Throwback Breakfast… I Miss College!!

I had big plans to show you my semi-failed attempt at chicken lettuce wraps from dinner last night, but since my brain was too busy thinking about a million other things this morning, that one will have to wait.  Sorry!

Today’s workout started out with a 25 minute HIIT TurboFire class and a quick arm workout that looked like this:

Superset 1:

  • 4×12 Standing barbell bicep curls (40 lbs.)
  • 4×12 Tricep bench presses with barbell (40 lbs.)

Superset #2:

  • 4×12 Alternating bicep curls to side (15 lb. dumbbells)
  • 4×12 Skull crushers using barbell (40 lbs.)

Superset #3:

  • 4×12 Hammer curls (15 lb. dumbbells)
  • 4×12 Tricep extension (One 15 lb. dumbbell)

Superset #4:

  • 2×10 Incline pushups
  • 2×12 Tricep dips

At the end, I also did a little bit of core work – standing obliques, standing crunches, etc.  I haven’t been focusing as much on core lately, but I have still been concentrating on engaging it as much as possible while I do other workouts, which is still a great benefit!

I wanted to get to work early again this morning, so I threw together a to-go breakfast like I used to have pretty much every day at college.  Even long before the blog, I would pack up yogurt, chia seeds, fruit, and granola and take it all to class with me in the morning.  Right before my professor would get going, I would pour it all into the Tupperware I brought and dig in while the lecture went on.  (I also did this with lunches in the semesters I had class during that time.)  I’m pretty sure everyone around me was probably really jealous of my deliciousness.  I just had to be careful not to bring the super-crunchy cereals/granola… no one wants to hear that during class!

This practice continued right through my last semester of school, when I was mostly just working, so I would bring breakfast to my desk there too.  (Old examples here, here, here, and here – remember those?!)  I wasn’t working out in the mornings back then, so sometimes it took me a little longer to get hungry, but by the time I got settled in at my desk, I was usually ready to eat.  Packing breakfast is just as easy as it is to eat at home, and once you are done you can just seal everything back up in the Tupperware until you can get home to wash it.  And it’s certainly a lot better than skipping breakfast altogether!

Today I brought a plain vanilla Chobani (I usually buy one big 32-oz container for the week, but the baby ones were on sale for 10/$10 this week), strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds, and some Kashi warm cinnamon oats cereal. 

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At first, I tried to eat it right out of the yogurt container…

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But that lasted about two seconds because my desk quickly started to look like a chia seed farm.  I dumped everything into the container I brought for that exact purpose (I was just being lazy initially, which never pays off), and that allowed me to add a whole lot more of the toppings.

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Mixed it all up and took it down! 

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It sure did bring me back though… I miss college and my old job!!  I like my new job and where I’m at now, but I always knew I’d miss getting to walk around campus during the day and only sit at a desk for an hour at a time.  Living on/near campus was always wonderful, and I loved being in the middle of everything.  And besides campus life and classes, the people I worked with at my old job were wonderful, and I miss getting to chat with them every morning!  Luckily for me, Billy is considering going back to school in the fall, so I’ll get to visit and pretend I still go there.  I’m never giving it up!! Winking smile

Questions:

When you don’t have time to eat at home, do you bring food with you or just skip it?

What are some of your favorite on-the-go meals?


Custom Alarm Clock

I totally have to get an alarm clock that says “GET UP! YOU’LL FEEL FINE WITHIN TEN MINUTES!!” when it goes off.

All I wanted to do today was sleep in, even though I’d planned to get my workout in first thing this morning.  Granted, I’ve worked 7 days in a row this week, but I just kept hitting snooze again and again and again.  That’s what you’re supposed to do on Sunday mornings!

What finally got me out of bed was the promise to myself that if I just got my strength workout in, I could do the cardio part after work.  The thing is, once I got up and going, I felt great and wanted to do the cardio portion right then!  But unfortunately, I was running out of time, so I had to shorten the original plan, which was a total bummer.  If I could’ve just convinced myself how I’d feel once I got started then I would’ve have no problem getting up at the scheduled time.  UGH!

Don’t you wish you could just bottle that feeling and drink it as soon as your alarm goes off so you’re immediately ready to jump out of bed, get your sneakers on, and hop to it?  Yeah, me too.  But until then, I’ll just be trying my hardest to remember how it feels and remind myself of that every time I feel like hitting snooze.  Either that, or I’ll record myself a little friendly reminded to go off as the alarm clock on my phone… Can you do that?

Today was a chest workout, although I’m not sure I loved it.  I kind of rushed through it once I realized I wanted to get cardio in also, so I might have to just do it a little more slowly, or it may have to be tweaked, but here’s what it looked like anyway:

3×15 Bent arm pullovers

3×12 Dumbbell bench press

3×10 Straight arm pullovers

3×12 Flies

3×10 as many push ups as you can do

For the cardio portion, I decided on a 20-minute TurboFire HIIT class, which had us doing a warmup, a cooldown, and 7 one-minute HIIT routines in between. 

For breakfast, I had another yogurt bowl with plain Chobani, Kashi GoLean Crunch (I’m getting low!), strawberries, blueberries, and an extra punch of flavor in the form of a few dark chocolate chips.  (And I really do mean “a few,” not the pile I had on last night’s dessert, I promise.)

For lunch, we stopped by a deli/market right near the warehouse, which was pretty cool.  They had lots of homemade goodies, plus a bunch of different sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats.  We heard from some of the local employees that they have amazing soups, but unfortunately there weren’t any made today.

I ordered a sandwich made with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and honey mustard (nixed the cheese + bacon) on wheat bread, with a 100-calorie pack of almonds and a pickle on the side.

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I’ll just go ahead and admit that I’ve never had honey mustard, but I think I might want to add it to the list of foods I used to not like I’d never tried but always saidI didn’t like.  There was kind of a lot of it on this particular sandwich, but it does add a nice low-calorie punch of flavor!

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We had a long afternoon at work, and I snacked on an orange and some trail mix – saved all the M&Ms for last, of course – to hold me over until dinner.

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We’re finally out of work now, so it’s time to scrounge up some dinner.  Food on the road is getting really old, really fast – I miss my kitchen!!  But I do have some delicious looking leftovers from last night, so we’ll see what happens.

Hope you all had a great weekend!!  (Wait, it is the weekend, right?)

Questions:

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Do you like working out in the morning or at night?


Stretching On The Sly

This morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed and work out. In fact, I barely could! The soreness from Monday had officially taken over my entire body and it made the idea of working out pretty scary.

Last night when I was thinking about what to do today for my cardio day, I decided that even though I really wanted to run outside, it just wasn’t going to happen. The area around the hotel is too commercial as doesn’t have any sidewalks so I nixed that idea and decided on TurboFire instead. (I brought it with me just in case.) Last night I planned on a 45 minute class but when I woke up this morning it immediately got switched to a 25 minute HIIT class instead.  I did the best I could and got a pretty good sweat in.

And the fact that I walked around all day in the warehouse definitely added to today’s cardio.  I tried to use my walks as stretching time – discretely as possible of course so no one thought I was a total weirdo – and it felt great to take longer-than-normal strides and really get the blood flowing in my legs.

For breakfast this morning, I didn’t even bother with the hotel’s offerings, opting for a Raspberry Chobani yogurt with Kashi GoLean Crunch and some purple grapes instead.

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An apple a day…

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And for lunch we went to a hot dog stand down the road from the warehouse, but I came fully prepared.  I ordered a chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes on wheat bread (impressive offering for the kind of place it was), and had the carrots, green peppers, and cheese stick I brought with me as sides.

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Snacked on some trail mix later too!

I’m off to go explore the area a bit and find something for dinner… They have a Panera and Whole Foods nearby so I’m sure I’ll be able to find something good!


One Month TurboFire Review

Back when I was comparing TurboFire and Insanity, I was pretty excited about my decision to purchase and start the TurboFire program.  I was in the midst of a lot of changes, and I was excited to have someone tell me what workout to do, and when.  I’d heard it was both effective and a lot of fun, and I couldn’t wait to get started. 

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Since then, I’ve completed four weeks of the program, and I’ve only missed one class (which I tried to make up on my own, without the DVD).  I haven’t followed the meal plan exactly, but it does give you a lot of leeway to make your own decisions, and I would say my eating habits were pretty closely in line with the TF guidelines anyway.  

In case you’re thinking about starting TF, here are my own personal pros and cons of the program:

Pros:

  • No Gym Required – The program allows you to workout wherever, whenever.  All I had to do was set up my DVD player and I could get going.  No trip to the gym required.  I even took the DVDs with me when I traveled, and it worked out perfectly.  You don’t even need all that much space.
  • Schedule – The included workout calendar was a huge plus for me because it told me what to do and when.  I didn’t have to think about what type of workout I was going to do or plan out my workouts for the week.  During a period when I didn’t have a whole lot of spare time to be thinking about these things, this was my saving grace.  Sometimes having to come up with a plan on your own can be a deterrent, but when it’s laid out right in front of you, there are no excuses.
  • Equipment – All of the equipment you need to complete the program is included in the box: a set of DVDs and two resistance bands.  You don’t have to buy anything else, and everything is very easily transportable if you want to take the program on the road.
  • Variety/Flexibility – The class schedule is somewhat varied, so you see the same classes enough to get the hang of them, but not enough to get bored with them.  There is also some flexibility in shuffling around longer and shorter or less and more demanding classes to better fit your own schedule – although there are some guidelines (like no HIIT workouts back to back) that should be followed.
  • Decent Sweat/Burn – The classes did have me working hard, sweating, and feeling it in my muscles.
  • Meal plan – The meal plan is fairly easy to follow since there are many options and ways to customize it for yourself.  Even if you don’t like some of the foods/meals, there are plenty of other options to choose from.
  • Music/Fun – The music was probably the best part, along with Chalene’s upbeat personality.  The music was fresh and fun and really got me pumped up.  And Chalene actually made me want to work harder – not reach through the TV and strangle her like some other workout DVD instructors do. 

Cons:

  • No Weights – By the end of this first month, this ended up being a huge negative for me because I love weights/strength training.  Chalene does do a lot of fun/interesting/new-to-me moves with the band, which I was really impressed with, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss strength training until it was gone.  She does do some plyometric work (body weight squats, planks, etc.) but I really missed the burn you feel during a good weight training session.  I also didn’t see as much results as I do when I’m lifting heavier weight, and for all the benefits of the program, I just think this is a huge piece that is missing.
  • Hard to Motivate Yourself Alone – When I go to the gym or the park, there are people around, and whether they’re actually watching me or not, the thought that they might be is enough to act as motivation.  Similarly, the idea of getting through a prescribed number of reps/sets pushes me to work harder and gives me benchmarks to get through the workout.  Cardio is admittedly the toughest type of workout for me, and the only benchmarks in this program were the timers at the bottom of the TV screen.  I found myself literally counting down the minutes to get through it, which took away from both the enjoyment I got out of it and the effort I put into it.  When you’re alone in your house and you just have to keep kicking, punching, and jumping around for up to an hour, but no one is watching you, I found it really difficult to not just end up standing around or only doing every other routine. 
  • Little Opportunity For Add-Ins – There really were no opportunities to sub in your own cardio or weight routines where you wanted.  Since the schedule was so tight and it had me working out for 30-70 minutes per day, there wasn’t a whole lot of extra time to add things in on my own.  Thus, if I didn’t have access to a DVD player that day, or it was really sunny outside and I wanted to get some fresh air during my workout, I was kind of out of luck.  Maybe this wouldn’t be a problem in the winter, but I had a hard time with it in the summer. 
  • Doesn’t Work Me As Hard – Originally I called this bullet point “Too Easy,” but that’s not really the case.  The program itself is definitely challenging and sure to deliver huge results if followed exactly.  However, because I was sometimes unmotivated and somewhat bored, I slacked.  As a result, I didn’t get nearly as good of a burn in as I do when I’m doing other types of workouts.  I didn’t feel nearly as fit as I do/did when I’m running, weight lifting, and/or doing cardio regularly and for longer periods of time.  I did see some definition, but not much, although I didn’t follow the meal plan exactly, which could’ve certainly been a contributing factor to that lack of results.

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Overall Thoughts:

Clearly there are a ton of positives about this program, and overall, I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s different, a lot of fun, and definitely a good workout. And the fact that the schedule takes the guess work out of it for you is huge in itself. Most of my “cons” are more like personal preferences, so they might not even be factors for you. If you’re hugely self-motivated, love cardio, and/or don’t like lifting weights, etc., you might enjoy this program even more than I did.

My feeling right now is that I’m going to probably take some time away from the program to get back into the gym and more traditional workouts.  It’s not that I didn’t love it, it’s just that I’m ready for something different.  I’ll be traveling for work for the next two weeks, so I’m going to take advantage of the hotel gyms and start lifting (and maybe running) again.  I’m also looking forward to moving things outside wherever possible, since summer is already flying by.  Once I get back home, I’ll probably reevaluate and may pick the program back up.  Or, I may just throw in classes here and there as supplements to my normal routine. 

Questions:

Have you tried any workout programs you’ve really loved?

What workout programs would you like to try?


Happy 4th of July!!

Happy July 4th AND a happy, happy birthday to my cousin, Heather, out in California!  Smile

We got out of work early yesterday for the holiday yesterday, and I headed home to finish painting my tables.  I got the whole second coat done, and now they just need to be glossed! 

After two and a half solid hours of painting, I finally finished up and came inside for dinner.  I’m running low on supplies, and I didn’t want to end up eating the same chicken + pasta dish again, so I switched it up just a little bit by adding in some Annie’s macaroni and cheese. 

I cooked chicken and green beans in olive oil in one pan while the pasta cooked in the other.  Once everything was done, I cut up the chicken, tossed it, the green beans, about a cup of fresh spinach, and the cheese sauce stuff in with the noodles.  (Halfway through, I realized I didn’t have any milk, so I ended up making the mac + cheese with water…)  All and all, it was a pretty tasty meal, but I think I’d stick with my usual whole wheat pasta + real cheese next time.

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Around 8:30, I decided to go take a bike ride around the park where the town fireworks were being held.  It was a zoo down there, so I ended up just riding on by, covering about 3.5 miles before getting back my apartment.  It was a beautiful night, and now I’ve scoped out a potential running route!

When I got back, I stopped at the ice cream place nearby for a special Independence Day treat: a kiddie sized vanilla fro yo with strawberries, blueberries, Twix, and a caramel drizzle. 

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I couldn’t see the fireworks from my apartment like I thought I’d be able to, but I sure could hear them!!  In fact, they were so loud that I’m convinced I could’ve probably seen them if I’d just gone out by the pool, but I didn’t really feel like it.  This is the first year in six that I haven’t spent the 4th with Billy, so I wasn’t really feeling like celebrating all that much. 

This morning I started out with a TurboFire core class and some more festive food:  Kodiak cakes with chia seeds, cinnamon, strawberries, blueberries, and light maple syrup.  Even on holiday themed dishes!

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On the agenda for this quiet July 4th is my first horseback riding lesson, glossing my tables, and hopefully some pool time if the weather holds up.  It may not be the party of all parties, but I’m making the best of it!

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday too!!  What are your big plans?


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