Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey, it's me again...

I'm a stranger to my own blog…. How sad is that?
Left the damn thing high and dry without any rhyme or reason.
I didn't even check in to say happy Valentine's Day either.  
I can't even boast that I've been busy doing super cool things like traveling the world or meeting A-list celebrities on the red carpet.

In all honesty, I've been a slave to my job: chained to my desk and locked up in my cube.
I do get out occasionally, though. I'm actually on my second week of The New Rules of Lifting for Women.
Remember when I said that I'd tell you all about it? Vaguely? Yeah, that's what I thought..

Well, I'm on my second week of said workout and I feel……… fat. 
(Seriously, I have gained weight, but I can't blame it solely on New Rules)
The schedule is different from what I'm used to, so I'm trying to adjust to it all, but it's not easy.
Here's a quick breakdown..

The New Rules Workout is only 3 days/week with light/restorative workouts on rest days.
I can't complain with a yoga class every other day.

It uses a high protein diet.
I'm somehow supposed to consume around 100 grams of protein in one day. I'm not big on counting my grams or anything, but that sounds like a lot to me.
And the book gives almost no nutritional guidance on obtaining the holy 100g status for vegetarians except for a couple measly lines directing non-meat eaters towards "soy proteins" like tofu and seitan.
Sadly, I'm not a huge fan of that stuff.  I like my veggies.

In stage one, it's all weights, no cardio.
I hardly sweat!
I miss my long, lost friend, HIIT, I miss sweating (is that gross?), I miss huffin and puffin on Mr. Treadmill.

It's super quick.
One workout has 1 warm up and 5 exercises with 2-3 reps.
I honestly can't complain about this. I tried to think of a reason why I want to spend more time at the gym, but I can't. It's quick and it's simple: I'm in and out of the gym in probably 30-40 minutes (counting locker room time, too, people).

Overall, I'm skeptical.
Maybe this just ain't for me?
Maybe I should've put the book down and dismissed the whole thing after I read the nutrition section?
There's this small, rule-following voice in my ear telling me that I won't get the "desired results" if I don't follow The Plan exactly how I'm supposed to (protein!), but I refuse to break my vegetarian ways just for a stupid book.
But, I also don't want to be so quick to quit, so I'm gonna give it at least two months and try my daily best for the 100g club.
(Okay, maybe less than two months, I'm in a friend's wedding in June. Perfect timing, right? Sorry Miss Seamstress, I just gained a couple LBs because I'm following this stupid workout, can you actually let the dress out instead of taking it in?).

I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Win-Win Situation

Look what I got myself for my birthday....
Oh yeaaah. A book all about lifting for women.

The amount of excitement I have for this book makes me feel extra nerdy, but I don't care -- 
this stuff is cool, this stuff is interesting.
But when Rob asked, "don't you ever get sick of reading about all this fitness stuff?", it occurred to me that this book (or any book similar to New Rules) isn't for everyone.  
But then I got to thinking... 
There's an opportunity here -- 
I do my nerdy thing with the book, find the good stuff, and then blab about it on the blog. 
What do you think?! 
I think this sounds like a win-win situation for everyone!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Fit Friday

Portions.... Boring, but important!

Controlling portions is a great way to lose weight without depriving yourself, but studies have shown that people often overestimate portions during mealtime. 
And I'm no exception:
I pile on the food and eat it all so quickly that I fail to realize maybe only half of the plate would have been enough.
Needless to say, portioning is definitely one of my weaker points when it comes to watching what I eat, but I've found that eyeballing portion sizes is easier when referencing tangible objects like baseballs and light bulbs. And after a while, it becomes second nature. 
So next time you're piling on the rice or pasta, think about baseballs!

And since I've been MIA lately, here's a peak at what I've been up to...
 1- Rob and I went skiing in Vermont last weekend with his family... So much fun!
2- My sweet mama treated me to a salon session for my birthday. I'm normally a long hair kinda gal, but the upkeep has been driving me crazy. Hopefully the shorter locks will cut down on dry time.
3- this week was filled with lots of salads and lots of veggies

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love and a Rant...

I saw this on Pintrest last night and couldn't resist posting it today...
 This is how it should be.
I instantly fell in love.
(Sorry Rob, I'm cheating on you..... with a food pyramid. Wait, what? ...Nevermind)
It's perfect, it makes sense.
Eat the most of the things that contain vital and naturally-occurring nutrients.
It's how we should all eat.

Eventually, I cooled my jets and stopped lusting over a food pyramid and started to think about the old pyramid...
What I was taught in grammar school.

Do you remember this bad Larry? Yeah, it's bad.
CEREAL is listed as one of the food groups in which you should consume the most of...
Last time I checked, most brand name cereals had more than the recommended daily sugar allowance in just one serving.
What, did General Mills produce this thing?
It's not on the pyramid, but I'm sure whoever developed this would have put bagels in the same category, and I know from first hand experience (uh, nothing cures a hangover better than a bagel and cream cheese) that a bagel everyday will only make you fat.
Nevermind the recommended 6-11 bagels.
 That thing is archaic.

Anyway, I digress.
 I just wanted to show my beloved pyramid with you all.
Print it out, tape it to your fridge, and live by it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chia Seed Pudding, a Date, a Run, a Foam Roller, & Snow

This weekend was quite exciting....

I made chia seed pudding,
 ran outside in the city,
went on a date with Rob,
 purchased a mini foam roller,
and it snowed!

Oh... and the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, that's kinda cool, too! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fit Friday

Yesterday I received a special request for a Fit Friday topic.
Can I tell you how psyched I was when someone actually ASKED me to blog about something!?!??
It pretty much
awkward attempt at an arm pic..?
 The special request was arms.
Hot, sexy, lean, toned arms.
NOT steroid, gym rat status, arms.
Somewhere between Kirstie Alley and Kelly Rippa.
....But, probably more towards Kelly Rippa... Because she's cute.

So, arms it is!

First and foremost: drop the light weights.
Did you drop them?
Ok, good. Now find the HEAVY weights.
heavy weights = zexy arms.
Seriously, do not x-out of this post or dismiss me completely because I'm telling you to use heavy weights!!!
You need muscle for tone and definition and the only way to build that muscle is heavy weights.
Heavy weights DO NOT = big, dude-like, grossly toned arms.
It takes years to develop huge muscles like those women you see at the gym.
You will not be heavy weight status by lifting 6-12.5lb dumbbells 3-4x/week in combination with HIIT.
But, you will have sexy and toned arms!

Okay, so "heavy" is a relative term -- if you're in moderate shape, start with 6-10lbs.
I started with 6s, quickly moved to 7s and 8s, and now I use 12.5lbs.
I was a newbie though, and I didn't figure this all out until later..
So start around 8, feel it out, and then adjust accordingly.
The last couple reps should be HARD.
Like you got that angry weight lifter face going on.
Veins poppin, mean muggin, gruntin it's so heavy.
Ok, maybe not grunting, but you get the idea.
hahahaha, i had to
Have I convinced you yet?
If you're still not convinced, you should read this and this.
And even if I have convinced you, you should still read those little nuggets -- lady's a professional.

Personally, I don't have a specific "routine"  for arms, I just have a bunch of exercises that I prefer.
I choose 5-6 of these exercises for 3 sets of 10-15 reps with 12.5lb DBs and combine with 40+ minutes of HIIT (HIIT newbies should do less) OR I'll do 3 sets of 10-15 reps of 5-6 exercises before/after spinning (the class I take can be defined as a form of HIIT).
I know, I sound like a broken record, but I really do believe that HIIT is vital for weight and fat loss.
So seriously, don't skip your interval training.

Here's my arm faves:
the tricep push up
biceps curl (obviously)
21s biceps curl (I use weights, but resistance bands are cool)
alternating shoulder press (and non-alternating, too)
hammer curl
reverse fly
skull crusher on stability ball
armpit fat? watch this!
and, I've never tried this, but it looks fun! T row

I feel like I should also mention food in this post, because you don't want to gain weight and build muscle.
In my own experiences, I've found eating clean to be very helpful when combined with weight training.
Eating clean means no preservatives, no chemicals, nothing you can't pronounce.
I'm no expert at clean eating, but it's definitely something I keep in mind on a daily basis.
I find the easiest way to eat clean is to cook your own food. 
Make your breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you know exactly what's going into your body.
Also, I'm a fruit and vegetable crack head (did I cross the line?).
Eat your fruits and veggies, peeps!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

High School Burnout

we were BABIES! sorry erin, sorry jess :)
Wait.... what? That doesn't even make sense.
I hope you didn't see the word "burnout" and think that I was about to explain how I've burnt out on the gym and that I plan to eat bonbons all day and cancel my membership tomorrow.
Nope. Not this post.

This post is about how to prevent burnout...
Because we all know that the same work out day in and day out is torture.
It's like a real life Groundhog Day starring YOU as Bill Murray's character.
Not only is the same workout every day torture for you mentally, it actually loses effectiveness each time you do it. That is, your body actually remembers routines/runs/intervals/etc. and adapts over time to operate more efficiently.  So your once killer workout isn't so killer after the 5th time in a row.
(HIIT vs extended steady cardio is a similar concept)
Neat, right? The human body is so cool!  
nerd alert

So the best way to beat burnout and burn more cals is simply: mix it up!

Here's how you can (should!) mix it up:

Fit Friday.  SorryI had to do it. Use FF to add a little spice to your gym routine.
Workshops. They're always happening where I practice yoga and I'm sure there's lots where you are, too. You'll learn new postures and usually there's some kinda added bonus (i.e., adjustments-- my favorite, a more intimate setting, typically more advanced)
Find a new spot. Getting a day pass at a random gym or attending a class in a foreign studio is a great way to learn new stuff that your body has never encountered before.
Groupon (or any other discount site). Use Groupon to find said "new spots". And, um, hello?  How can you not pass up insanely cheap prices for typically expensive classes/memberships?! Some offers are pretty random,
too -- pole dancing? That counts!
Mix it up.  Wait, am I on repeat? If you go to spinning every Tuesday, why not try some HIIT on the treadmill instead. Just be sure to work as hard and as long as you would at spin.
Explore What Mr Tready Has to Offer. Using the incline option on the treadmill is an awesome way to surprise those skinny legs of yours. Or what about those cool (but maybe kinda scary) "fat burning"workouts they have pre-programmed into it's little computer brain? Hey, it's worth a shot!
Run outside. It's completely different than running on a treadmill. Trust.
Dive into different machines. Use a machine you've never used before. I'm sure you'll be sore tomorrow!
Use Your Friends. No, not that way. Have your homegirl bring you to her favorite class or let her show you her running loop.

I'm very conscious of this whole "burnout" thing and it's something I think about a lot.
And if the day comes when I'm no longer physically active, I surely don't want the reason to be, "I burned out".
I also don't expect to have the same workout regimen/routine 5, 10, 20 years from now.
That'd be a lot of Groundhog Days.
So I make it a point to not get burnt out on whatever I'm currently interested in.
If I start to feel the itch, even just a little bit, I'll back off and direct my daily workout attention elsewhere.

Do you have any tips or tricks to avoid burnout?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Twelve Items

I recently read somewhere that you should have no more than twelve items in your closet.
Twelve quality and versatile items that can be mixed, matched, and accessorized to create endless outfit options. I don't think I could possibly exist on so few pieces, but this "twelve items" concept got me thinking about starting my own closet slim down.

one afternoon,
4 overflowing XL trash bags,
9 pairs of jeans, 
15 pairs of shoes, 
and a countless number of hangers later,
my closet is finally complete!

Yes, on my day off I decided to clean my closet.
For the first 3 hours, it was a great idea... but, the last 3... hm, not so much.
But it's done and I feel so much better!

I discovered things I forgot existed, like...
an Abercrombie sweatshirt from high school,
(uh, does anyone even wear Abercrombie anymore?)
a pair of shoes that has to be almost 10 years old,
a couple things that still have tags on them,
and lots of blackmail-worthy pictures.

don't judge... it was out of control.

definitely an improvement...
can you tell i tried to sort by color? we'll see how long that lasts...

i don't even know where all these hangers came from!?

adios designer jeans, you were a fad i will not miss
(painful throwing away all that $$$)

left- these two pairs of shoes were probably the hardest things to part with. alotta days spent in those bad boys. 
right- WHY was i hoarding ALL these running shoes? 

Have you heard of this "twelve item" rule? What do you think?
What's one thing in your closet you can't live without?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fit Friday

You've heard me talk about it before, but what exactly is HIIT and why is it so amazing?
HIIT is technically defined as: an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.
Basically, sprints.
Doesn't that sound lovey?
It's like you're back in high school sports running up and down the field working your ass off.
Well, take those memories and preconceived notions and FORGET THEM.
And then try HIIT.
You'll thank me in a month.

But, back to the technical stuff. I need to be somewhat credible here.
(This is super simplified, some of this stuff is way over my head, but believe me, it just works.)
Basically, when you're going all out, your body uses different muscle fibers that are not normally used during extended periods of steady cardio.
Somehow the use of these different muscle fibers enhances your body's ability to burn carbohydrates, which in turn, causes your body to burn fat…. For hours after you exercise. 
Now, that doesn't happen with long/steady/boring cardio

Here’s why I love HIIT:
1. Fights Boredom: I used to LOATHE the treadmill. Like, really loathe. Like, I couldn't stay on the thing for more than a mile. But then, I was introduced to HIIT and now I actually look forward to my time with Mr. Tready. Seriously, there's nothing better than challenging yourself to finish those sprinting intervals and then rewarding yourself with a recovery period.
2. Increases Cardiovascular Endurance: So when I do have a big chunk of time that I want to spend running, I can, because HIIT helps to build endurance.
3. Less Time, More Results: I mean, could it get any better than that? You burn more calories in 40 minutes of HIIT than 40 minutes of steady cardio.
4. Versatility: HIIT is so versatile --  you can use it in almost any physical activity (cycling, running, walking, swimming, and even yoga) and can be altered in any number of ways (i.e., your tolerance for sprinting intervals may be drastically different than your friend's, but that's ok, you'll build up endurance and speed as you do more HIIT).

1- fishing/snorkeling/sunset cruise
2- enjoying the first sunset of the vacation
3- eagle pose
4- rob with puppy. awwwww

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life After Pura Vida

Finally, I'm back!
Why is it that you always need a vacation after a vacation?
I spent most of this week catching up on work and life.
And now I'm exhausted.
But life goes on...
And the weekend is in sight!

I'm not sure if it's the exhaustion or what but, I've been struggling to write this "vacation" post since I got back.
I have 5 different drafts and several different ideas on how to communicate/display/post it all.
I really can't make up my mind.
So, I'm gonna stop wasting time and share a few pictures today and maybe some more tomorrow.
I hope that's okay with you?

 1- we weren't able to go hiking (huge bummer), so we zip lined!
2/3- fishing/snorkeling/sunset cruise. i think this was rob's favorite part of the trip. if there's an open bar and free food, he's there!
4- we took some yoga beach pics. i'll share more tomorrow... maybe.
5- fishing is a nightly ritual for the Ticos of the surrounding villages. they used a tin can and fishing wire to catch their dinner.
6- on the second night i treated myself to a piƱa colada at happy hour. it.was.amazing. (and gone in seconds.)