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The Boys Area

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Good Friday Mornin’!

The weekend is within reach, and I can hardly wait!  This morning, I was actually able to sleep in.  I must say, not having a 4am wakeup call was pretty glorious.  Usually, I complete my workouts in the morning before work, but today I am going to complete my long run for the week…after work.  Wish me luck!

Breakfast

I woke up in the mood for almond butter, and since we had a ton of almonds…I made some!  It seriously took less than 10 minutes.  Yummm!  10 minutes to warm, creamy, homemade almond butter…sign me up!

The next thing on my list of things to eat this morning was a smoothie bowl.  I miss eating these throughout the week because I eat half of my breakfast before I workout or teach and half in the car after, and smoothies are a little bit difficult to split up.

This was an almond and blueberry smoothie (almond milk, blueberries, and spinach to give it a nice blue green hue!).

I have made blueberry smoothie with spinach before, but I have never seen a color like that!

The color of my breakfast reminded me of those crazy colorful ketchups.  Even though they tasted just like regular ketchup, I always expected them to taste different…like grape or something.

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Anyone else expect a funky flavor to accompany the bright color?

Workout

Moving on…

Last night I taught a 30 minute functional core class, but beforehand I wanted to complete a legs and core routine.  Actually, I wanted to attend Body Pump, but sometimes I know that I just need to focus on my individual muscle groups so that I can work to lift heavier in Body Pump!

So, I arrived at the gym already to go with my iPod strapped to my arm, and my workout routine in hand. I have gone to the weight room…often called “the boys area”, several times in the morning before work and never thought twice about it, but today when I was at the gym in the evening during peak hours I got nervous.  The entire room was filled with guys and one other girl, and I was intimidated.

I slowly walked around the room, seeing what equipment I needed and where it was placed, thinking the entire time that the room full of big, muscular guys was wondering what the heck I was doing in there.  At first, I wondered why I felt this way.  I had been in there so many times before so, this anxiety just didn’t make sense.  Then, I realized that the only time I had completed a workout like this was with someone else.  Having someone else with me instantly gave me confidence in the past.

Then, I had a reality check.  No one was judging me, no one was wondering what I was doing there, no one cared about me….except for me.  I realized that if I acted confidant, than no one would even question my presence in the “boys area.”

I simply changed my attitude, acted confidant, and completed my workout.  It. felt. good.

Question of the morning:

What was your workout today?

Today, I am doing my long run and I am a little nervous because I am doing it at the end of the day rather than the beginning.  Does anyone have any tips or pointers for completing a long run at the END of the day???

It Tasted Like French Toast!

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Good Morning!

A short week is always a good week in my book.  So, although it feels like Monday today, it is in fact TUESDAY.

Tuesdays are when I teach my 6am spinning class, and although I am a morning person and don’t have trouble getting out of bed before the sun, sometimes I have to do a little self pep talk in order to make sure that I am cheery and peppy for my class.

For whatever reason, driving makes me extremely tired, add to that a lack of sun, a warm sweat shirt, lack of caffeine, and on days like today rain….and by the time I get to the gym I am ready for a snooze!  On days like today, I have to just sit in the car for a couple of minutes, mentally prepare, then enter the gym and say hi to everyone.  Seriously, I don’t know if it is the act of smiling or talking or both, but that is what gets me going!

Workout

After teaching spin, I always like to do a 30 minute strength workout, and today I focused on shoulders.

Upright Row:

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Arnie Press:

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Single Arm Dumbbell Front Raise:

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Shoulder Rotation:

Step 1

Step 2

This workout left my shoulders fatigued.  Each week, I try to increase my weights by just a little bit so that I can keep that burn coming after each workout.

Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was a bit of an experiment.  One of my friends who has similar interests in nutrition and exercising as me told me that she often cooks her oatmeal in the morning with egg whites for an added boost of protein rather than using protein powder.  I thought about trying it, but never actually got around to it…until this morning.

Boy, was that a great decision!  The oats tasted like french toast to me because of the slightly eggy flavor.  I will definitely be doing this again 😉

Egg White Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 packet stevia
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir, then cook for 1 more minute.  Once you are ready to eat, you can eat them as they are or top with your favorite toppings.

Today’s toppings: frozen peaches, and 1 Tbsp of crunchy peanut butter…delish!

*2 egg whites adds in about 8 grams of protein with only around 32 additional calories!!

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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!

Women Can’t Bulk Up

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Seriously, the weather here is completely confusing me.  The first official day of spring is not until tomorrow, so it is technically still winter and here in Indiana we have been having near 80 degree weather for the past week.  Now, I am not complaining by any means, I am just shocked that it is so nice out!

I took a little break from the to-do list at lunch time to go for a quick 3.8 mile run in this beautiful weather, which then made me crave none other than a smoothie for lunch.

Choco-Raz Protein Smoothie

It was completely delicious and cooled me down after my run while filling my belly 🙂
Women and Strength Training

I learned many things while I was traveling and working on board the cruise line as the fitness director.  I learned about different cultures, about what is personally important to me, and more about the body than I ever thought possible in such a short amount of time.

Strength training has always been something that I just sort of “did” because I knew I had to incorporate it into my routine, but there was never a rhyme or a reason as to what I was doing.  I would simply throw it in at the end of an intense cardio workout because, like most women, I was/am a cardio addict.

I must say that part of the reason why I didn’t focus more on strength training in the past was for the fear of “bulking up.”  We see men pumping iron in the gym, going to the designated “boy area” toning specific muscle groups, and we automatically think that if we do the same thing that we are going to look the same.

Nice to look at...but I don't want to look LIKE that

Well guess what ladies, that is not true!  Women physically cannot bulk up the way men do.  

While working on the cruise ship, the other fitness director was a male who was very muscular and had a history of competing in Strong Man competitions.  Was I intimidated?  No, but did I think that the same workout that worked for him would be effective for me?  Of course not.

Eventually, we began training together.  I completed the exact same workouts as him.  We would single out a different muscle group (chest, arms, back, legs, shoulders) and work each group a different day of the week.  We would switch up the way we were lifting and the various exercises every four weeks so that our muscles did not adapt, and I was so happy with the results!

Not only has my strength increased and I am beginning to have different muscle tone than I had ever had before, but it has also helped with my cardiovascular endurance.  The strength in my body allows me to propel through a cardiovascular workout with ease, which gives me motivation to complete another half marathon.

Simple things like push-ups are now easy and something that I enjoy doing.  When before I would always opt for the “female” version.  And did I bulk up?  Absolutely not.

No bulk here!

My biggest worry is that now that I no longer have a gym membership and I cannot complete strength training workouts as regularly, I will lose my muscle strength and tone.  So, now I have the dilemma of getting creative with my strength training routines.

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Burning More Calories

The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories it takes to feed them.  Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is the number of calories your muscles require to survive in a comatose state (when  you are doing absolutely nothing!).  When you have more muscles, your body requires more fuel, meaning you are burning more calories without necessarily doing more activity.

When we complete a cardio only workout regiment, often times we are using our muscles for energy rather than our stored fat.  When we use our muscles for energy our body stores more fat.  So the numbers on the scale may go down, but we still have a “soft” appearance in those problem areas that we all want to get rid of.

Increase Bone Density

By putting a slight amount of stress on our bones, it causes our bone density to increase which helps to prevent osteoporosis.  It is never too late and it is never too early to start resistance training.

Decreased Risk of Injury

When you strength train you are also strengthening your connective tissue and stabilizing your joints.  It is important to have strong thigh and leg muscles to prevent knee injuries, and it is important to regularly stretch and strengthen your back in order to prevent lower back injuries and pain.

How to Incorporate Strength Training into your Routine

There are so many ways to incorporate strength training into your regular routine:

  • Attend group fitness classes that focus on teaching participants how to use weights:  Body Pump
  • Incorporate pilates and yoga 2-3 times a week into your regular routine
  • Use free weights
  • Use selectorize machines (the weight machines that focus on specific muscle groups)
  • Body weight exercises
  • See a personal trainer

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