Sunday, September 30, 2012

#RUN4GOOD with @Saucony

Week one of my training plan for the Hot Chocolate 15K is done, and despite one snafu (being sick on Tuesday and walking four miles), it went fairly well. I clocked six miles tonight, and I did so using Saucony's RUN4GOOD app:

I typically use MapMyRun, which works just fine, but Saucony's RUN4GOOD app focuses on running for a good cause. Every month, Saucony sets a mileage goal and pledges a donation to an organization that helps keep kids moving in the name of fighting childhood obesity—obviously this is something that hits close to home as I have a kid. And I certainly want her to live a happy, healthy and active life.

If the community of app users clocks enough mileage to meet the predetermined goal, then Saucony doubles their pledged donation to the organization of the month. And then it starts all over again the next month.

So here we are, at the end of a month, about to begin another. If you're a runner, consider downloading the app to your iPhone. It's free. And charity aside, this app is quite useful as it tracks miles (obvi), calories burned, pace, and time.

I mean, if you're already using an app to do just that, you might as well switch to one that does so in the name of doing good. And if you do, join the "FitFluential" team and run with me!

Question: What running apps do you have on your iPhone?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

@KodiakCakes for breakfast, please.

Every time I walk down the breakfast aisle at my grocery store, I drool over the box of Kodiak Cakes for two reasons: 1) I love pancakes and, 2) I wish I could make fancy breakfasts every day of the week. Now, I realize that instant pancake mix is far from fancy, but when you're used to shoveling in a quick bowl of oats before class or before your daughter wakes up, then some hot pancakes are indeed quite fancy. Even if they are of the instant variety. So when I went to the grocery store last weekend and found them on sale, you bet your batter I scooped up a box. And I finally made them for breakfast.

What I love about Kodiak Cakes is the fact that the ingredients list is so short—and that everything on it is recognizable and fairly healthy.

Not so for many of the items in those interior grocery store aisles, eh? Stick to the perimeter, folks. Or be smart.

I digress. Back to the pancakes.
Er, flapjacks.

Whatever you call them.

However you serve them.
Me? With peanut butter and bananas because you can't ever go wrong with those two.

I know, right? They were so good. Then again, whole grains do taste better. So it's only fitting that they make the perfect pancake.


Whatever you call them.

Tomorrow: 6 miles.

Question: What's your go-to fancy breakfast when you've got time to make one?

Disclaimer: Kodiak Cakes did not compensate me for this review, nor did they send me product. I really did purchase the box you see above with my own money. I swear. So all the above is the truth as I know it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Little Lower Body Workout

So it's been a great day! It is Friday, after all. And if we're being totally honest, there is nothing better than the onset of two whole days of not living by a work schedule. I really don't think it matters how much you love your job—and I do love my job—because having the freedom to do as you please with your day for two whole days is quite nice. Right? There's just something about Saturday and Sunday.

But it's still Friday. There is still work to be done. Thankfully, I got my workout in when I taught Circuit Sculpt this morning. So that's off the list. And in the name of being totally honest (see above), I must divulge that I planned today's class in five minutes at, like...11:00PM last night. It turned out to be a good one, and I think it's because I included one of my favorite little lower body workouts.

This sequence  always seems to up the ante of any workout I plan. I rarely use it alone because it's quite basic. But it's good, and it makes me work.  In today's class, I positioned it before and after a series of bicep/tricep exercises. I took all the groans and the "are you serious?" to mean that they were loving it and, quite possibly, feeling it. Needless to say, I left class in a great mood.

And as I was walking out the door, I happened to check Twitter. OnFitness Magazine had some feel good tweets goin' on:

Not sure that I've done the first yet, but I'm pretty happy with who and what I am right now. That's not to sound vain, overconfident or self-indulgent, I just feel like I'm in a really happy place right now. My daughter is blossoming, my husband is wonderful, my body is pretty much back to where it used to be—I really can't ask for more than that. It would all be icing on the cake anyway.

Seriously. Icing on the cake. As in, a piece of cake made by the Cake Boss. Yes...THAT cake boss. Apparently, he baked a cake for a local event that was somewhat associated with my husband's place of employment. Note, I live in Michigan. Not in New Jersey where the bakery itself is located (and, subsequently, where the show is filmed). My husband knows how much I love sweets, particularly cake and cupcakes, so he snagged me a piece of the leftovers. Proof:

I have to say, I couldn't eat more than two (fine...four) bites of the above. It was sweet, and the fondant icing didn't do anything for me. But the cake itself was divine, as was the fudge filling. I only wish I had been able to see the cake itself. Cake Boss, as you might recall, is known for constructing lavish cakes.

But that's enough about my indulgence for the day.
Gotta go finish my Friday.

Have a weekend, y'all.

PS: Are you following me on Twitter yet?

Question: Did you indulge in anything delicious today? Did you "do something nice for someone you don't know yet?"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs (#Infographic)

Is it just me, or is a warm piece of bread with a little garlic and olive oil the best thing ever?  How 'bout a crisp apple, all smothered in peanut butter? Kale chips? Love 'em. So tell me, what do the aforementioned three all have in common? They're carbs. Yep...carbohydrates. And while the type of bread you choose makes it good versus bad, both apples and kale win that battle without a doubt. And let me say this: YOU NEED CARBS. I promise.

Good carbohydrates break down into glucose, which translates into energy. They can also provide fiber, which helps you feel full and keeps you regular (if you know what I mean). Bad carbs are like those nameless but well-dressed people at awards shows that sit in a celebrity's seat when they get up to present or pee. They're filler people, and bad carbs are filler foods. They're good in the moment, but not necessary in the long run.

To clarify, I present the following infographic:

good carbs vs bad carbs

Question: What's your favorite good carb? Bad carb? (You know you have one...) Me, I dig apples and crusty whole grain bread. And cupcakes. If I could only learn to refuse the cupcake. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Things I Found On The Internet

There are currently 444...yep, for real and probably more by now...unread posts in my Google Reader. Perhaps I follow too many blogs. Perhaps I've just been disconnected from them all. The latter is most likely the case as I'm also distracted by a large pile of unread magazines (among other things). No books, though. I am not currently reading any books, however I do have a list that I'd like to eventually tackle. But first, I feel as though I need to tackle the aforementioned 444. So I made a bowl of oats this morning whilst the babe slept and got to clickin'. The result? Still a ton of unread posts in my reader, but I managed to pin, save, think about and be inspired by a small handful of the posts I did get to.

I thought I'd link you to some of them, so here are 10 things I found on the Internet this morning (not all of which pertain to fitness and/or healthy living). In no particular order:

1) Pumpkin Granola BarsWhether you're ready for it or not, 'tis the season for all things pumpkin and the Internet is certainly overflowing with them much like a pumpkin patch would be. Check out this recipe. Cue the drool.

2) Run Somewhere You Love and Do What Makes You Happy. Even if running isn't your thing, this post will motivate you to find a form of exercise that you do love.

3) Nelly featuring Keri Hilson—Live Tonight. I am always looking for great workout tunes and this one had me (I'm not lying) dancing in my seat. Click below, booty pop!

4) A Little Pink Desk. Because what little girl doesn't need a cute little desk in her room? Hannah wouldn't use it yet, but there's a perfect spot in her room for one. Pink, of course...or perhaps yellow.

5) How to Breathe When Running. Perhaps one of the most oft-asked questions is that of how to breath while running. It can be a difficult thing for one to gain control of, and I think this post really sheds some light on the concept. My biggest tip? Relax into your run. Your body, including your lungs, will learn to do the same.

6) Homemade Raspberry Applesauce. I never would have thought to combine the two, but now I'm seriously obsessed with making this delicious-looking concoction. (Also, I just subscribed to this blog which brings my unread posts up to 456. Great.)

7) A Note About Friendships. I feel like I could have written this post myself. It talks about friendships, obvi. It talks about wanting to see your friends more, making new friends and keeping old friends. And it really, truly makes me miss all of my friends. Even the ones I see on a regular basis. Why? Because my friends are awesome. Every single one of them.

8) Quick, Easy and Nutritious Foods for Kiddos Young and Old. Weelicious is my new favorite website. It's a goldmine for baby food recipes, treats for toddlers and more...I drool over every single picture! As Hannah gets older and more adventurous with her foods, I find myself looking for inspiration in the kitchen. Weelicious is it, and now I want the cookbook:

9) 15 Minutes of HIIT Sweat Workout. We have an agility ladder at the gym, but I never use it. This video from Brad Gouthro, fellow FitFluential Ambassador, inspires me to get it out.

10) Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt. Um, anything that combines pumpkin and Greek yogurt is a winner in my book. Plus, this recipe could not be any easier.

Question: What's the last great thing you found on the Internet? Link me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Exercising Through Sickness

Well, just as soon as I created my training plan, this cold I've got rears its ugly head. Go figure. I'm not complaining because it could be so very worse, but I sneezed about a thousand times a minute yesterday and couldn't bend forward today without a tissue in my hand. I'll spare you the rest of the details, but needless to say, I wasn't up for the 4-mile run I had scheduled. So I walked it with my girl in her stroller.

It took us over an hour to get back home, partly because I got snap-happy with Instagram), but it was nice. The weather was nice...albeit a bit gloomy, but warm. With a sky filled with cloudy awesomeness.

In the end, I think getting up and out in the fresh air did me some good.

But i'm fairly zonked now which is why I know that running would have been a very bad idea. I don't think my upper respiratory system could have handled it. Maybe it could have, but I was fine with not taking that chance.

Speaking of taking chances, we're entering cold and flu season so I thought it would be a good time to go over some guidelines that pertain to exercising when you're sick. So if you feel sick, ask yourself the following before proceeding:

1) Have I been given doctor's orders to scale back activity?
2) Do I have a fever?
3) Am I on any medication that could affect physical activity?
4) Am I exhausted or nauseous? Do I have any aches and pains not normally present?

If you can answer "yes" to any of the above, you might want to take a break from exercising as your body is probably a bit down. Getting better should be your top priority, and rest and relaxation are typically good for that cause. But if you don't answer "yes" to any of the above, and if you feel up for some physical activity despite being sick, consider choosing an activity that's both light and gentle. For example, walking instead of running. But if there's any question whatsoever about whether or not you should be exercising, my first and foremost piece of advice is to consult your doctor.

Question: What's your exercise of choice when it comes to "gentle" and "relaxing" when you're sick?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15K Training Plan

Last time I trained for a race of significant mileage, I was neither personal trainer nor mother. I could train as I saw fit, based only around my schedule at a part-time job. And eventually the weekly schedule of my certification course. So it was fairly easy to fit everything (life and training) in. But this time around, I wear both of the aforementioned hats which has proven to be quite a scheduling challenge. Albeit one I readily accept, but still. I can't shift around the three classes I teach, and I get a very small window at night and on the weekends into which I can log a few miles.

But I think I've figured it out:

Weeks 3 and 4 will be odd.

Week 3: I have to substitute a 6:00AM Circuit Sculpt, and I will be taking my Spinning certification course that requires two 60-minute classes in one day. I fully expect that day to drain me, so I won't be logging any major miles that following Sunday.

Week 4: I'll be away for a bit. Somewhere fun, and you know how fun can suck the life out of your interest in exercising. But I'm bound and determined not to let it. I keep telling myself this: New scenery for longer runs!

We'll see how it goes.

In essence, what you see above is a guide, and one that I'm fully prepared to alter as needed. But so far, training has been going well. I logged six miles in under one hour last Thursday, and I logged another five on Sunday. So this weekend, I'll log another six, and then it'll be up from there.

UPDATE (2/20/13): As I expected, there were definitely some glitches along the way in terms of clocking the right miles, but I ended up running a great race. And having a really great time, too.

Question: What are some of the scheduling conflicts you consistently experience when it comes to getting in workouts? And how do you overcome them?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Succeed because you can.

I was about to let the day go by without a post. I do that sometimes when said day gets the best of me. And then I jumped on Pinterest—because I needed a few minutes of mindless entertainment—and I found this:

I firmly believe that all of YOU need to believe the above. The words? So true. Case and point: I decided to make tonight's run a 6-miler. For a split second, I regretted the decision and was fairly convinced that it would go very badly. Part of me wasn't motivated. Part of me wasn't excited by the route I had planned. But I knew I could do it. I knew that I needed to do it in the name of training for a 15K. And I wanted to do it. So I laced up and went. And ended up clocking all six miles in under 60 minutes. 54 minutes and some change, to be exact.

Lesson: Whatever it is you want to do, you really can. Erase all of the negative thoughts that swirl in your brain and believe in yourself. Believe in yourself quite firmly, actually. Success starts within and the rest follows.

Question: What's your last great success?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A No Equipment Body Blast That Makes Me #SweatPink

Notice the new button in the column at right? Go ahead, look. I'll wait...

See it? I'm a SweatPink Ambassador:

What is a SweatPink Ambassador? It's someone who can "sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves." As a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor (and healthy living blogger), that's pretty much my motto so I was super pumped to get the welcome. And the awesome tank. Oh...and these:

Pink shoelaces, signature of the group. I mean, come on. Are my shoes not rockin' right now? They certainly rocked this little workout a few hours ago:

I had all the equipment in the world at my disposal this morning, but I was jonesin' for a workout that would be fast and efficient with minimal time spent messing with equipment. For the above, all I needed was a mat—and that's purely because I was on the basketball court and needed some extra padding. In case you'd like to pin it:

Some clarifications:

After you perform the pushup, bring your right knee in to your left elbow then repeat on the opposite side. Continue until all repetitions are performed. Do a mountain climber if the cross-body move is too hard.

Think of it as a Superman hold with a lat pull. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades and pulling with the lats as you move your arms...and keep those feet off the ground to activate your lower back.

Now...if that doesn't make you "sweat pink," then I don't know what will.

Question: If you could only have one piece of fitness equipment, what would it be?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Working Mama

How do you feel about Mondays? Do they give you the blues? Or are they just another day of the week, another day to live life to its fullest? For me, Mondays represent another week of working. Another week of working part-time at the gym and part-time at home. I know that some of you would say that what I do at home is not work—but I believe that it is. But I also recognize that it's not quite on par with an 8-5PM gig, so I respect all of you that work full-time. I respect all of you that work part-time, too. It goes without saying that work is work, no matter what it is or how often you do it.

Head on over to The Splattered Apron. Every week, Lisa features a working mama and (as I'm sure you've guessed by now) this week it's me. Woot!

Speaking of work. I've been doing some on Daily Dose. Some boring stuff you wouldn't notice, and some stuff that might be fun for you to read. Like my About page. New pic. New links. Check it.

You also have to check this out:

I'm obsessed...and seriously worried for my little drive-thru coffee spot. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are my favorite. I don't drink coffee on a daily basis. I certainly don't drink anything other than decaf...but when I found these Starbucks VIA packets, even though they aren't decaf, I bought them and I have no regrets. There are five packets within and I'm seriously doing everything I can to not drink one every day. Yes, it's pumpkin season. Ready or not.

The cute little pumpkin patch on my running route is getting ready for business:

I stopped briefly to snap a pic, then kept on to clock five total miles on Sunday morning. The running is going really well and I'm now even more excited for the Hot Chocolate. Here's to some shorter runs this week, followed by a 6-miler this weekend. Uppin' the mileage, uppin' the mileage...

Question: What are you training for right now?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Patience and Perseverance

It's Friday...enough said. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Week's Workouts

I feel like I'm having one of those weeks where all of my workouts fall into place. I know it's only Thursday, but I'm anticipating successful Friday and weekend workouts, so I thought I'd round things up with a few pinnable recaps in case you're in need of something new.

I rode my bike to and from my 6:00AM Circuit Sculpt class, which is barely three miles round trip. But it still counts, and it was nice to be on the road again. Class was delish, I'm continuing to push a bit more and more with each session to keep people progressing.

I ran three miles inside at the gym. One on the track, another on the treadmill and yet another on the track. I like to work on speed when I run on Tuesdays. I have a 9:45AM client, so I get to the gym early and bust a move.

I'm fairly certain I clocked one of my fastest miles this week:

I'm usually in the 8-minute bracket. Shavin' time, shavin' time...

WEDNESDAY typically reserved for high intensity intervals of strength and cardio. I had about 45 minutes to burn before my first client, so I did the following three times through:

I taught my Foam Rolling class today, and the plan is to run four miles tonight. I will also ride my bike to and from Circuit Sculpt tomorrow and run five miles at some point over the weekend.

Question: What's your fitness plan for the next few days?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

National Chocolate Milkshake Day

Yep, this day is for real. National Chocolate Milkshake Day. Could there be a better day? Well...I guess if it was National Chocolate Milkshake Minus The Calories Day, then maybe there could be. I'm sure we'd all be jumping for joy in a big pool of chocolate goodness if that was the case. But it isn't, so we can do one of two things:

1) Indulge our taste buds on a sinful little treat.
2) Indulge our taste buds on a sinful-but-healthy little treat.

I chose #2. But I've been known to choose #1 on occasion. Let's be honest—everyone should choose #1 on occasion. Just sayin'. The ingredients:

Behold, that which makes an awesome chocolate-cherry milkshake. The chocolate PlantFusion protein powder and PB2 came at me from Swanson Health Products, whose prices really can't be beat. I added cherry CHO and some mini chocolate chips to up the flavor, and half a banana is just necessary in any smoothie. The raspberries? I don't know...they were looking sad in my refrigerator so I threw 'em in, too. Along with four ice cubes.

Just four, that's all you need. I SWEAR.
The result was quite fantastic if I do say so myself.

And if you're wondering about the PB2, it's peanut butter in powder form. Minus all the oils and other junk, which makes it quite pure and delicious. If you mix it with water, it makes peanut butter. If you throw it in smoothies or oatmeal, it adds a great peanut flavor to the mix. I had some on vanilla CHO the other day:

With some miniature chocolate chips and a few banana chunks...and it was quite delicious. My only beef with the product? Hard to find. And it can be expensive. But it's totally worth it, in my humble opinion.

Also worth it? Local honey.

I love it when the honey lady comes to the gym. She's so nice and has the best honey. When my last jar ran out, I bought some from Meijer and it just was not the same. At all. So I literally pulled a bad-trainer move and stopped my client so I could beg her for a jar when she walked by on the track.

Bless her soul for having an extra jar with her today. $7 for the smaller jar above, and its so worth every single cent. I'm seriously considering asking her if I can meet her bees so I can bow down to them.

You think I'm lying.

Tomorrow: A fitness update and a workout. It's been awhile.

Question: What product do you buy locally that you can't live without?

Disclaimer: Swanson Health Products gave me a code that allowed me to snag some free products, including the above. I was not paid to review the products or to mention the company. Rest assured, all opinions are my own. And rest assured that I really do think Swanson runs a great ship

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Need prenatal and postpartum fitness advice?

Guys, I'm so excited. Kelly of New Leaf Wellness has asked me to help lead a set of classes related to prenatal and postpartum fitness. These discussions are part of a "LIVE! At Lunch" series that focuses on balancing motherhood with healthy living.

Each class in the series is one hour long, conducted at lunch and over the phone. It will run you $15 per class—a fair price, considering the amount of information you will be given. Translation? We'll answer all of your questions as best we can, and we'll provide tips and takeaways that you can apply to your life almost immediately. And by "we," I mean Kelly and the guest experts she's lined up.

"Expert" is a strong word, but that will be me in the "Exercise During Pregnancy" and "Exercise After Baby" classes. Other sessions will discuss organization, slow cooker meals, healthy eating during and after pregnancy and more. Call in for one, call in for them all.

Question: Depending on the success of this series, there may be room for more. What classes would you suggest Kelly look into scheduling in the next go-round? Talk to us both. We're listening.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Feels Like Fall

The first official day of Fall isn't until September 22, but I've got it on my mind. It is, after all, September. And it feels like Fall because pumpkins are making their presence known in the grocery stores and on food blogs. (I've already had my first Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks.) And the temperatures are, well...falling. It's also football season, a season which I so readily participated in this past weekend.

I grew up in South Bend, so The University of Notre Dame has always been a big part of my life. I sold candy at tailgates for my gymnastics team when I was in grade school. I made yearly trips to the Notre Dame bookstore for brand-new school supplies and sweatshirts. I gathered with family every Saturday of basically every year of my life to cheer on the Irish football team. (I still do, really.) And although I didn't go to school there, I did study at Saint Mary's College. It's right across the street, and ND loved us SMC-chicks enough to give each of us a set of season tickets to the games.

Of course I wanted them. And I still want tickets, which is why I jump at the opportunity to go watch a game if and when such an opportunity presents itself. In this weekend's case, my mom had a set of tickets and my dad hates going so I went with her. It was a beautiful day, and a delicious hot dog:

Don't judge. It's the one and only time you'll ever catch me eating a hot dog. I don't know if it's a stadium thing or a Notre Dame thing, but man...they're so good. Ketchup and mustard and onions and relish IN MY MOUTH. It immediately made my stomach churn. I dealt with it. I dealt with the weather, too. Not that I had to.

The gorgeousness of Saturday carried right on through the rest of the weekend. So I went for a run.

I still haven't planned out my training program for the Hot Chocolate 15K, but I an 5 miles yesterday. I intended to go six, but I could feel my back screaming a little (which it tends to do if I get overzealous). Back aside, it was still a good run. Things I thought about while running:

My route: I switched it up and it made all the difference in the world. How often do you switch up your route? If you're feeling sluggish in your runs, try doing so and see what happens. The new scenery inspired a new bit of focus, which was great. (And I passed by some roadside pear trees which I really wanted to climb and pick from, but I held back. Although, I might go back.)

My shoes: I wear my running shoes when I work, which means they log action not otherwise associated with running. Die hard runners know that this isn't necessarily the best thing, mostly because it wears the shoe down quicker than quick. And technically speaking, you only get so many miles out of a single pair of shoes. I've had my running shoes since January, and I think it's time to switch. And I'm thinking I'll keep my current pair for work and buy a new pair just for running. Any suggestions? I'm still loving my Nike brand.

My bike: I haven't been on it since before I was pregnant. So that's two summers without much riding, which is just awful and sad for my poor, lonely Jamis the Bike. But I got it off the hooks yesterday and dusted off all the cobwebs.

I even took it to work this morning . Round trip, it's like three miles (if that) but it felt great to ride again. I used to ride my bike to work all the time,—that was before Hannah. But since I go to my 6:00AM class without her (because she's still sleeping), I decided to take Jamis. Our running stroller will attach to my bike, but she's still a bit small for that I think. Perhaps someday. But I think I'll keep riding to my 6:00AM for as long as the weather will allow me.

And that's that.

Now, here I sit. With two giant baskets of laundry calling my name from the other room. So I'll leave you with this, my lunch. Because it was that good today:

Oh, and this flower picture. Because it's that pretty:

Question: What's the one not-good-for-you thing that you look forward to splurging on maybe once or twice a year?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fitness Classes and Foam Rolling

Friday. Oh, heck yes. And since I'm certain that all of you are winding down your workweeks and/or gearing up for a great weekend, I won't say much so as not to keep you. In fact, I don't want to keep you here today—I'd rather send you on over to FitFluential and MizFitOnline where I am currently guest posting. Check me out:

Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, or maybe you're intimidated by the whole fitness class scene, the above will shed some light on a few important things to consider. And if you're feeling tight, consider jumping ( but not literally) on a foam roller:

Keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest if you aren't already. You never know what I'll be up to next.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Will run for chocolate!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you've no doubt discovered my #fitnessbucketlist. It's not one of my biggest boards, but it's a place where I like to pin certain must-do, must-buy and must-achieve things. All of which are directly related to fitness (obvi). Today, I'm happy to announce that I will be knocking off one of the items I've pinned, and I'll be doing so with my mom right next to me..

Yep, this girl will run for chocolate in Chicago come November 1. Let's be honest, though. I'd run for chocolate on absolutely any day of the week in any location anywhere because I'm that much in love with the stuff. Case and point, I don't really care about the sweet sweatshirt I get for signing up. I don't even know if you get a medal when you cross the finish line. I do, however, care and know that this will be mine when a little over nine miles are behind me:

I know, right? The plan is to indulge. And enjoy. But first, I have to get my mileage up again. The farthest I've gone as of late is but six miles. So I need to add three more to that in two months' time which shouldn't be a problem, provided I stay consistent with increasing my distance from here on out. 

I haven't quite put together a plan yet, but I know that I'll need to physically write it out. When plans like this are right in front of my face, rather than in my head, I do much better with sticking to them. And since this is a race that I've always wanted to complete, I want to train well to finish strong.

Train well. Finish strong. Eat chocolate.

I'm so excited. 

Question: What fitness events are in your future? Anything you're particularly excited about?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

@NaturesPath + @Chobani = Yum

I am currently obsessed with Nature's Path Love Crunch. Have you discovered this granola? And just so we're clear—I am not being compensated for this post in any way, unless you count the payment I'm getting in awesome flavor and stomach fullness. This stuff is good. Really good. Apple Crumble good. And I bought it with my own money. The yogurt, too. Have you guys seen the new 16-ounce Chobani containers? A lot of the blogs I read are writing about them, particularly the Chocolate Chunk version, which I cannot seem to find in the store.

So I made my own: Vanilla + Miniature Chocolate Chips = Chocolate Chunk CHO.

When I topped it off with the Apple Crumble Love Such a great snack. Or breakfast. Whichever you fancy. I've had it twice now which, honestly, just isn't enough. I'm anxious to get my hands on more of the Love Crunch. I've had the Dark Chocolate and Red Berries Blend, and the Aloha Blend, but not any of the others as I haven't seen them in my go-to stores.


That's that.
This is this:

A giant watermelon and six ears of corn are not pictured. I will be seriously sad when my farm share no longer arrives on Wednesdays. It's the best...even though I am overflowing with peppers at the moment. What's a girl to do with all those sweet little things?! And do you think I can make a miniature apple pie with the two pictured? They're more for baking, not eating, as they're not sweet. Hm.

Those raspberries, by the way...they'll be gone in a hot second. Berries don't last in my house.

Anyway (again).

Today's workout is to be determined. I'm super sore from a 4-miler that include an additional mile of waking lunges and sprints. And yesterday's HIIT. Rest day? We'll see.

Question: What's a girl to do with all those sweet little peppers pictured above? Suggestions, please!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Importance of Recess (#Infographic)

Up here in Michigan, kiddos young and old are returning to school today. I can almost smell the fresh pencils and crisp folders being loaded into brand-new backpacks. The brown bag lunches being stuffed into lockers that'll never be so organized again, and that are slammed shut seconds later as feet shod with new shoes turn and scuffle to class. In fact, I can almost remember what all of that felt like even though my days of doing the school thing are long gone. I had a love/hate relationship with school back in the day, but I do truly miss it now.

Well, I love/hated most of it anyway. Recess was always fun. In grade school, we'd race out the door to be the first one on top of the monkey bars. In high school, we didn't have recess, but we had lunch. And gym class. Both of which helped us blow off some steam (and catch up on the gossip). And in college, well...recess became something carefree we all reminisced about. We no longer had access to the playground or gym class, but we still had access to a gym. And lunch.

And then we graduated. Work became the new natural and relaxation, especially any form of recess, seemed to be a true thing of the past. At least until Saturday and Sunday hit. But I've learned, after a number of years spent working in an office, that recess can and should still exist. Especially in school, but more importantly for you adults reading this. Recess should exist in your daily life. And it should exist as exercise. Or any form of movement that gets you up and going. Especially if you find yourself working in an office.

The following infographic highlights the importance of recess in schools, and the points within can be applied to the importance of "recess" in your adult work life, too. Consider it motivation. Regardless of what you do on a daily basis, you...yes, all of us...should take the time to give yourself a break. And if it's a physical break (think: exercise) then all the better.

Check it:

The Importance of Recess

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Angelas

Labor Day! Woot! A no-work Monday, and I hope you're all enjoying it. Are you with family and/or friends? Are you getting some stuff done around the house? It's a nice day for either option. Us? We've chosen the latter as we just got back from South Bend.

I went for a run this morning: Four steady miles, then half a mile of walking lunges/sprinting. (<—Oh, burn.) Then we hit the grocery store. Now, Jason is doing some yard work and I'm working on the computer and keeping up with the laundry. Hannah, well...little lazy bones is asleep. Speaking of. She is eight months old today.

I can't even handle it.

Time is certainly flying. My girl is THIS CLOSE to crawling. In fact, she's somewhat mastered both the plank and Downward-Facing Dog in her attempts to put one knee forward at a time. I'm so proud.

I'm also quite proud of my best friend.

Her name is Angela and she's one of two Angelas that I'd like to tell you about today...

Angela, My Best Friend

She got married this weekend, and I was one super-happy Matron-of-Honor. She and I met in Kindergarten and have been sisterly close ever since. She's the kind of person I can turn to no matter what. She's the kind of person I can sit with in silence and still, somehow have a conversation. We haven't always lived in the same city or gone to the same schools, but that never mattered and it still doesn't. We pick right up whether we've seen each other yesterday or last month. And I am so happy for her because she married a great guy. He's tons of fun, has a heart of gold and is really fun to pick on. (Don't worry, he dishes it back.) I can't wait to watch them continue to grow as a couple.

She looked beautiful, he looked handsome. Ugh, I just love weddings. (To all of my unmarried college friends, I'm hinting at you right now...)

Ready for Angela #2? Let's shift gears, from person to place.

Angela, My First Gym

I heart Angela Athletic Center so much. It's not very often that I get to visit my old stomping grounds otherwise known as Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. I mean, it's in South Bend, but whenever we're down there we are inevitably doing something without much free time.

We got into town early on Friday so I snuck on over while Hannah took a nap.


Saint Mary's is my home away from home. I think it always will be. I get so sentimental even thinking about thinking about it. Angela was the very first gym I had access to, and it's where I really cultivated my love for all things fitness. Before Saint Mary's, my workouts consisted of weekly cheerleading practices and the occasional tumbling class. I hated running, wouldn't have even thought about picking up a weight, and then I got to Saint Mary's where suddenly I had open access to anything and everything I'd ever want to use to get and keep myself into shape. I could even take fitness classes for credit which, come to think of it, I never did <—I don't even know why. But I made to time to visit Angela as often as my schedule and my body would allow it. It's where I first got bored running on a dreadmill. It's where I first discovered the power of free weights. And it's where I first learned how to properly set up a machine. Gosh, the memories.

And, yeah—I even did some cheerleading down on that basketball court. Saint Mary's didn't have a cheerleading squad, but we started one my Freshman year, debuting at the first basketball game my Sophomore year. So fun.

I miss it.


And I'm so grateful that it's so close...close enough to visit whenever I've got the time. And if I don't have the time, all I have to do is close my eyes because I remember everything as if I was there just yesterday.

Let's not talk about the fact that my ten-year reunion is next summer.

I'm so old.

Question: Do you remember the first gym you ever joined, or the first time you really discovered fitness and working out? Tell me about it.


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