Fit Friday Motivation

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Friday Favorites

  1. Leg workouts.

    If you read my blog regularly or know me at all, you know that I absolutely despise leg day (no, that’s not too harsh of a word).  I dread lunges and squats and any other exercise that has the potential to throw my quads into a fatigued, quivering frenzy.  Not my cup of tea.  HOWEVER, I love the benefits of a solid leg-training strength session.  I love how toned my quads and thighs become; I love how my butt lifts and tightens and looks better in jeans; I love how my hips (which spend 45 hours a week relaxing in an office chair) slim down.  But what I love the most is how strong and powerful I feel all over when my legs feel strong.  I can do bicep curls, chest presses, and lat pulldowns all day– but I never actually feel strong unless my legs feel strong.  Powerful legs = powerful body.  Plus, I feel that strong leg muscles make me a better runner.  So, although just the thought of a hard leg workout makes me cringe ever-so-slightly, I keep the prize in mind and push through my leg workouts when they roll around each week.  I always feel better because of it.

  2. Witch Hazel Toner

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    Until recently, I’ve always had very smooth, very soft facial skin.  However, due to a combination of {past} poor lifestyle choices and the inevitable aging process, the texture of my skin has gradually gone downhill over the past few years.  I’ve tried so many things to try to shrink my pores and to even-out my skin texture to no avail– anything from Pinterest masks to exfoliating scrubs to frequent dermatologist visits.  Just last week I read an article about the skin benefits offered by Witch Hazel, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  I bought Dickinson’s brand after reading many positive reviews.  Within a week’s time of using it twice a day, my skin texture is looking soooo much better!  My pores have shrunk tremendously and my skin’s texture has evened out a lot.  I’m so excited I found something that actually works, so I wanted to share my good experience with you!  Fitness bonus:  Dickinson’s also makes individually-wrapped wipes.  You could throw them in your gym bag or race bag; I’m sure they would be a great way to freshen up after a hard workout.

  3. Spirulina

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    I’ve been hearing a lot about the wonders and benefits of spirulina lately (click here for an excellent article from Dr. Mercola on the superfood).  For some reason, my energy levels have also been super-zapped as of late.  After hearing so many great things about spirulina, I decided to give it a try to see if it would help give me energy and boost my workouts.  After taking 6 tablets a day for the past week, I must say that I do seem to have more energy!  And I’ve been in a very pleasant mood as well (something I can’t always say about myself when my alarm clock goes off at 5:15 am).  I can’t say for sure that spirulina is the sole cause, but there’s a good chance that it’s been helping.  I’m going on a long run tomorrow morning and am excited to see if I have more energy for that as well.  Although the smell is kinda gross (think about a fish tank that is past-due for a cleaning), they don’t taste bad at all.  And for less than $12 (on Amazon.com), I definitely think they are worth a try!

  4. Balega Socks

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    After Nike discontinued my favorite style of running socks (boo, Nike, booooo!), I went out in search of my new “perfect pair.”  Of course, as with any questions I have about all-things-running, I consulted with the folks at kindrunner.com to get their opinion on a reliable brand of socks.  I love Kindrunner because anyone can get expert specialty-running-store-advice without having to actually go to a store (the nearest running store to me is about 45 minutes away, which isn’t very convenient).  Because I love thin, barely-there socks, they recommended Balega brand.  I’ve been wearing them on my runs for probably a month now and have been very happy with them!  So I’m recommending them, too.  They are super light and don’t rub my feet anywhere.  Socks that you don’t know are there– those are my kind of socks.

  5. Lady Gaga’s New Song – Applause

    I’ve never been a big Lady Gaga fan.  However, ever since I heard this song at last weekend’s VMA Awards, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  I found it on iTunes and made it my own, and now it’s always playing on my iPod.  It’s definitely going to be my workout-charging song of the fall!

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! =) 

Check out other Fitness Friday posts on Runningbloggers.com here!!

 

I Have Exciting News to Share…

I haven’t been writing much on the blog in the past week or so.  I also haven’t been working out like I should, which I’m NOT happy about.  But, I was a busy girl for a very good reason– I was doing some last minute studying (cramming, rather) for my exam to become a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

Although my deadline to take the exam wasn’t until early August, it occurred to me too-suddenly that my vacation plans and the fact that I am working during the majority of the testing hours would prevent me from taking the exam in August.  I realized last Monday that the ONLY time I could possibly take the exam was at 9:00 the following Saturday!!  Even though I didn’t feel prepared, I had no choice but to sign up for Saturday’s exam.

Needless to say, I spent every minute of last week reviewing my textbook and making sure I had a clear understanding of the content.

And, guess what…

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I passed!! I was beyond thrilled when I saw my results!!

Although I don’t have any career-specific goals (yet) with my certification, I am so thrilled to become part of a community of respected resources for health, fitness, and wellness.  I’m really looking forward to putting my certification to use and helping others in achieving a healthier lifestyle!!

Wahoo! =)

Fit Friday Motivation

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It’s Friday!!  You know what that means– the obligations of the workweek are {almost} over for many of us, and another summer weekend is almost here!

I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like it was never going to end for me.  I have been super busy– hence my lack of writing on the blog, sorry about that– but for a good, fitness-related reason (which I may or may not disclose after the weekend is over).

Despite my crazy-busy week, I have been able to squeeze in a few cardio workouts this week.  I ran some intervals on Monday with my younger brother, then I went for my usual Wednesday night run with my bestest running friend Emily.  My weight training has been slacking, though, so I’m looking forward to getting back on that bandwagon next week when my schedule returns to normal.  I always feel so much better when I’m weight training regularly on top of my running & cardio.

The weather’s been outrageously hot in this part of the country this week, but the weekend is looking to be much more comfortable.  I’m hoping to get in a bike ride with my lovey boyfriend this weekend!

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!  See ya next week.  =)

Fun Fitness Survey!

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1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Today I had two eggs over easy on whole wheat toast with 1/2 grapefruit (I haven’t been following my Paleo diet lately).  And TWO cups of coffee.  Of course.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

I can’t guess a quantity, but I try to drink water all day long– so I’d have to say I drink “enough.”  My glass is never empty!  Hydration is very important, especially if you’re an active person.  Plus drinking water all day long at work ensures I’m up and moving away from my desk on a regular basis, if you know what I mean.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

RUNNING is always my favorite workout, although I personally don’t consider that a “workout” in the traditional sense– I do it for more reasons than just to stay physically fit.  I’d have to say that Spinning is my favorite “workout”– it’s challenging and it burns tons of calories.  The accompanying music is what makes it the most fun, in my opinion.

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

I haven’t been counting lately, but I usually aim for 1500-1700 a day when I’m adamant about planning and counting.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Anything with any kind of nuts or nut butters!!  My current favorite is 4 ounces of sweet potato topped with 1-2 T. of chunky peanut butter and cinnamon, all washed down with a strong cup of coffee.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

It changes often.  The past few weeks I’ve been stuck on eating a grilled Greek chicken salad every day.  I usually aim for a mix of lean protein (chicken, tuna, ground turkey) with a mix of vegetables.  Sometimes I throw a starchy carb into the mix.

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7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

I LOVE back day!  Shoulder day is right up there with my favorites, too. I think it’s because my back and shoulder muscles develop more quickly and easily than any of my other muscle groups.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Leg day.  I DESPISE leg day.  But I do know that it’s a necessary evil, so I strive to train my legs regularly regardless.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

Pizza.  Any kind of pizza.  I basically grew up on nothing but pizza, so it’s been a hard food to give up even after eating clean for so long.  I do give in to my cravings every-now-and-then; I don’t see anything wrong with treating yourself every once in a while.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

My vitamin/supplement-taking patterns are so irregular.  I go through periods where I have to spend five minutes counting and swallowing pills every morning; other times I go for weeks at a time taking nothing.  Some of my regular vitamins and supplements are a women’s multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B12, fish oil, and a hair/skin/nails complex.  I also take glutamine after my strength training sessions.

11. How often do you eat out?

My boyfriend and I like to go out to eat, so I do eat out a few times a week.  I always try to make the healthiest decisions when eating out, though, and I’m never a stranger to making specific requests to ensure I don’t end up with a fat- or calorie-laden meal.  I love restaurant salads and wraps.

12. Do you eat fast food?

The only fast food that I eat is Subway, and that’s only when I’m in a pinch.  Their subs, although generally touted as “healthy,” still aren’t what anyone could consider as clean.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

I’d have to say my boyfriend.  A lot of the people in my life don’t understand my exercise habits and are quick to criticize; he’s always very supportive of any goal that I set for myself.  He really enjoys being active, too, so the fact that we share that common trait means we are supportive of each other.

My poodles are my second biggest supporters, though.  They are always right there with me when I exercise at home.  😉

14. Do you have a gym membership?

I used to have TWO gym memberships (which was running me about $90 a month; yikes)… I’ve recently downsized and am participating in a program sponsored by the health insurance I receive through my employer called Healthways Fitness Your Way.  For one super-low monthly membership fee, I have full access to tons of gyms throughout the country.  I only take advantage of two gyms right now– one for strength training and one for spin class– but it’s nice to know that I always have options no matter where I am.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

During the week I only get about 6 hours of sleep; I usually get 8-9 on the weekends.  I know it’s important to get enough sleep (especially if you work out often), but it’s hard to fit it all in during the week!

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?

I don’t have a designated “cheat” day.  If I feel like cheating on a meal here-and-there, I let myself (see #9 above).  I feel like eating clean has changed my perspective on food– I don’t crave crappy foods too often anymore.  So the idea of a “cheat day” isn’t even that appealing to me!

17. Do you drink alcohol?

I do love a cold, refreshing beer every now and again– especially after a race or other tough run!  Plus, there’s evidence to suggest that beer helps with post-running inflammation, so it’s really a win-win situation.  =)

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18. Do you have a workout buddy?

My bestest running friend Emily is my designated workout partner!  We’ve been known to run and spin together pretty often.  Ok, all the time.  I do work out with my boyfriend and my brother on occasion, too.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

Oh my, do I really have to choose just one thing?!  Committing to a healthy lifestyle has changed my life in so many ways; it has truly been the primary influence in making me the person that I am today.  I guess the best change would have to be all the things I’ve learned about myself by being active and healthy.  I’ve learned that I’m more capable than I ever thought possible– that I can push the limits until I break them, that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I can be better than I ever thought I could be.  This has permeated my entire personality and given me the self-confidence I need to take on anything that life throws my way.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

Last night I went on a 5-mile run with my bestest running friend Emily and my bestest little brother!!

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Now it’s your turn!!!  Feel free to repost the questions above.  And make sure you link up your post to She Cooks, She Crafts, She Runs— I wanna read everyone else’s responses! =) 

Weekend Fitness Recap

Summer is in full swing here in Pennsylvania, which makes it much easier to get moving and stay active.  When the weather is nice, I try to get out and enjoy the sunshine & warm temperatures as often as possible.

On Friday night, I ran one of my favorite local races with my bestest running friend Emily– a 4th of July 5-miler.  5-mile and 10K are my favorite race distances to run!  So I am always sure to sign up for this race whenever registration rolls around.

The weather here has been crazy lately.  The forecast is full of both rain and sunshine, and you never know when each is going to hit throughout the day.  I kept an eye on the race forecast throughout the day on Friday– there was a 40% chance of thunderstorms right at 7 o’clock when the race was to begin.  Lovely.  I don’t mind running in the rain, but lightning/thunder = different story.  We decided to take our chances and head to the race anyways.  Even if it was lightning, we had registered for the race and would at least get our race t-shirt!

There was sunshine at my house when we left, but by the time we got to the race the sky was BLACK.  I knew it was going to storm.  We had just enough time to pick up our packets and timing chips before this happened:

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Total downpour– wind, thunder, and lightning included.

My optimism wasn’t deterred, though.  We still had 1/2 hour before the race, and I was hopeful that the weather would clear up.  And guess what– it did!  We ended up having BEAUTIFUL weather for the race!  Mid seventies, low humidity, and sunny.  I was really glad that we decided to run.

The weather was ridiculously hot for this particular race the past two years (I believe it was 91 degrees and humid last year when I ran it), so I was anxious to see how I would do with more agreeable weather.

The course was challenging.  It was mostly uphill until about mile 3, and then it was either downhill (although I feel the downhills weren’t nearly long enough to compensate for the uphills at the beginning) or flat.  I don’t know about you, but if a race is hilly, I’d much prefer the hills to be at the beginning of the course– the hills were a great, er, warm-up and it made the last few miles seem like a breeze.

The finish line of the race was located on a high school track with spectators cheering on the runners, which always makes me feel like some sort of super runner rockstar.  I always tend to sprint to the finish of my races, but even more so if they end on a track.  So, when I saw the finish line, I took off.

When I started sprinting, I passed by one of my coworkers.  I didn’t do it with the intent to pass her– like I said, I always sprint at the end of my races because I want to finish strong and know that I did my personal best.  Well, apparently I struck a nerve, because once I passed her it didn’t take long for her to come storming by me.  I knew immediately that I offended her.  She beat me by 2 seconds; which I could care less about.  Apparently that 2 seconds was important to her, because she had the nerve to tell me afterwards that she “saw me blow by her” and that there was NO WAY she was letting ME beat HER (in the most annoyed, arrogant tone you can imagine).  Like I am so slow that she could never live with herself if I crossed ahead of her.  I’ve never been so offended in my life.  I feel like it’s terrible sportsmanship to run with the sole intent to beat others.  It’s just my opinion, but I feel like recreational runners such as myself and my coworker should only be out to beat ourselves when it comes to races (What’s your opinion on that?).  We aren’t front-of-the-pack runners.  She should have been pushing her limits at the finish line on her own; I shouldn’t have been the driving force behind her sprint towards the finish. 

ANYWAYS, I crossed the finish line at 44:08 with an average pace of 8:49.  That’s five minutes faster than my time last year– wahoo!  I was ecstatic when I saw the final results.

On Saturday, I woke up with one goal in mind = LEG DAY.  You might know from my previous posts that I dread and despise leg day.  If you don’t– well, just know that I dread and despise leg day.  I have to talk myself into it every time.  I decided that it had to be done on Saturday morning, and I forced myself to the gym.  I did regular squats, front squats, squat jumps, negative hamstring curls, stiff leg deadlifts, regular squats (again), and lunges.  Yikes.   It was mentally and physically painful (especially after spin class Thursday and my 5-mile, hilly race on Friday), but I was glad that I did it once I was finished.  I always feel stronger overall and thinner when I lift my legs consistently.

Afterwards, I went home and concocted a post-workout meal with things I had in my fridge (which wasn’t much– I needed to go grocery shopping!).  I made an egg white “omelet” with garden-fresh tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  It might look kinda, um, interesting, but it was delicious:

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Sunday was going to be my “rest” day since my legs were throbbing from the activities of the three day prior, but I ended up going on a short bike ride with my older brother.  We just went on our local trail, so it wasn’t too intense.  It was nice to get some use out of my bike and to spend some quality time with my older brother, though.  =)

What active things did you do this weekend?

Fit Friday Motivation… and a Weekly Recap

Are you on Tumblr??  I’m a big fan of social networking, but that’s one site that I haven’t broadened my horizons to yet.  I am, however, on Pinterest (maybe more often than I should be).  I keep seeing a lot of random pins from this reasonstobefit.tumblr.com site, so I decided to type in the address and check it out myself.  I sure am glad that I did!  As of today (6/21), the site has 958 super-inspiring memes sure to get your a** motivated to step away from the computer and get moving.  If you are ever in need of some extra motivation, seriously– check out this site.  If you don’t hear from me in a few days, it’s because I’m too busy checking out these memes and/or giving in to my uncontrollable desire to work out and get fit! 😉  Here are just a few of my favs that I found this morning:

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Ah.  I don’t know about you, but I could sure go for a good sweat session right about now!

This week seemed to fly by for some reason!!  It’s summer– doesn’t time know it should be going  s l o w e r???  Anyways, I didn’t make it to the grocery store last weekend (panic), so I had to throw my Monday lunch together with a few things that I had on hand.

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Herb & garlic tuna, some cucumbers, and brown rice topped with salt, pepper, & parmesan.  Not too shabby for just throwing something together!  Although they’re made with oil (I’m not a huge fan of that), I really like the Starkist Tuna Creations pouches.  They’re super-delicious and easy to take along if you need lunch-on-the-go (or even not-on-the-go).  You can use them in recipes, but I always eat them plain or on a wrap with veggies.  Yum.

My boyfriend and I attend the same gym chain, so we met up Monday night for a lovey-dovey sweat session together.  I worked on my shoulders, triceps and abs then spent some time on the elliptical (LOVE running, HATE the treadmill).  My bf ran a 5K on the treadmill then did an all-over body workout in the weights area.  He’s a cardio first, weights second kind of guy; I’m the opposite.  So we didn’t get to spend much “quality” time together there, but it was still nice to hit the weights together instead of hitting-the-restaurants or hitting-the-movies-and-snacking-on-popcorn together.  We decided we are going to try to hold “date night” at the gym at least two nights a week.  I love how he thinks similarly to me in terms of health and fitness.  =)

Wednesday night = running night with my bestest running friend Emily!!  Since neither of us are training for a specific event right now, we decided to do a nice-and-easy 6 mile run on our local trail.  The weather was in the mid-70’s and beautiful; perfect for a mid-week, after-work run.

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Emily and I decided to grab dinner and work on “reducing the inflammatory response” (that’s what we prefer to call it) after our fun run.  There’s something magical about the taste of a nice cold beverage after a run on a warm summer night.  Hits the spot every time!

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These are sooo good.

Last night, I went to spinning class.  On a beautiful, warm evening, I typically don’t like to spend my evenings indoors.  But one night a week (more than likely on Thursdays), I’ve decided that I need to get my butt to spin class rain-or-shine.  It’s a great cardio workout, and it’s perfect cross-training for the mounds of 5K’s that I have coming up.  I went to the local YMCA for their spin class.  There were only two students there including myself– it’s such a shame that more people in my area don’t take interest in spinning (or health and fitness, for that matter).  My calorie burn doesn’t tell you much about the hour-long turmoil that I faced, but my still-aching legs sure do– we did an hour of pretty much nothing-but-hills!  Since leg day at the gym is my least favorite, I was glad to get a killer leg workout disguised as a cardio-spin-session.

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I also spent a good deal of time this week studying for my NASM CPT exam.  I have to schedule my exam by 8/7, so I’m down to the wire!!  I just have a few more lessons to finish up, then I’ll be ready to sit for the exam.  I’m pumped!

Oh yeah, I spent 45 hours behind my desk this week too.  I usually don’t write about that, though.  😉

I didn’t get in as much weight training as I’d have liked this week, but every now and then I think it’s good to throw your body a curveball and keep it guessing.  I’ll be hitting the weights hard again come Monday!

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!! =)