Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Happy Friday!!

These past two weeks have been pretty crazy. A one semester class in three days (yes that is possible for my graduate program), my new class at Viking Fitnesss, getting to know and training new clients, keeping up with everyday tasks, running and training, and being social–wow sounds exhausting!!

In reality though, I did have to step back after that three day class a week or so ago. I was invited to three fun events I was planning on attending once my class was over. I ended up not attending any of them and sleeping in, catching up on things at home, and organizing my life before the spring semester starting that next Tuesday. I hate saying no, but being social seemed like a lot of work when all I wanted to do was rest my brain! (sounds terrible I know). I’m really glad I took the hint and listened to my body!

In terms of marathon training, my training is basically at a close. No more hard training runs, minimal leg days (sobs), and instead shorter runs that act more as a shake out for my legs. The past couple weeks I added more stretching, foam rolling, and just overall rest. I tried to get my steps in every day, but that was about it. I snuck in a few walks and an upper body training session. Weird to take it all down a notch. But I like it. I shows me that I really work hard and put my body through a lot. The tapering is actually kind of relaxing for me and is a good time to get psyched and excited for the race ahead!!

Basic recap on my life lately done! ^^^

In the meantime, I’ve meal prepped lasagna and healthy carb options these two weeks as well. Still plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and water. These two days before the race though, I stocked up on healthy carb options. I always like to have these around in training or not, but I did find that I was low in some of my favorites, so I made a trip to Publix!

Aside from just the carb and healthy fat options I picked up, I have a method I use to get through the grocery store as efficiently and productive as possible on a daily basis. Here are three tips I live by when tackling the grocery store:

  • Enter with a list. I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. You stick to the list you bring then just wandering aimlessly around the store ( <— time killer). Make sure you have the ingredients you need for whatever you’re prepping, your basic staples, a treat or two (your discretion on this one), and one new product. Some of these, like the treat or new item is something you see as you shop. I know I always buy fresh veggies as snacks, enough greens for a salad, carbs (one to cook fresh another ready to go), a protein (one to cook fresh and one ready to go), dairy, fruit for snacking or breakfast, and a healthy fat or two (mines BOGO peanut butter is at publix most of time).
  • Shop the perimeter of the store first. Again, another broken record, but THIS is very key if you tend to go straight to the aisles. The perimeter of the store has the meat, produce, frozen, and sometimes dairy items. The basics for healthy shopping! The inside aisles have the processed items. You can find quality brown rice in the aisles, but you can also find oreos. 😉 Be weary and keep your list nearby when in these aisles!
  • It’s OK to ask for repackaging. The repackaging applies more so to meat and produce. You can ask the butcher to cut the portion in half, trim the meat, and weigh it out for you. I don’t do this a lot, but my mom does for certain things. It’s a smart way to cut costs and keep lean protein in mind. You can also apply this to produce when it is sold in open bags. Grapes are the norm for this. I’ve weighed mine out and got exactly how much I need without wasting the rest and paying more then I needed to.
  • Read labels. Sounds time consuming. It can be, but I focus instead on skimming instead of reading every last nutrient and ingredient. I check out five things on the label: calories, carbs, fat, fiber, protein. Making sure the item is low in sugar too is also key! Checking out the first five ingredients on the list is also important!

YOUR TURN:

– Do you like grocery shopping?

-What is your typical routine when you shop?

-What have you had to say no to lately but are glad you did?

 

 

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

My first blog post of the year! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017. Looking back on 2016, there was a combination of both good and bad. Bad I feel isn’t a great word here, so I’m switching to “challenging.”

Challenges that were a lesson for growth and change. Plenty of tough real world situations, frustration, stress, and fear are a few of the characteristics I would describe tough spots this year. Even though negative at some points, I’ve gotten stronger and have learned what the real me is made of. Grateful for these experiences even though I wanted to jump out the window on a few occasions!

Good things: new friends, people, opportunities, growth, learning more about myself, and learning where I find my niche in the fitness industry. Continuing to trust myself, live independently in Tampa, and do what makes me happy are what I hope to continue in the New Year! One marathon, multiple races and miles, blogging, growing my personal training business and enhancing my group fitness skill set and classes, grad school this summer and fall, travel to Costa Rica, continue to live in sunny Tampa and meet the greatest guy, neighbor–turned boyfriend has been a few highlights of my year!

I’m not done with any of these yet, but every year I find myself getting a little bit closer to who I want to become. Big YAY!

OK. My year in review is recapped and I’m excited to share the purpose of post today!

My Garmin Vivoactive HR watch! 

I didn’t realize I would want this, but as soon as Harrison gifted it to me and I read about all it does, I was:

1.) Floored

2.) Excited to try it ASAP!

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I was in awe of such a generous and thoughtful gift, but also EVERYTHING this watch can do! Run, swim, bike, row, ski/snowboard (came in handy this Christmas in Steamboat), stand-up paddle board, golf (not really for me, but a possibility down the road!), as well indoor running, cycling, and strength training. I especially love the capability for strength training, especially during a HIIT workout or group fitness class!

It tracks heart rate as well, another component I thought was pretty sweet. Again, nothing I thought I would be sold on, but definitely a reminder to add that extra push and challenge myself during a run or cardio session. Although wearing a heart rate monitor around your rib cage is more accurate, which I still believe is, heart rate via your wrist is also fairly accurate compared to measuring my own manually.

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Sleep is also another feature I find fun to check! Again, nothing I monitor too closely since I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but seeing the amount of hours I slept, periods of deep and light sleep, movement, and awake time is handy. Sleep is a huge component of exercise performance, so knowing I’m sleeping well and sound and tracking it regularly is a feature that I’ve grown to like.

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Aside from the sport features, tracking steps, floors climbed, and intensity minutes are also recorded! All based around your profile you complete on the app, the watch determines your recommended steps per day, floors to climb (kind of tough at times), and intensity minutes for the week. It reminds you to move and congratulates you when you’ve achieved your goal! All good things to know throughout the day.

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Besides tracking fitness, the watch uses Bluetooth technology which syncs with your phone!!! Receiving calls and texts is easy and allows you to monitor notifications discreetly without the use of your phone. However, this is probably one draw back on this watch. I don’t care so much to see my texts and calls show up when I’m working out. My phone is away for a reason because I am busy! My workout time is my me time so I prefer to have that away. Luckily, this feature is not annoying and can be easily dismissed.

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I’m still get used to it, but I must say, it is easy to use and understand. Two buttons on the face, a large touch screen, and waterproof. Once set up, downloading the Garmin Connect App helps manage your stats via your phone. There you can go into details of your activity, sleep, calories burned, weight-loss tracking, and more. Did I mention you can sync it with myfitnesspal?! Too cool! I haven’t yet. Trying to decide if I want it connected or keep them separate. Will keep you posted! Pretty cool option knowing you can keep food logging and activity all on one app.

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Since there is SO many cool features, it can be easy to focus on numbers! Although numbers can be motivating, I try personally to not let them run my life.

I believe these activity trackers, whichever brand you buy, are a TOOL, not a measurement of success or failure. I feel that if I don’t track my sleep, I don’t get steps in, or my intensity minutes fall below the recommended amount, is not something to stress over. However, it is something to work on daily. Being reminded to move and take the stairs I feel are two very good features on this product–all of which doesn’t hurt any of us!

I do have my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch that is still my favorite and something I will continue to use! There’s something special about that watch–I think it has something to do with the races I’ve completed with it. In that case, I will be using it for my marathon and other races this year. General activity I will swap in with my Vivoactive HR watch for spin, walking, strength training, etc.! Overall, I highly recommend this watch since it plays a role in my active lifestyle that is more then just running! A perfect gift any time of year for the active individual in your life.

 

Four Feel-Good & Indulgent Dishes To Enjoy This Season At Piquant in Hyde Park Village

Four Feel-Good & Indulgent Dishes To Enjoy This Season At Piquant in Hyde Park Village

I’m making my way back to my little space on the interwebs! It’s been a busy month with school and work and as well as feeling burnt out on a few things to be honest. I have a couple blog posts I’m hoping to share before the end of the year. Even though I don’t have any NEW topics to share that I’ve created, I am still active in blogging group I’m part of, the Tampa Bay Bloggers! 

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Cheering to a great night of tasting with a Strawberry Mimosa

On another note, indulgent. The other name besides the most wonderful time of the year! I love the special holiday recipes my mom and I make every year or new recipes I like to try on my own to share with family, friends, neighbors, and Harrison’s parents. It is the season of giving! And for me that means baking up a storm (as much as I can when I’m not studying for finals) and sharing with others! At the same time, I’m training for a marathon so I want to know that what I’m eating out makes me feel good while benefiting my training. I feel confident about indulging in good quality food this holiday season at Piquant.

Anyways, let’s get on with this food talk!

A couple weeks ago I was able to attend a tasting at Piquant with some of some other local bloggers at Piquant in Hyde Park Village. If you’ve been, you KNOW they’re amazing and have a beautiful menu and I no longer need to explain. If you haven’t yet been, it’s a causal yet quaint french inspired restaurant in Hyde Park Village. I would say they have feel good dishes as well as other options if you’re feeling indulgent. All made with quality ingredients, some locally produced, such as in their Vertical Salad, which I mention later as a favorite of mine if you like a simple salad. Although it is french inspired, they put an american spin on classics. For example–their Croissant Turkey Club…UMMM. Enough said. I’ll leave it as genius.

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Croissant Turkey Club…YUMO

If you’re feeling meh about another night out of eating, a evening of entertaining, or are taking out friends for a lunch or dinner, Piquant is a great option. Their fall menu was a good mix of healthy and feel-good options combined with indulgent. Quality, delicious food for whatever mood you’re in. Here are some of my favorites for when I’m feeling indulgent or when I’d want something more light and refreshing:

For an indulgent option, hands down it’s going to brunch category. This dish blew my mind. Get ready for it: Pork Belly Benedict. Not a fan off the bat of benedict or pork belly but I was oddly excited about this combo at the same time. Served on a lemon-thyme scone, with avocado hollandaise sauce, a beef stake tomato, and poached egg. I was like WOW. I would order this again!!

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As a feel-good option, this one comes to your plate in a way you can feel good about too!  Vertical [Uriah’s Farm] Salad. Vertical comes from the locally grown tomatoes used here. Hence, Uriah’s Farm. Red and golden beets, a mixture of greens, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and a passion fruit vinaigrette. A feel good way to enjoy local produce while enjoying fresh ingredients and flavors.

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As an indulgent option, you can’t forget DESSERT! O.M.G. I’ve never felt so indulgent after trying all three of these amazing dishes…we had three to try. All amazing in their own way, I have one favorite that sticks out the most. Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding. Bread pudding is so traditional and decadent, and I feel is served during this time of year the most. It’s served warm, is fairly simple to put together, and involves bread. What’s not to love? Again, not a favorite of mine off the bat because I find it on the mushy side (sorry mom), but this was prepared like a small cake that as soon as the fork went through it, it melted into the plate and over the vanilla ice cream. OMG. I’m practically drooling.

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A feel-good option with a ton of lean protein: Salmon Napoleon. Complete with hollandaise, dill, and Ratatouille. Not heavy, full of fresh flavor yet completely satisfying. A favorite fish of mine, I really enjoyed how it was seared and packed with flavor.

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So does this make you wanna have a lunch or dinner date yet?! I’m dreaming about the options I’ve described and makes me want one of each really bad!! I’d say after this tasting, Piquant has made it to the top three of my favorite places to eat in Tampa. I can’t wait to come back and try these dishes at some point this season.

YOUR TURN:

-What is a favorite recipe you look forward to indulging in during the holiday season?

-OOPS! How do you get back on track after a too-indulgent meal?

-What are some traditions you do this time of year?

 

 

Who Said Living A Healthy Lifestyle Requires a Drastic Lifestyle Makeover? Not Me! ;)

Who Said Living A Healthy Lifestyle Requires a Drastic Lifestyle Makeover? Not Me! ;)

Recently, a few people I know have mentioned to me about how much of a change it takes to adapt to a healthy lifestyle and then asked how I do it. I’m always a fan of talking health and fitness (which I already love and because its my job) especially if people need to bounce ideas off me or just need help and don’t know where to start.

To answer their question, I said it wasn’t overnight and it took a lot of trial and error. A lot of it is learning what works and what doesn’t so you can make small changes that last in the long term.

One thing these people did that is definitely one way to NOT adapt to a healthy lifestyle is saying “I can’t” or “I won’t.” We all have doubts and it can be scary if this is brand new to you, but those two phrases are the number one way to kill any goal or idea right off the bat. I sometimes find I do this too, but when I step back and think about it, it really is that I’m nervous about taking a risk, which leads me to think of failure, which ultimately results in me not trying and it doesn’t happen at all.

Not to say that isn’t okay, but if we want to make changes, we gotta step outside the box and challenge ourselves. Maybe a little bit at a time, and thats okay too!

So I’m done with my motivational intro ;P

I get a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight and comes with A LOT of trial and error! I’m still working on it myself. But one thing I do know is that if I’m nervous about trying a new workout, recipe, running route, ingredient, etc. is to not say “I can’t” or “I won’t” because as soon as I do, its even more of reason to try it anyways! Worst case? You try it, it’s a fail, and you realize it doesn’t work. Mental note taken!

Here are five things that have worked for me to transition to a more healthier lifestyle a little bit easier and less of a drastic lifestyle makeover:

  1. Drink water at each meal.  Even if you have a alcoholic drink, pair it with a water when you go out. Same goes for coffee! Don’t worry about buying a fancy expensive water bottle to carry around and “drink from it throughout the day.” Just focus on a glass at each meal.
  2. Take a walk around the block or neighborhood two mornings/nights a week. No one says being “fit” requires a hefty gym bill or expensive race entries (unless you want to–racing is fun and addictive!) but going for a walk is free and can be done anywhere. There are plenty of benefits to walking even if it’s only for 10-20 minutes a day at a low intensity. Make it social and bring a buddy. AND make it a coffee date too! 😉
  3. Eat in a minimum of twice per week. Not saying meal-prep here, but switching your food choices instead. Knowing what you’re putting in your body is so important! Even if that’s a piece of fruit or granola bar in the morning with a coffee, you’re not only saving money, but the apple and coffee is a simple transition to a healthier option then what would you could be getting out nutrition-wise. I enjoy going out as much as the next person and see it as treat from eating in. Plus it allows me to explore and try new places and foods!
  4. Text accountability buddy. I mentioned this in last week’s post. This is really VERY helpful for me fitness-wise! I run early in the morning by myself (don’t worry I’m careful) and I text Harrison when I leave and come back. It keeps you committed having told someone and when you respond you’re back/done and you may get a virtual high five or good job message. We can all use that right? No real life gym buddy to meet up with, just your text buddy who can be ANYWHERE to help motivate and keep you accountable!
  5. Find an activity you enjoy. An activity preferably that isn’t inside or considered something in a gym. No ellipicals! 😉 An activity that you do because it makes you feel good. In a sense, this is recreation. Yes, you burn calories doing it which also helps, but it isn’t entirely focused on “losing weight” or considered “work.” You’ll know what works and what doesn’t when you try a few things. For me, running is my therapy, keeps me grounded, and challenges me. It’s burns a ton of calories (big perk) but that’s not the reason I do it. I do because it’s my me time. Trying yoga, rock climbing (another good one I love!), swimming, biking, weight training (mostly guys here), rowing, hiking, whatever it is that gets you excited to get out and do it! No rules it has to be thirty minutes or tough, just something that you enjoy and that’s it.

YOUR TURN:

-What are some easy healthy lifestyle changes that have worked for you? or haven’t?

-What are some non-fitness activities that you enjoy that doesn’t make you feel like you’re “working out”

-Any new recipes you’ve been into lately?

Five Ways To Become a Morning Exerciser

Five Ways To Become a Morning Exerciser

“I don’t workout in the morning because I’m not a morning person” or “I like working out at night because it fits my schedule. I don’t know how you morning people do it” is something I hear a lot in the fitness world. We all have our own schedules and know what works best among a million other commitments, a family, job, social life, etc. but there’s something about getting up early and taking the time for myself that I really doing for me. It’s not just about getting in the training milage for the week and “getting it done early,” but working out or running in the morning sets my day up for productivity and success.

There are PLENTY of days I enjoy my sleep too, don’t get me wrong! In fact, I kinda wish I had one recently, but that’s what naps are for. Coffee also helps when neither naps or sleeping in can happen. 😛 Over time, I’ve learned to develop into a morning person. I knew if I wanted to make my workout happen, whatever that might be AND get whatever else done, I’d have to get up early. Simply put. No excuses. 😉

Aside from deciding to get up and workout out early, I’ve always looked forward to knowing I’m getting up for my workout or “me time.” That alone excites and motivates me to wake and take that time. It’s true when you hear the saying, “people who workout in the morning stick with their exercise program the best” –there are NO distractions from getting it done first thing. You feel great after and knowing you’ve accomplished something positive first thing is a feeling you can’t beat!!

I’m not here to rant about WHY people should be morning people if they’re not, instead I’m gonna share ways that have helped me on HOW you can become a morning exerciser too! :

1.) Find something you can look forward to AFTER your workout- Something as simple as a nice long shower, enjoying a cup of coffee you can sit down and enjoy instead of taking with you or getting on the go (unless that is something you look forward to–Starbucks or Buddy Brew anyone??), or let’s be honest–a delicious breakfast!! My go to right there.

2.) Find a text message accountability buddy- The gym buddy part is hard, BUT you can always have buddy to text! I find this really helpful as my milage has gotten longer and I’ve had to run earlier. I text my boyfriend the night before or tell him in person that “I’m running at 6am five miles and I’ll text you when I’m back” type of thing. It’s worked for me because:

1.) I wrote it down/said it out loud

2.) I told/texted someone

3.) I told/texted that person when I get back

Basically, I committed myself. 😛 The best part is that this person can be ANYWHERE. They act as an accountability buddy to make sure you get it done, whatever workout that is. When you text that person you’re back/done, they might give you virtual high five or good job message. Something we can all use right? (Thanks, Harrison 😀 ). Even telling your buddy that you’ve signed up for Viking Bootcamp at 6am (*cough* Ali’s class 🙂 ) can make you back out that much less, even if you’ve already signed up!

3.) Plan your clothes the night before and have them ready to go–bonus if you sleep in them- This one I feel everyone kinda knows, but it’s true. It’s another sneaky way to commit yourself to get it done in the morning. It’s one less thing to think about too!

4) Have a plan for the rest of the day Know what you’re planning on doing after your workout helps you keep you on track time-wise too. I tend to priortize my day better the mornings I get up to workout knowing I have so much on my list to accomplish. I find don’t waste as much time in the morning and am more apt to get out of bed. Since most of us have work or school we’re getting up for, the weekend can pose a special challenge. After I run, clean up, eat breakfast/enjoy coffee, and stretch/foam roll etc. post run, I plan on making a list to either run errands, study, or meal prep so I can stick to my list.

5.) Try getting up at your new wake-up for two days in a row to start, then take a sleep in day- If the morning is a brand new concept to you or you workout in the evenings typically, try for two days at a time of morning workouts instead of trying for every day. Since it is a switch to get used to, keeping a day you go back to your usual workout time keeps your body thinking without overdoing it. Adding from two days in the mornings to three days while decreasing your “sleep in” days or maintaining them is an easy way to adjust.

GOOD LUCK!!

YOUR TURN:

-Are you a morning person when it comes to working out or do you prefer the evenings? We’re you always like that?

-What has worked for you to get up? or are you still figuring it out?! What hasn’t worked?

-Evening peeps–why evening over morning? Do you like it or is it something learning to work with so far with schedule, work, etc.?

-Have you been to Viking Fitness in Channelside? Be sure to visit me for Bootcamp at 6am!

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Hi All! I’ve been a little MIA lately due to school, BUT I’m back in action after getting though a crazy busy last couple weeks. Between clients, internship, and having a test this past week, you can say I’ve been a little nuts. Marathon training has kept me sane through it all and has helped me prioritize my runs as much as it has my studying. Another reason why exercise is so good–boosts productivity! 😉

Even though I’m in Florida, it definitely isn’t feeling like fall. It’s still fairly hot and in some cases rainy in the afternoon. Kinda like summer weather. Florida needs to make up its mind! It’s either hot as hell or it’s either hot as hell. Florida, please choose neither and pick fall instead. 😉

With sporadic rain showers mixed with humidity or just being plain hot, speed work outside has been hit or miss. I definitely haven’t missed those workouts, but it’s either get wet outside or suck it up and run on dreadmill…I mean treadmill. Okay, it really isn’t that bad. It’s a last resort for me. It’s either I suck it up on the treadmill or it doesn’t happen plain and simple. If it is nice, then YES you bet I’m outside. With the past few times I have been on it compared and when I was training for Miami, I’ve played around with ways to keep me challenged but also distracted. First off, music is a no brainer. Gotta have music to keep you pumped and going. That’s pretty much it…besides a water and a towel. A nice view also helps!

So HOW would you say you beat boredom on the ‘mill? I’ve come up with two treadmill workouts that I’ve done in a pinch to get in some speed work when I can’t get outside. Because #noexcuses is a real thing especially with marathon training!

1.) Up The Pace

-Start out with a brisk walk on the flat surface for three to five minutes. Using either the distance you have set to run (most times for me) or time at .25 miles or three to five minutes. From there, up the speed half a speed at a time. For example, if you’re ending your warm-up around .25 miles, up your speed from 3.5 for 4.0 or as high as 4.5 mph for 2-4 minutes at a time. Continue to increase speed gradually until you reach the mile marker. At this point, you’re at fast pace/almost a sprint for the last 3/4 (.75) of the mile. That last bit is TOUGH! Once you reach the mile maker, drop back down to your start pace at the walk and repeat the gradual increase in speed until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

2.) Tempo Sprints

-Start with a brisk walk for three to five minutes. When you’re ready, up the pace to speed of which you’re at an uncomfortable “push” type pace. Talking should be minimal and breathing heavy. Stay here for maximum minute and thirty seconds or minimum of thirty seconds. Drop to jog. Drop back down to brisk walk. Repeat picking up the pace faster each time. Work until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

Anything helps when you’re on the ‘mill! These have really helped me and I’ve seen the benefits even though I’m inside. Of course outside is always best, but I like to think of it as it happens on the treadmill or not at all when it comes to days I’m stuck inside. Every time I’ve chosen to get it done with on the treadmill and remind myself I’m better for it. Then after the workout, I make a note to self the times it doesn’t rain and plan to go then. XP

Happy Friday!

 

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

So far so good with my marathon training and balancing life, school, teaching classes, training clients, boyfriend and social life, and internship…LOL. Really though, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I’m doing so far. *Knocks wood.* I am very busy, but if you know me, you know I LOVE that and wouldn’t want it any other way. This week in particular has been a whirlwind and I feel quite tired, but also invigorated. I saw a quote this week that said, “I am so exhausted today because I was busy being so awesome YESTERDAY.” That’s how I’ve felt lately. And it’s a good thing. I’m also really excited to sleep in tomorrow morning for this reason. It’s the little things that count.

This week I shared a cool new core move that I shared on my Instagram. Since I’ve been tired this week, I just wanted to get it all done in as little as one or two moves. I also wasn’t feeling totally creative, like I said up top, so combining total core with a burst of low abs sounded like a good challenge to me! Make sure you keep your core tight, pressing it into the ground. Try not to let your low back pop up as your legs come down for the flutter kick. As soon as you feel your low back arch, you’ve gone too far! Keep your core tight and neutral.

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Owning you, Monday!

This move works the entire core and gets you burning up in half the time!  I was like ‘what can I double up on that let’s me get everything done in one or two simple moves?’ –> then BOOM. This move was born. I was toast guys!!!! Seriously it was really good. I didn’t need to do another move because this one got it all. Can I get an AMEN? Core done: CHECK! I love when I surprise myself with my creativity on days I’m feeling meh.

As much as I love doing large muscle groups and finishing them with core, I was just into doing just core and cardio and that’s it this past week. I wanted to be done with it in thirty to forty minutes max (I can typically spend about an hour, hour and fifteen depending on what I’m doing). We all have places to go and things to do, so this is where this workout came in handy the most.

I’ve talked a little about plyometric (plyo) moves before and they’re making their way back to my workouts. Plyometrics are movements that involve power, speed, and high intensity cardio. They’re great for HIIT and workouts like this one. Fast, challenging, and powerful. I never used to like them because I felt uncoordinated and slow. But after reading about how they can benefit my running and overall cardiovascular system, I reluctantly decided to add them. From there, I’ve grown to LOVE them. I add them for high intensity and burst of cardio where space is limited or I’m short on time. I especially love them for my HEAT class I teach since it’s always a good challenge and doesn’t require equipment–another bonus!

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Checked out the new University of Tampa fitness center this week! Gorgeous facility.

Combined with marathon training, I’m still keeping my three times per strength training days. I’ve been at this for awhile and really like how it’s fit into my schedule. Especially with my training and upcoming milage, it’s so important to stay strong and injury-free. Twice a week total body plus a quick thirty to forty minutes of a workout like this one is a perfect way to get in strength workouts.

No equipment necessary for this! All you need is a mat/towel, a water bottle, and some motivation and that’s it. 😉 Get that core working and heart rate up and you’ll be done in no time.

Core + Plyo Workout

  • * using a weight. I used one twelve pound weight and had a ten pound nearby
  • Three-four times total for each round going from one exercise to the next
  • Rest at the end thirty seconds to one min before repeating
  • Start with each exercise doing forty-forty five seconds each and work up to a minute

 -Overhead crunch + flutter kick*

-Russian twist + bicycle crunch

-Scissor kick + leg lift*

-Lateral bounds + single leg hop

-Side shuffle burpees

*Repeat 3-4 times*

In terms of marathon training, I started last week. Again so far so good. Since having done one already, I feel confident about my training and what works and doesn’t work for me. Of course, there is always something to try and glitches to sort out which makes each training special. I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I program with a few new changes I’m throwing in. I’m adding two days of speed work and one bridge run. My race has two bridges and yes, I knew that when I signed up. My first race was flat so I figured it was time to add a new challenge. I’m tracking my food via MyFitnessPal. Strength training three times per week. Lastly, I’m adding hip and ankle mobility work since I’m as stiff as a board and am learning through my internship that I really do need to improve this. I’m determined NOT to break with my upcoming milage! My ultimate goal is finish in one piece and injury free and I feel adding the mobility work will really be a great addition! Keeping with minimal drinking and good sources of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbs are a forever friend when it comes to marathon training!

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Five miles done before the sun

One component I’m particularly excited about is to have my boyfriend, Harrison, be part of this training. He’s into being fit (mostly lifting upper body…I help gotta help with some lower body stuff) and running for health. He’s really supportive and is excited for me and the upcoming training! I’m hoping when he’s not studying, and when I’m not too, I can get him up early to ride his bike alongside me on my long runs. If anything he’s great at keeping me accountable. We both get up early so we text/call each other to make sure where up and moving. For me, I text him when I’m about to leave on a run and when I get back, especially when I run early in the morning. I told him a lot of carbs are in the near future so he said he would be down to keep me accountable with making sure I’m well fed. HAHA. My kinda guy. 😉

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Me & my dude, Harrison. 🙂
Three Ways To Improve Balance

Three Ways To Improve Balance

I’ve been learning A LOT of different things at my internship since starting it three weeks ago! It’s very hands-on and I’m definitely being challenging to think outside the box. That’s the whole point of an internship, right? One of the key components that is used a lot with the clients I work with at my internship is balance.

Not the balance like life balance…lol, although that IS a work in progress too, I talking coordination, agility, posture, body awareness, etc. It’s all important. For a while, I was working on it diligently with myself and my clients. Then I kinda forgot about it…oops. It can be one of those things that can easily be forgotten if you’re not actively working on it.

Balance was the one thing that I think got stale for me which is a reason it fell off my fitness routines. I’ve now been reintroducted to it and the various ways you can challenge it with equipment, eyes open vs. closed, kneeling vs. standing, and no equipment vs. foam padding or a bosu. The possibilities are endless. I’ve taken time to add it to my workouts and in my HEAT class through plyometric moves such as lateral bounds, lunges + single leg skips, or simply balancing one leg for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the level of our balance skills until its gone, like when we fall, for example. Just like working out heart for cardio and increasing strength with resistance training, we can lose balance too. Particularly as we age, it is another aspect of fitness that is lost after the age of twenty five.

So besides the fact that balance is forgotten, I figured I’d share a post on how to ADD it back into your routine to gain the benefits of improving balance. What’s so great about balance is that it doesn’t have to involve being sweaty. Weird saying I know. It doesn’t necessarily involve a high heart either. I like adding it into the end of a workout to calm the mind and ease into a cool-down. Before bed or part of a weekend fitness routine works too. I like to think that balance works body-awareness, also known as proprioception. You train your mind and body at the same time. If you participate in yoga regularly, balance poses are more then likely incorporated into the practice. Adding tree pose or pigeon pose counts when not on the mat counts too!

Do these three exercises without shoes. It gives you a sense of awareness and less support as soon as you step out of your shoes…what you want! I do two sets each side with five to eight reps each. Work up to three sets of ten or more reps or until you can easily add a challenge. Of course, try not to hold to anything! Having something or someone nearby if you do need the extra support is okay. Soon you’ll learn to not need it. 😉

Try these three balance exercises you can do anywhere and without equipment to work your balance:

  1. Tightrope walkStepping heal to toe forward and repeating backward. 
    1. Easy: Walk two steps forward and two steps backward
    2. Medium: Walk three-five steps forward and backward
    3. Hard: Walk three-fives steps forward and backward with eyes closed
  2. Three Point Star
    1. Easy: Tap your toe to the ground in the front, side, and back of you.
    2. Medium: Release toe from ground and repeat the three points
    3. Hard: Keep toe off the ground and repeat the three points with eyes closed
  3. Finger GlanceSupporting yourself on one leg, extend opposite leg out in front. Bend elbows at the ninety degrees and hold out in front of you. Raise one finger on each hand. The higher you lift your leg out in front, the harder it is. 
    1. Easy: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is on ground in front. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    2. Medium: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground a half inch to inch off ground. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    3. Hard: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground one to two inches. Glance back and forth at fingers.

Adding these exercises to your fitness routine regularly will over time help enhance your balance. Realizing this can also help my running, is one reason I’ve been incorporating it into my program. Although this can help train your mind, this is great neurologically and muscularly too. Just because we’re not “old” doesn’t mean we have to fall and hurt ourselves to realize balance training NOW is important. With these simple exercises you can improve sooner then later.

YOUR TURN:

-What is one part of fitness you know you can improve on?

-Anything you’ve been working on diligently that you’ve seen improvement in? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

-What does your weekend fitness routine look like?

Why I’m Tracking My Food via MyFitnessPal (Again)

Why I’m Tracking My Food via MyFitnessPal (Again)

*This post isn’t sponsored by either Weight Watchers or MyFitnessPal, I just want to share my experience with both programs! All opinions are my own.*

It’s time I make my way back to my Friday posts! 😉 Took last week off to enjoy Labor Day weekend at home and it was much needed. First weekend at home since May the night before heading to Costa Rica. A full THREE DAYS of being home never felt so good! And at a good opportunity too since we had crazy rain from Hermine, it was time to get outta dodge. I did get home safe despite the four hour drive!

As of the past couple weeks, I’ve hopped back on the bandwagon of logging my food. I used to think this was the most tedious task EVER. In fact, it was a pain in the ass to do this because it did take time and was “another thing to think about.” So yes, I get it.

Going backwards: I learned to initially log my food through Weight Watchers in high school. Yep, I was on Weight Watchers.

I wasn’t a chunk, but I was about ten pounds heavier then I needed to be. Being 5’2 and relatively small-framed, I gave it a shot. The most ironic thing was that I ran cross country so I exercised everyday, but that mentality of “I ran x amount of miles, I can eat that” happened way too often. Hence, my mom gently bringing up the fact that, “I would be happier being ten pounds lighter”–yep, mom’s words I still remember. It wasn’t like I was rolling on the floor, but I figured why not? My mom was also doing Weight Watchers so she said she could fill me in on how everything worked and we could do it together. I never saw myself as heavy or that “this is a problem and I need to lose weight” it was more of an opportunity to learn how to eat healthy and be aware of what I’m eating with a small weight-loss goal in mind. A little bit of tweaking of my diet and measuring my portions (a weakness I still work on daily) I saw the pounds come off. It took two months, but it was a VERY worthwhile two months of learning.

Today, I still use some of what I learned from WW from time to time! I love how it educates the person on eating healthy and being aware of how to enjoy little indulgences without saying NO. It is one few things out there that I agree with among all this weight loss program BS and what I recommend to my clients for those looking to lose weight. You can eat real food! Measuring and tracking keep you aware without sacrificing what you love. I’m not gonna rant about WW, but to get a better idea, check this out.

Anyways, back to the current topic.

It’s been since 2011 since I tracked my food via WW writing it all down. I jumped back on board after high school using MyFitnessPal. After a bit I got the hang of it, so I stopped until three weeks ago. After letting the fat kid in me have what she wants for the past month, I decided I needed to clean up my eating habits and got back into using MyFitnessPal.

I started logging in MFP and it has OPENED MY EYES to how I was eating. Not bad, but I needed improvement. As much as it was tedious to get back into logging my food, it is worth it. Now I enjoy seeing my numbers change throughout the day haha! and I feel more in control of my eating habits.

Below are my reasons WHY I chose to jump back into food logging:

1.) Keeps me aware of how I prioritize my macros (carbs, fats, proteins)

-Knowing I had x amount of calories throughout the day gives me have a better understanding of how to prioritize my meals while keeping me on track.

2.) Re-learning portion control

-I’ve always been good about measuring, but it can be a pain in the ass. I eye-ball certain things, but I seem to always over-estimate…go figure haha. Portioning out certain things helps me know what I can still enjoy without overdoing.

3.) Exercise ALWAYS counts–no matter how small

-We all know this, but no matter how small, it all adds up. Sometimes I kill it with a great speed workout and weights. Other times I wiped and just run a mile as fast as I can. I count those. One thing I have to be mindful of, is that although you get calories added back, it isn’t a free for all.

4.) Breakdown of micronutrients

-Not something I constantly monitor, but I do check occasionally. I love seeing the amount of fiber, sugar (the closest one I monitor), sodium, and various other vitamins and minerals change throughout the day. Best part is that MFP will remind you if you have met or exceeded your daily allowance.

5.) MyFitnessPal Blog is GREAT!

-MFP has come a long way since 2011. Now it acts as social media hub in a way with a “newsfeed” to see blog articles and “friend’s” accomplishments and exercise they’ve completed. Of course you can set your preferences to not have your diary, exercise, etc. be posted, but it is fun! I especially love some of the fitness articles they post regularly. Their recipes always look good (haven’t tried any yet) and their workouts are creative and are pretty basic to follow along. A great start for anyone looking to try a new recipe or exercise routine.

Even as personal trainer and as someone who loves fitness, we all are human and mess up. I enjoy indulgences as much as the next person but now I’m aware of WHAT and HOW MUCH I’m putting into my body. Learning as I go helps me share experiences and lessons  with clients, family, and friends in hopes someone can learn something!

YOUR TURN:

-Have you had a recent setback or comeback into fitness or healthy eating?

-Do you log food? Is it on MyFitnessPal or another app? OR do you write it down?

-What is your favorite indulgence or dessert?

End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

*Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend Yoga with a Twist and Splash Sundays for free in exchange for this blog post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey Friends! A few weeks ago I was able to partake in a monthly event, Yoga with a Twist, held at the Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa. Currently living in South Tampa myself, I never had a reason to go to The Epicurean, but as soon as this opportunity came up, I said it’s time!!

Now, I’m not great about doing yoga. I like it, but haven’t found that sweet studio or instructor I clicked with. I did it regularly during my undergrad because I loved loved loved the instructor, the type of yoga, and the timing of it in my schedule. I wouldn’t call myself a yogi, since I don’t do it regularly anymore, but will for sure give my damnedest when I do get a chance to go. It is definitely one area I always need to work on. Remember my post on yoga for runners and my foam rolling routine? I explain my struggle of recovery there, and am pleased to say I have been MUCH better at fitting it into my schedule. Still a work in progress but its happening—in case you all were wondering.

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Enjoying champagne with Caitlyn post yoga!

The thought of yoga makes me feel excited even though it’s not my fav. When its combined with my friend, Caitlyn, who is also into fitness-y things, plus heading to the Splash Sundays pool party after, I said YES!

Yoga With A Twist, the official name, is a once a month event held during the last Sunday of the month at the Epicurean Hotel, a local boutique hotel located off South Howard. A good way to get in a one hour yoga class, hang out at the Epicurean, and cheers with Champagne with fellow yogis is fun and a popular way to enjoy the morning.

Reservations are required and are $15 for the class and $20 for the class and glass. Each class is offered by Kodawari Yoga, Bodywork, and Wellness Studio. Make sure to bring a mat, water, and a towel. Refreshments were available during the event and cool towels were given right before Savasana (cool-down pose). A nice refreshing way to end class!

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Cheers to a great class!

There was about forty people participating in the yoga. Each person brought their own mat, water, etc. and was done under a huge white tent near the roof of the hotel, at the Garden Terrace on the second floor to be exact. Although it was hot, the tent was beyond helpful as well as the ice water and tea that was available during the class.

The class was done in a vinyasa-type style. In case you’re not familiar with the different types, I’m meh on my yoga let alone knowing the different kinds, LOL, but basically this was a flow type class. With a few variations to add a challenge, it was definitely a good class with a mix of challenge and easy. I’m right in the middle and found there was a good balance. It was also nice knowing there were two spotters nearby who help correct as needed. Since this event was once a month, I’m not sure it is always run by Kodawari Studio or has the same instructor each month. I’ll have to go more then one time to see if it is or not. ;P Have I mentioned that guests participating in the yoga get 10% of Élevage brunch menu items and 15% off spa treatments? I haven’t been to Élevage yet, but have heard it’s pretty tasty and requires a reservation.

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Post-yoga conversation to end our practice

After class it was super chill and everyone got champagne for a toast. After the toast, everyone hung out and chatted or in mine and Caitlyn’s case, headed to the Splash Sunday pool party!! WOO!! Did I mention the Tampa Bay Bloggers hosted Splash Sundays that week?!

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The two events don’t work together, but anyone who wanted to join in the pool party could join in for the afternoon. However, a reservation is needed and requires $15 entrance fee. Splash Sundays is offered July 3rd to September 4th from 12-5pm and includes pool time, lounge chairs, umbrellas, and DJs that provide music as you chill in the pool or get your tan on. Drinks are also available but are not included the in the reservation. Depending on if you’re getting a group together, a cabana is an option for larger parties.

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A super fun way to end your summer or way to enjoy the Epicurean, their pool, drinks, and music! I know not having a pool, this was a great option that I’ll keep in mind for next time!

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Enjoying this sweet pineapple float 😉

YOUR TURN:

-Do you participate in yoga?

-Do you prefer a fruity cocktail or a light and refreshing spritzer by the pool?

-What is your favorite way to spend a summer afternoon?