
  • Do you use a foam roller?  What do you LOVE about it?