Sunday, July 15, 2012

Plan Ahead and Stay on your Fitness Track!

I am starting my new job tomorrow, I'm super excited because I am finally going into an industry I love - fitness!!!  I've been impatiently waiting to get accepted after my third interview 3 weeks ago, and I finally got an offer!

While all this excitement is running through me, I'm also becoming a little nervous with staying on track with my fitness and nutrition.  I won't have the time to carefully plan every meal my husband and I eat as well as devote several hours to running and the gym.  I'm sure that once I'm working I will learn to balance my studying, workouts, cooking, cleaning, and my social life.  

So for my first week of work, I planned and prepared my lunches and snacks that I will take with me.  Knowing I have healthy food with me will help me avoid temptation of unhealthy snacking or going out to lunch and spending extra $$$$  My job has a kitchen there, so I can refrigerate everything.  Otherwise, I would have brought a cooler with me.  

I bought a bunch of 
dried fruit
and Lunabars.  
 I also cooked some things in bulk.  I made --brown rice with veggies, eggs, and chicken, -guacamole and corn salad, 
-grilled chicken breasts, 
-steamed broccoli, 
-boiled cut up beets, 
-and cut up some watermelon!  
I put it all in large containers - so it will be easy for me to pack smaller containers during the week.

Prep once - and eat healthy all week!
1) Shop for healthy groceries
2) Prep meals or key ingredients and stash them all in the fridge
3) Pack your lunch the night before
4) Make your dinner with the ingredients you have in your fridge!

This was my shopping list for the week:

Cottage Cheese
Low fat swiss cheese

Mixed Greens
Baby Carrots
Bell Peppers

Black Beans
Brown Rice
Luna Bars
Whole wheat bread
Trail mix
Whole wheat pasta

Deli Turkey
Chicken Breasts
Frozen Shrimp

So here's what MY LUNCHBOX contains for tomorrow:

-Fage yogurt with honey
-Dried fruit and nut mix
-My brown rice, veggies, eggs, and chicken in a small tupperware container
- 1 Liter water container (that I can refill at work)


-Pint of blueberries
-Deli Turkey
-Whole wheat bread
-Low fat swiss cheese

Speaking of my husband, I forgot to mention I also have a bunch of tupperware containers in the freezer full of his favorite pasta gravy and meatballs - my own healthy version of course.  I make this twice a month in a huge pot divide it up and freeze it for quick last minute meals!  I make this with whole wheat pasta.

Well, wish me luck at my job tomorrow! 

Have a great Sunday night :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gladiator Gauntlet with Hubby!

Every Saturday my gym has an outdoor "class" called Gladiator Gauntlet.  It is "Tough Mudder" style training.  High intensity interval training (HIIT), mixed with weights, and resistance - done in a group environment.  FUN!!!

There is a warmup - consisting of jumping jacks, burpees, squat jumps, pushups, mountain climbers amongst other heart rate elevating exercises.  Each is about a minute long with a 20 second break in between - that's a great warmup!  The last part of the warmup is a 4 minute run - with a 10 pound dumbbell in hand.  You raise it and keep it elevated while running every 30 seconds, then bring it back down and continue running.

The class consists of 3 stations that you do consecutively and repeat 3 times - with 3 water breaks in between each set.  The first station was lunges with weights.  With each lunge, you raised the dumbbells over your head, as you came up - they remain at shoulder level (you can't bring your arms down).  The second station was with the elastic bands.  Your partner tries to hold you back while you are running forward, then you switch.  The last station was all about the abs!  Alternating knee to elbow crunches and raised leg shin touches.

Then you get a minute water break and repeat the whole thing over again - 2 more times. You end the class with some stretches and sighs of relief that it's over.

 I do this class after a 40 minute warmup on the treadmill.  I usually put it at a 15% incline and just walk at 3.5 mph.

I finally convinced my husband to try the class with me.  I thought it would be a great bonding experience for us.

This has nothing to do with the class, but I just wanna show how strong he is! :)

I promised him it wasn't hard.  Halfway through warmups he gives me the death stare.
I ask him, "Baby, are you going to kill me when we get home for bringing you here?"
He responds, "If I have any energy left, yes."

He is definitely not out of shape, like he claims.  His job is very physical - and I probably wouldn't be able to do anything of what he does.  But this class definitely tests your cardio fitness, endurance, and stamina.

He threw up during the dumbbell run warmup.  After that he said he felt better and took it a little easier on himself.  He used to be a lifeguard and a lacrosse player, so he was definitely familiar with the workouts and the idea of conserving your energy if you're tired.

After we finished our workout, I made him a super healthy breakfast - spinach omelette with a side of steamed broccoli.  He was still hungry after and had turkey on whole grain bread with hot sauce.

Only after breakfast did he tell me that he was feeling GREAT.  He asked me if that's how I felt every day after my workouts.  I replied - ABSOLUTELY!  That is one of the main reasons I do them.  You feel as if you can do anything you set your mind to after completing a workout like that!

Since this is an HIIT class, it boosts your metabolism for the entire day.  So as I suspected, he is hungry every 2-3 hours!  Which is awesome because this is how often I usually eat.  I'm making sure to feed him healthy, nutrient packed meals - not to undo all the work he did this morning.

He liked it so much - he told me he wants to do more of these workouts with me!

Mission accomplished :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Buffalo Chicken and Guacamole Lettuce Cups

This was a last minute lunch idea I came up with when me, my sister Michelle, and her friend Sabrina were scavenging the kitchen looking for food.  Michelle and I have been keeping up with our 3 days a week hot yoga schedule, Sabrina joined us in our little experiment too, and today was a yoga day.

We did our 90 minute hot yoga at 9:30 in the morning.  When we came back, we all jumped in our pool still wearing our clothes we were so hot!
Whenever I take that yoga class, my metabolism is raised for the entire day.  I keep my meals and snacks healthy - not to undo everything I worked for during those torturous 90 minutes!  Although it would have been a lot easier to pull out something calorious and satisfying from my parents fridge, I decided to quickly make something healthy instead.  Something Michelle calls heaven on lettuce!

The amount I made satisfied the three of us, with some leftovers (probably enough for a 4th person).



Buffalo Chicken:
2 cans of Chicken Breast (I used the Costco Kirkland brand)
Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce 

2 ripe avocados
2 tomatos
1 small onion
1/2 can corn kernels

1 Head of Lettuce - broken into sections to make cups for the chicken and guacamole

For the Buffalo Chicken:

Drain the canned chicken

Separate it with a fork and add in the buffalo sauce, mixing it well

I added about 3 tablespoons

For the guacamole:

Cut open the avocados and scoop it out with a spoon.
Add salt and pepper to taste and mush it with a wooden spoon.

Add the chopped onion and mush it in.

Add the corn and diced tomatoes, mix it well.

Taste it and add more salt/ pepper if needed.  You can also add a splash of lime juice to prevent the avocado from turning brown as quickly.

Lettuce Cups:

Wish we had more lettuce in the house :/

Assemble the lettuce cup by filling it with the chicken and guacamole.

And enjoy!
(Repeat until you're satisfied)

I'll put this on a whole wheat wrap when I make it for my husband.  In his own words, he likes his food "manly!"

What is the first thing you reach for when you're starving but trying to eat healthy at the same time?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Les Mills BODYPUMP - Try It!

My gym, 24 Hour Fitness, has a variety of Les Mills classes.  They range from weight training, to kickboxing, to cardio, to Pilates and yoga.  I only used to take a class at my gym when I needed extra motivation - by working in a class environment.  However, after trying the Bodypump class, I was hooked!  

I took 2 Les Mills classes this morning - partially because I had a ton of energy after my hot yoga class last night, and partially because I mixed up my gym schedule.  I got there at 9 instead of 10.  So I ended up doing 2 miles on a 15% incline - waiting for the first class.  Then I did Les Mills Body Combat (a mix of karate, boxing, tai chi, and taekwando), ate a snack (thank God I always have a healthy snack in my purse!), and finally my favorite - Bodypump!  So yes, I spent 2 and a half hours at the gym this morning.

Bodypump is a 1 hours, resistance training class using a barbell and barbell plates.  It focuses on high repetitions and low weight.  For my first class, the instructor told me to do a very light weight the entire time (I had 7.5 pounds on each side).  This was very easy for me, but I stayed with this weight so I can get acquainted with all the exercises and change up the weight next time.

The class is divided into 10 different songs (4 to 6 minutes each).  Each song focuses on a different muscle group in this order:  warmup, legs - squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs, and cool down stretches.  You get a short break between each track to adjust your barbell weight for the next muscle group.  

The instructor changes the pace of the reps according the the beat of the song (ie. - 3 counts down, 1 count up).  Pumping to the beat of the song distracts you from the number of reps you're doing and how hard they're getting towards the end of the song.  They also remind you to keep proper form - and that it's better to lift lighter weights but maintain the correct form until you build up strength for more weight.

This class really builds up your endurance and elevates your heart rate - meaning you get a cardio workout out of it as well.  It improves your strength and really shapes and tones your muscles.  

I started taking Bodypump at the end of April and have been taking it 2 - 3 times a week ever since then.  I wanted to build up some muscle, because all the long distance running I was doing was making me feel weaker.  After the first few weeks, I noticed my body changing and myself getting stronger.  This is what keeps me coming back.  I want to see how strong I can get, how much weight can I keep adding onto my barbell.  It's a great feeling!

Check out their website to see if you have a class in your area!

Have a strong day everyone! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Full Body Quickie Workout

This is a quick strength and cardio workout that can be done in under 30 minutes.  It warms you up with a cardio session and incorporates some strength and balance into your cardio.  Then you go into high intensity interval training (HIIT) mixed with body weight strength training to let you catch your breath.

This can be done on a treadmill or outside.  The only equipment you need is some light weights (2.5 to 10 pounds).  Go heavier if you want more of a challenge.  If you don't have weights you can use whatever you can find around the house - water bottles.. tomato cans...  anything with a little weight to it!

Get a piece of paper and pen - so you can write down your results.  Use these results as your measuring point for next time - so you can push harder and try to beat your old score!

The first part of the workout is running (or walking).  You're running as fast as you can for 10 minutes.  Keep increasing or decreasing your speed judging on how you're feeling.  I always increase the speed to my maximum during the last minute.  If doing this on the treadmill - it tracks the distance for you! If you're outside - you can either use GPS on your phone, or count how many times you ran around the block, track, or park.

When doing the strength portion of the workout, try not to take breaks in between - except to record your result.  Keep your heart rate up and keep pushing through it.  Maintain good form and posture the entire time.  If you get tired, slow down the exercises rather than stopping.

3 minute brisk walk  (if on treadmill - turn off after warmup and restart for the 10 minute timed run)

10 minutes - Run as fast as you can!

(stop treadmill, write down distance, pick up your weights)


30 seconds - jog with weights
1 minute - jog with both weights lifted overhead
30 seconds - jog with weights
1 minute - jog with both weights lifted overhead

(stop treadmill and come off of it)

1 minute - Lateral raises using your weights 
(record how many you did)
1 minute - Burpees
1 minute - Crunches
1 minute - Pushups
1 minute - Squat jumps
1 minute - Crunches
1 minute - Pushups

Superman exercise - hold for as long as you can

Plank position - hold for as long as you can


Stretch those awesome muscles!

And you're done!  Keep your sweaty paper with results for next time, and try to beat your own scores!

Let me know how you guys did!  I was SOAKED after this workout!

Have a great day :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Are You Overtraining?

It is good to push yourself beyond your limit during exercise to build and improve your athletic performance.  However, doing so without adequate rest and recovery can result in chronic fatigue - overtraining.

I see this happen to a lot of people who start going to the gym as soon as a new year begins - for their new years resolutions.  They push themselves very hard for a few days or even weeks, then you never see them come back.  They either go back to their old habits and take the gym out of the equation, or they overtrain initially and literally become too tired to actually go to the gym.


I experience overtraining with running.  I love it so much that I started doing it every single day last year.  Long, long runs - every single day (7 to 12 miles a day).  I would push myself to run longer than I did the previous day, thinking that I can do better since it's a new day.  When I felt that I couldn't run the distance, I would do a shorted run (5 miles) on hills.  My town is situated on a huge hill, so finding hills is not a problem - avoiding them is.

After about a month of this intense training, I noticed I was just getting worse and worse at running.  I was out of breath from just starting a light jog, my joints were starting to hurt, and I was just tired all throughout the day, too exhausted to do normal every day activities.  I had a hard time vacuuming my apartment!

Then in December I got really sick.  I was diagnosed with mono for the second time!  I was stuck in bed for a month and a half.  I really think this was a way for my body to tell me that I was overtraining it, and that I need to take it easy, build up slowly, and incorporate some recovery days into my training.

After I recovered from mono - I did just that.  Partially because I couldn't walk a mile without getting out of breath, but also because I didn't want to get sick like that again.  Today I'm back to where I was last year in running distance - but I built this up very slowly.  I am also cross training (HIIT workouts, TRX, weights, and other forms of cardio).  If I do wake up and feel exhausted, I have an active recovery workout day (a light walk, yoga, and stretching).


The amount of exercise before overtraining varies on each individual person and their fitness level.  What was considered overtraining for me (50+ miles a week) is easy training for an olympic runner.
Some signs that you might be overtraining are:

  • You feel exhausted instead of energized after your workout.
    • One of the best things of a workout is the post workout feeling of energy, health, and wellness.  If that feeling is replaced by an uncomfortable, exhausted feeling - your body is trying to tell you something.
  • You are repeatedly not able to complete your normal workouts.
    • You're getting weaker, slower, and losing your endurance.
  • You're training extremely hard every day.
    • It's good to incorporate a few days of extreme training - such as HIIT or heavy weightlifting.  Doing this every day does not allow your body to recover properly, and you end up wearing it out.
  • You're losing your leanness - even with more exercise!
    • Working out too much can deteriorate your muscle tissue.  Too much cortisol increases insulin resistance and fat deposits (especially around the stomach area).  So if you're noticing that you're definition is fading, even though you're working out harder and harder everyday - you may be overtraining.
  • You're getting sick more often.
    • Your immune system may be suffering as a result of overtraining.  
  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Increased injuries
  • Loss of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Irritability

To get results from your training routing, your body needs an adequate amount of rest.  If your training exceeds the rest period, your performance will decline.  Allow yourself to take a break from time to time.  Learn to listen to your body.  With adequate rest, your body will come back stronger than before.


  • Take a break from your training routine and allow time for your body to recover.  
    • Otherwise, you're doing more harm than good for your body.
  • Deep tissue and sports massages.  
    • You can also use a foam roller and roll out the affected muscles.
  • Temperature contrast therapy.
    • Hot & cold showers, ice baths, or my favorite - sauna and jumping in a cold pool.
    • This stimulates your immune system, improved circulation, and encourages blood flow.
  • Reduce the volume and intensity of your training.  
  • Make sure you are getting enough calories throughout the day - to compensate for your training.
    • Just make sure they are coming from nutrient rich foods, not junk.
  • Get enough sleep!
    • This is when your body repairs itself and recovers.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hot Yoga

First time hot yoga = torture
Will I do it again = absolutely!

The other day, my sister Michelle and I too a 90 minute hot yoga class - "Fire Shaper."  It is done in a 105 degree room with 40% humidity.  We started sweating as soon as we walked in there.  We wanted to try it out for the many benefits it has to offer.  I am interested in the claims of clear skin and expelling toxins from your system.  She is more interested in fat loss and building up core muscles.

The class consisted of 26 poses, each pose is repeated twice.  The poses themselves aren't hard - they can be adjusted to your fitness and flexibility level.  It's just the fact that they are done in a hot room, your heart is racing and your body is dripping with sweat.  There was a large variety of people in the room - all ages, shapes, and sizes.  I was amazed by the woman in front of me.  She must have been in her 50's, but she was so flexible and performed all the poses perfectly.

Michelle and I were in the back of the classroom, since we were new students.  Just laying down on my yoga mat, I felt my heart rate already elevated.  As we progressed through the poses, I felt my heart pounding as if I just finished a sprint!  At some points I even felt dizzy and about to pass out.  I kept breathing deep and really concentrating on the poses and my heart beat to keep me focused.

Michelle had to lay down after about 45 minutes because she felt extremely dizzy.  (The instructor advises you not to leave the room if you feel dizzy, but rather lay down on your back, and breathe in the savasana "dead man" pose.) This way you can get used to the heat and accomplish more poses next time.  After 20 minutes of Michelle laying there, the instructor came up to her and gave her a vitamin C solution in her water.  As soon as she drank it, she felt better and was able to finish all the poses in the class.

After 90 minutes of what we called "torture,"  we finally left the classroom.  We were soaked in sweat - like we jumped in the pool with our clothes on.  Our towels weighed 5 pounds heavier that they did when we first walked in there - because they were drenched in our sweat.  We stepped outside into the 90 degree weather - and it actually felt cooler that it was inside.  Both of us were starving and shaking a little bit.

As soon as we got home, we had some cottage cheese with fruit and honey.  We took showers and cooled off.  As soon as we took our showers, we both felt amazing.  I felt reborn and purified, and so did Michelle.  My stomach was super flat.  We were full of energy and both of us were glowing.  I felt absolutely amazing.

I was a lot hungrier than normal during dinner time - but I filled up on extra veggies.  That is the one thing you have to be careful with when you burn so many calories - what you consume after!  Hot yoga claims to burn over 600 calories per hour!  So this means that Michelle and I burned over 900 calories in that class!  Plus I took an hour long barbell weight class in the morning, and did the stair machine for a half hour as well.

The entire time in class, the instructor was not only telling and showing us what pose to do, but also explaining the benefits of every pose to your body.  Hearing those benefits made me push a little harder and concentrate deeper.

Some benefits of hot yoga:

  • expel toxins from your body
  • build core muscles
  • fat loss (don't confuse this with all the water loss after class!  Fat loss only comes after a few sessions!)
  • improved balance
  • increased energy
  • assisting in sleep
  • decrease stress
  • restore health to your organs, joints, muscles, and immune system
Some bad things we've experienced so far:
  • Extreme dizziness at times
  • The classroom reeks
  • People grunting
  • No talking in class (even if it was Michelle telling me she feels dizzy)
  • Some people take it waaaay to seriously
Michelle and I decided to do hot yoga for the rest of July - at least twice a week.  At the end of July, we want to see if we see any long term changes.  I want to see if I actually feel better and if my skin is clearer.  Michelle wants to see if she loses any weight or dress sizes (because you can't always rely on the scale for fat loss - your body can be losing fat but gaining muscle - which weighs more!)

I will continue my normal workout schedule.  Michelle is starting a workout routine that I am making for her - cardio and strength training.  And both of us are watching our diets!

I will let you know at the end of July how our little experiment goes!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Egg and Veggie fried Quinoa

I love Quinoa!  (pronounced Keen-Wa)  Alhtough it is referred to as a grain, it is actually a vegetable seed - coming from spinach, swiss chard, and beets!  It is very good for you and is filled with health benefits including:

  • High quality protein with 9 essential amino acids.  This is required by the body as building blocks for muscles.  
  • A "good carb" - a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index - so it won't spike your blood sugar
  • Alkaline forming.  Alkaline forming foods improve your energy levels, reduce pain and inflammation, slow down aging, and improve your immune function.
  • Rich in manganese and copper.  These act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease causing substances.
  • High in fiber - great for your digestion!
Quinoa is considered a complete natural food - because it contains amino acids, enzymes, fiver, antioxidants, vitamins and mineral, and phytonutrients.  

Now you see why I love it so much?

I put this meal together last minute - since my fridge was almost empty and I had no time for shopping!

You can double up the ingredients and store it in the fridge as a healthy snack over the next few days!

Egg and Veggie fried Quinoa
1 cup prewashed Quinoa
2 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 small onion - chopped
2 eggs - beaten
2 cups broccoli (you can add any veggies you like!)
1 Tbs Olive oil 

1).  Boil 2 cups of water with bouillon cube.  Add quinoa and let simmer for 15 minutes or until you see white spiral-like threads appear around each grain.

2).  Boil the broccoli for about 5 minutes - or until it is crisp tender.  Remove from water and chop it up.

3).  In a large frying pan, over medium heat - add olive oil.  Saute onions for 5 minutes.  Add chopped broccoli - sauté another minute of so.

4).  Add the cooked quinoa, salt, and pepper and mix it in with the veggies.  

5).  Push the mixture to the sides of the pan - creating a well in the middle.  Pour the beaten eggs in the middle of the pan.  Scramble the eggs into the quinoa mixture.  Keep mixing until the eggs cook through.

And you're done!  Enjoy it as it is or with hot sauce if you like it spicier!

Read your quinoa package and make sure it is pre washed.  If not - you need to prewash it before cooking it.
You can add whatever veggies you want to this (as many or as little as you like).  I was out of everything except for onions and broccoli!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Push Yourself Workout

Workout of the Day!

It's a beautiful day today - 65 and sunny!  I'm taking my workout to the track!  The only thing it requires is sneakers and your body.  If you don't have a track by you, you can do it in your backyard, a park, or even a treadmill.

I'm taking my new Nike's for a test run today, so I am very excited!

Today's workout is all about pushing yourself.  When you think you're ready to give up, just push yourself harder.  Your body will do what your mind sets out to do.  So if you tell yourself you can't, well, you're just setting yourself up for failure before you even begin!  If you set your mind into an "I can and I will" mode, you will!  Pace yourself and just KEEP PUSHING!

The first half of the workout is all about cardio, the second is my favorite - High Intensity Interval Training!

Well, here it goes!

     6 mile run

   100 yard run
   1 minute of pushups

   100 yard run
   1 minute of burpees  (without the pushup)

   100 yard run
   1 minute of crunches

   100 yard run
   1 minute of burpees  (without the pushup)

   Repeat this entire interval combination 2 times and try not to stop.  If you feel tired - slow down the pace of your run, try not to stop.

   slow walk and stretch

Don't forget to stay hydrated!!!

You can obviously customize this workout to your own fitness level.  For example - start with a 1 to 2 mile run/ walk.  Cut up the intervals into shorted times and a shorted running distance - for example 50 yards and 30 seconds of pushups, and so on.  

I just finished my workout and refueled my body with some oatmeal, blueberries, and greek yogurt.  Perfect balance of carbs and protein!

Now I feel ready for a great day! Happy and positive thoughts are running through me knowing I just completed a workout I set my mind up to do.  I feel like I can do that with anything I set out to do today!

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 25, 2012


I just got back from my sister's bachelorette party in the Hampton's, and I am exhausted!

We stayed there for two full days and two nights - I got a total of 9 hours of sleep.  The entire time I felt like my body wasn't functioning properly.  I would wake up in the morning with what felt like a hangover!  (And no, I didn't have anything to drink! - I was the designated driver!)  I came home yesterday, went for a long walk, and was in bed by 9pm.  I slept for 10 hours and still did not feel like my normal, energized self this morning!

The lack of sleep affected my workouts and daily eating.  I could not bring my body to function for a high intensity workout, I had to walk instead.  I also kept craving sweet foods, because my energy level was so low.  My whole body just felt bloated, I was very irritable, sensitive to loud noise and bright light.  Thankfully, these effects are only short term.  Long term effects - from chronic sleep deprivation include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even early mortality!

I have been on a very regular sleep schedule for a long time.  The more intense my training is, the more I pay attention to my bedtime and amount of sleep.  I normally get 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night - depending on how tired I am from the day's activities.

Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body!

Some health benefits of sleep include:

  • Healthier weight - because it reduces cravings you have when you are sleep deprived
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Improves your athletic performance
  • Improves memory
  • Curb inflammation - linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. 
  • Lower stress
Good sleeping habits:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. 
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.  If you need your morning coffee (like me) - drink it in the morning and try to avoid it at least 5 hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise and diet can help you get better sleep.  However, avoid exercise within a few hours of bedtime - your body needs to relax and unwind.
  • Don't go to bed on a full stomach.  It shouldn't be empty either - it will be harder to fall asleep.
  • Your bedroom should be dark and cool.
  • Avoid napping during the day.  If you are extremely tired - limit your naps to 30 minutes.
A good indicator of whether or not you got enough sleep - is if you wake up and feel re-energized.  

Hopefully I'll be back on track with my sleep schedule by tomorrow and feeling like my normal self!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


HIIT  - High Intensity Interval Training is a very effective fat burning workout.  It switches between bursts of high intensity activity and fixed periods of lower intensity activity (or rest).  It is a great way to squeeze in a workout in your busy schedule - since an HIIT workouts typically last 20 - 30 minutes.

Some more benefits of an HIIT workout:

  • Burn more fat and calories during and 24 hours after the workout!
  • Increase your metabolism.  HIIT stimulates production of the HGH (human growth hormone) up to 24 hours after your workout.  This is great since HGH is responsible for burning calories as well as slowing down aging!
  • Lose fat - not muscle!  Steady cardio sessions promote muscle loss - if done for long periods of time.  HIIT encourages muscle growth and weight loss from fat stores.
  • Heart health!  Pushing yourself into the anaerobic zone (when you feel like you can't breathe and your heart is about to jump out of your chest) produces excellent results.  After a few weeks you'll notice you can do your normal cardio activity longer than before.  Also, as your heart gets pumping, it flushes out the bad plaque building on your artery walls.
  • You don't need any equipment.  Everything can be done with just body weight.  Just get a good pair of sneakers!  I just got a new pair yesterday and I love them!
My workout of the day:


1 mile run (70% - 80% of your maximum speed and effort)


100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog  (this totals to 1 lap around the track)
  1 minute of burpees
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of pushups
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of plank and alternating hand reach
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of burpees
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of squat jumps
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of spiderman pushups
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of alternating lunge jumps
100 meter jog, 200 meter run, 100 meter jog
  1 minute of burpees


1 mile walk and stretch

I feel so energized and positive after this workout!  I had to keep pushing myself through those 200 meter runs - especially after all the legwork, but the jogs in between allowed me to catch my breath for the next intense session.  I gave it my all on the last 2 intervals - knowing that it will be over soon and I have a nice walk to catch my breath and listen to some great music!    

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Day From My Life

This is a day out of my normal daily routine - including exercise and nutrition.  It varies slightly from day to day - depending on what type of workout I did that day - as well as the day before.  I listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry, and while I'm eating I pay attention to when I start getting full - that is when I stop.  After I eat I feel energized and ready to move around.

7 a.m. -  Banana and coffee with 2% milk

8 a.m. - 6.5 mile run and a high intensity ab routine 

10 a.m. - Old fashioned oatmeal (made with water), 1 cup blueberries, a tablespoon of dried fruit and nuts, 1 cup of greek yogurt, and a splash of honey to top it off.

12 p.m. - 2 cups of raspberries and a handful of dried fruit and nuts

3 p.m. - Mixed greens salad with roasted chicken breast, chickpeas, onions, cucumbers, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

5 p.m. - 1 apple and a small cappuccino (with 2% milk)

7 p.m. - 1 Pint of Blueberries and 1 cup of cottage cheese

You can tell by my food consumption today that I had major cravings for sweeter things - this is why I had so much fruit!!!  I normally have a vegetable and a lean protein for dinner (sometimes a glass of red wine), but I was just craving more fruit.  I paired it with a lean protein (cottage cheese) and it was a well balanced mini meal!

If I feel like I'm still a little hungry after I eat - which happens a lot, I drink a glass of water or a cup of hot tea (sweetened with a little honey).  This gives my brain enough time to realize that I am, in fact, full.  

Water consumption:

1 liter as soon as I wake up.
1 liter during my workout.
1 liter from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1 liter from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
1 liter from 7 p.m. until bedtime (and if I wake up throughout the night for water)

This seems like a lot when I write it all out - but I am used to drinking a lot of water, especially during the summer months when it's hot out.  Also, today I ran and did my workout outside, it was hot out, so I lost a lot of water from sweat - so I felt thirstier than I do when I do a gym workout.

Like I said before, my eating varies greatly on the type of workout I did that day as well as the previous day.  I find myself much hungrier throughout the day when I do a workout using TRX and weights.  When I do a long run (10 or more miles) the hunger kicks in either later on in the day or the following day.  

Learn to be in tune with your body and pay attention to what it's telling you.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Start with walking!

Walking is the most natural form of exercise you can do.  All you need is a good pair of sneakers!  If you are just starting, trying to get back into a workout routine, or taking a day off from intense training - walking is a great form of exercise.  I go on long walks on days that I'm very sore or just want to take a break from running.

If you are just starting out with exercise - start slow.  Walk at a comfortable pace and listen to your body.  If you can only do a few minutes - let that be your starting point and build up from there.  After several weeks, build it up to 30 to 60 minute sessions 3 to 4 days a week.

If you're walking on a treadmill, increase the incline a little!  It burns more calories and is great for your butt!  If you're outside - try to find hills and walk up them slowly.

I use an application on my iPhone to measure how far and how fast I walk. It also give you a detailed chart of all the hills you did.  MapMyRun.  You can create an account online ( - and download it on your phone.  Record your activity when you go on your walk, and it will automatically show it in your account when you finish and save.  It gives you a calendar with your daily activity and number of calories burned.  It is a great tool to track your progress!

Some benefits of walking include:

  • Managing your weight
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving your fitness
  • Lowering bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol
  • Improving your mood!
I love walking by myself and listening to music.  It's my alone time - my thinking time.  It just gives me a change to look at things from a different perspective and gives me a positive attitude towards everything.

Remember to end your walk with a nice stretch to increase blood flow to all your muscles and prevent soreness and stiffness.  Also, stay hydrated - before, during, and after your walk, especially when it's hot out!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Clean Eating!

Eating "clean" is something I try to do every day.  It is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle.  Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to make smart choices on a daily basis.  I make mistakes every now and then, but I don't think that my clean eating for the day is "ruined" and I can eat crap for the rest of the day and restart tomorrow.   That's like taking a perfectly good phone you dropped on the floor and just smashing it until it breaks.

It can be overwhelming at first, especially if you have a lot of changes to make.  Taking baby steps, and making small changes every day will let you get used to this new lifestyle.  Pretty soon, eating clean will come naturally to you.

So what exactly is clean eating and where do you start?

1) Lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats, and fish.

2) No alcohol.  This is pure sugar.  If you must drink - limit it to 1 drink per day.

3) Nothing white, try whole grain instead!  White sugar, white bread, white rice, cookies, chips etc.  In short, these foods have a high glycemic value - which cause a rapid spike in blood sugar - which releases the hormone insulin.  Insulin prevents the body in breaking down fat.

4). Don't eat anything fried.

5). Drink lots of water!  Avoid sodas and juices - those are loaded with sugar.  The sugar free kind is not good for you either.

6).  Avoid sugar substitutes and anything containing them!  These are linked to weight gain.  They trick your body - thinking it is receiving sugar, so you get an insulin spike.  Since you are not actually putting any sugar into your body, this promotes hunger and increases calorie intake at your next meal.  Besides the weight gain, sugar substitutes are linked to cancer - and are not natural.  You want to avoid putting toxins in your body!

7).  Nuts and seeds are great for snacking.  I always carry some in my bag to munch on when I get hungry.  But don't forget the portion size!  As a general rule - don't eat more than a handful, nuts are a high-fat (the good kind) and high-calorie food.

8).  Try to eat 3 smaller meals and 3 snacks a day.  I try to eat every 2 - 3 hours.  This keeps your metabolism fired up and burning fat!  It also keeps you energized and prevents hunger and overeating.

9).  Chew your food thouroughly!  This is actually hard for me when I'm very hungry (like after a long run).  The first part of digestion occurs in your mouth with your saliva.  Try to get food in an almost liquid state before swallowing.  This makes it easier on your body to absorb nutrients as well as digest!

10).  Read nutrition labels.  Read the ingredients.  If it doesn't look natural to you, don't eat it!

I found clean eating easier to do by cleaning out my kitchen first.  Getting rid of all the "junk" food and just starting clean.  Ok, you can find Oreos in my cabinet and a pint of Ben & Jerry's in my freezer from time to time, but the rest of the food is natural and clean!  Read the ingredients on the labels, if it's those that you recognize and can buy individually (like tomatoes and basil), those foods are OK to keep.

Try to picture a caveman.  They reached for fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins from nuts and seeds or the catch of the night.  They didn't have prepackaged foods with unknown ingredients.  You can apply this concept to eating clean, with a few adjustments of course.

As you get used to eating clean, keep in mind the ultimate goals to help you keep going.

  • Weight loss!
  • Increased energy levels (natural energy, not the sugar rush kind)
  • Detoxing your body
  • Prevention of cancer and diseases
  • Sharpening your mind and senses
  • Clear and glowing skin and eyes
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased libido ;)
  • Fewer cravings
Keep this in mind.  A fabulous body mostly comes from nutrition!  You can work your butt off on the elliptical every day, but if you don't follow it up with proper, clean nutrition - it will hardly make a difference.

Make a commitment to yourself and you will see positive results.  Your body doesn't lie.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


My name is Stacey, and I love running.

I love TRX, weights, cycling, Cross Fit workouts, dancing, and anything involving physical activity!

I am currently studying to become a personal trainer, so I can share my crazy passion with anyone who wants to get fit!

I need to stay fueled, hydrated, and energized for all this physical activity... and that is not a problem since I love food!

I always try to eat healthy, but I married an Italian food lover.

And wine connoisseur!

And beer aficionado!

Finding the right balance between healthy and tasty can be challenging, but I'm learning every day!

Everything is good in moderation.  I just try to keep my foods natural and "clean."  But an occasional ice cream sundae or Oreo cookie can't hurt!  A glass of wine or a beer won't hurt either, but it has to be just that: A glass or A beer.  You can't be a party animal and expect to train like an athlete in the morning!  (At least I can't!)

A fit and healthy life is something that you adapt to little by little.  It is not a diet mentality, but rather a healthy lifestyle.  Working out becomes something you look forward to, rather than a chore.

"Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going."

A healthy mentality encourages you to make healthy choices on a daily basis, that ultimately become a part of your lifestyle and who you are.

You also need patience.  Lots of it.  Patience to make good habits, and patience to see results.