Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Personal Trainer Certification and an AWESOME Circuit Workout

Wednesdays are typically really hard for me to get through with a smile on my face the entire time. The week is half way over but the weekend seems SO far away.
This wasn't the case today!
One of the things that I love most about blogs is that they give me so many ideas for healthy living and fitness that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. One of my favorite things to try is a new workout. As I was reading She Rocks Fitness today I got some great inspiration. (This is a great site and the woman who writes is it amazingly strong and beautiful)
I warmed up on the bike for 10 minutes then jumped right into this circuit workout.

I wasn't sure that I'd be able to complete all of those burpees and mountain climbers with my stress fracture but I felt no pain or discomfort at all.
This workout is intense! I was a sweaty mess by the end, which is an awesome thing!
The only change that I made was 15 push ups instead of 20 because my upper body strength just isn't there yet and overhead tricep extensions with a 10 lb weight instead of tricep dips because there was no bench in that area of the gym. I really love that I was able to complete the entire workout (in 34 minutes) but that there is potential to make the moves more intense as you build up your fitness and strength. I'll definitely be bookmarking this one!
My workout left me in such a great mood that I decided to do something that I've been wanting to do for a LONG time. I decided to pursue my Personal Trainer Certification!! I am so anxious to get my materials and begin studying.

I decided to go with NASM. After reading great things about them on Peanut Butter Fingers and doing some extra research I decided that they were the best choice.
Even if I don't use this certification for employment purposes, I'm excited to become more knowledgeable about a topic I'm extremely passionate and benefit myself.
Wish me luck!!
PS - I have my follow up with the podiatrist on my foot tomorrow! As excited as I am to see what he says it definitely isn't feeling 100%. Sometimes I have a weird feeling/discomfort, similar to the feeling I had when I came back from my full fracture this summer.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Favorite Workout DVDs

This weekend was one of those weekends that you never want to end. It was too perfect. I had no set plans (especially since I'm not doing any long runs at the moment) so everything was relaxed and chill.
Friday night my boyfriend's son, being the sweets fiend that he is, asked if I could make bake him some cupcakes. I happily obliged and dedicated my Saturday afternoon to some time in the kitchen. 
These cupcakes are by far my most requested. They are a dark chocolate cupcake with a semi-sweet ganache filling and a white chocolate buttercream frosting. These can pretty much do these with any frosting. My personal favorite is cream cheese (because cream cheese icing is by FAR the best thing EVER) and my boyfriend leans toward the peanut butter. Mocha is pretty damn good too.
That bread next to them is Honey Beer Bread. I can thank my friend Courtney for that delicious addition. She brought me some to work on Friday and I knew that I had to make a loaf. This bread is SO good and seriously one of the most easy recipes ever. I made mine with Blue Moon.
When those were done it was time to make the main course.

Barbecued pork chops, baked potatoes and salad. Damn that was a good a meal. I cannot wait until warmer weather rolls around so this can be the norm. Luckily, I have a boyfriend who loves food as much as I do and is willing to light the grill during pretty much any weather.
Since I'm obviously still harboring a runner's appetite, you'd better believe I've been getting some workouts in to offset it:-)
I have been doing a variety of different DVDs and at home workouts. This week I've done:
1. Ab Ripper X
2. Brazilian Booty Lift - Sculpt
3. P90X Legs and Back
4. My ankle weight routine
5. The Fitsugar Full Body Workout
6. Insanity Cardio Recovery
7. 30-60 minute bike workouts
Along with maxing out on wall sits and push-ups. I'm up to a 3:00 wall sit and 23 push ups. I'm going to try and get those up to a 4:00 wall sit and 30 straight push ups by the end of the month!
Yesterday I also tried this Jillian Michael's Workout for the first time.

She is seriously amazing. I have loved every single DVD of hers that I've done. They range from 20-35 minutes and leave me sweaty and exhausted. I'm hoping to be able to try her Body Revolution soon but that one cost some serious dollars.
One more quick thing, I'm making homemade granola right now. You should try it. It's SO easy and my house smells amazing right now.

I loosely follow this recipe. I didn't have any honey this time so I used molasses and cut the brown sugar in half. I use 1/2 a cup of almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews and unsweetened coconut.
Do you have a "most requested" item that you cook or bake?
What's your favorite thing to BBQ?
What's your favorite workout DVD? Have you tried Jillian Michael's Body Revolution?
I'm always looking for more to add to rotation!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Back to the Boot

I have some good news and I have some bad news. Let's start with the bad news because I would rather end on a happy note.

The bad news is I won't be running anytime soon. I especially won't be running a marathon. I had my podiatrist appointment yesterday. The diagnosis, stress fracture.

If you aren't aware, last year during the Marine Corp Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA I snapped my 2nd metetarsal in half. Not only did I do that but I continued to run on it for 10 miles. Bones grinding and displaced. Needless to say, a bone with that amount of trauma isn't going to heal straight. The word used most commonly used by my doctors has been "deformed".
You can read about that story here.

Me and my deformed metetarsal were doing fine though. We were golden, ready to go! What I wasn't aware of is that this deformity was causing extra pressure to be added it places of my feet that weren't used to it. (ie. my 4th metetarsal). Long story short, when you run long distances your feet muscles become fatigued and stop adequately absorbing shock, causing stress fractures.

Add a deformed metarsal and fatigued muscles due to long runs and you've got a recipe for a brand new stress fracture. 2 weeks in a walking cast and around the clock Motrin 800 (which I've yet to actually get)


Despite that bad news, yesterday was a really good day. I was really excited for my little girl to come home and tell me about her day at school. I remember that when I was in elementary school Valentines Day was one of my favorite days of the years! The activities, the candy, the cards....such a blast.
In the afternoon we went to have dinner at my mom's.
She made chicken, rice, lentils and green beans.
I love me some lentils (along with my mother's cooking!), especially smothered in Cholula which was poured all over the plate right after this picture was snapped:-)
After dinner we got down to business. The Valentine's Day cookie decorating.
My nephew.

My ridiculously, crazy neice.

and of course my little girl....tasting some of her creations!
I put a lot of frosing on my cookie! <----My daughter just wrote that. She wanted to blog:-)

All in all a great night:-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Benefits of Strength Training and Breakfast in the Crockpot

Tomorrow is the day.

I have my podiatrist appointment in the afternoon. I'm extremely anxious to find out what is going on with this pesky foot of mine.

To be honest though, not running hasn't been as bad as I thought it was going to be. Yes, I am bummed about the marathon training. I was doing SO well and just know that I was going to PR.

However, this new found freedom has allowed me to rekindle my love for strength training. Strength training has some seriously AMAZING benefits:

1. You will become physically stronger.
2. You will lose body fat. (Building muscle raises your RMR! Score!!)
3. You will gain strength without bulk.
4. You will decrease your risk of osteroperosis.
5. You will improve your athletic performance.
6. You will decrease your risk of injury, back pain, and arthritis.
7. You will reduce your risk of heart disease.
8. You will reduce your risk of diabetes.
9. It's never too late to benefit.
10. You can improve your attitude and fight depression.

Not only that, but it's MUCH more convenient than running. I can't run in the mornings because I get up at 4:30 (so I don't have much time) and I'm a single mother (so I can't just leave my child at home in bed...). For the past couple weeks though, I have been taking 20-30 minutes after breakfast and doing some sort of strength training. Mostly my beloved ankle weight routine but also wall squats, push-ups, core work, etc. It gives me a nice shot of endorphins to start the day off right.

Plus, even if you only have 20 minutes, you can get some serious results! Especially if you break your workout up into 2-3 different times of the day.

My body has been more sore in the past week than it was running 55 miles a week. I LOVE a good sore.

Another thing that I want to share if a great breakfast I cooked up last night. Yes, last night. Breakfast in the crockpot?? Effing perfect. Especially for somebody trying to squeeze a workout into their morning routine.

I had a bunch of coconut milk left over from making this amazing dessert, so I was looking for a recipe to use it in.....when I found one for Overnight, Slow Cooker, Banana Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oats.

I've had some steel cut oats in my pantry that have needed to be used, so I decided to try it out.

I was a little nervous because because I sleep 8-9 hours and the recipe only called for it to cook for a maximum time of 7 hours but it came out perfect!!

I didn't get the caramelized coating that they did on the website, but I think that's because I left out the butter. (Who cooks oatmeal with butter in it anyways!!).

I topped mine with some toasted coconut, some Almond Milk and a dollopof Sun Butter. I can't wait to have it ready for the rest of the week as well:-)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Serious Leg Workouts and Desserts

This weekend was just as fun as I thought it was going to be.

Friday night and Saturday morning we're both spent visiting friends and baking goodies:-)

Saturday morning I really wanted to go and hit up the gym to get back on the bike but little girl was taking advantage of sleeping in and I'd feel like quite the terrible mom waking her up early on a Saturday (if you wake her up before 9 AM she may bite you....haha). So I improvised and decided to do the P90X Legs and Back DVD.....sort of. My DVD won't work anymore, so I looked up the different moves online and did them that way.

Holy crap. My legs were DONE that night and the next day. It made a HUGE difference that I wasn't trying to keep up with the instructor or the clock. I was able to take my time, focus on form, and get in every rep of every move.

One legged squats, I couldn't hate/love you more. I will definitely be doing this again. I'm thinking doing the Ab Ripper this way will also increase the benefits.

Saturday night we all headed out to dinner at a friends. I was on dessert duty.

(Yes, I am totally shameless and took a bite and a picture without taking time to make sure their wasn't any chocolate on my fingers)
Taking inspriration from the Hungry Runner Girl, I made Brookies! I made Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookies on the bottom and Bakers Brownie Recipe on the top.
It may seem incredibly crazy and fatty to bake brownies on top of chocolate chip cookies but it was so worth it and didn't dissapoint:-)
**I think next time I am going to do more cookie, less brownie. My boyfriend also suggested doing them with PB cookies instead of chocolate chip. I think he's on to something genius**

I see lots more of these in my future! It was SO incredily good. Every body was going nuts for it. The only thing that needed adjusting was my chocolate mousse layer. I needed to cook it just a few minutes longer because, as you can see, it was a bit runny.
I also think I'd half the mousse recipe because it really takes over and you can barely taste that amazing coconut cream layer and toasted coconut on top.
Sunday's interval bike workout was money!
Warm - Up:
10 minutes elliptical
2:00 plank
2:00 wall sit
Circuit: Repeat 3x
6 sphinx push ups
9 wide push ups
25 sit ups
25 calf raises
25 squats
12 minutes on bike (sprint 60 seconds, recover 60 seconds)

I walked out of that gym with seriously burnt legs. During this running down-time I'm really trying to focus on body weight training. Time to get lean and ripped!
I finished off the weekend with an amazing dinner as well.
Falafels, brown rice with kidney beans, grean beans and Cholula, avocado and Sabre Supremely Spicy hummus.
Loading up on those healthy fats and fiber:-)

I was even impressed that my little girl ate every.last.bite. I'm so lucky she likes a variety of foods.

Are you children morning people??

Have you do P90X? What is your favorite video?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bad News Bears

It's Friday!! Phew. This week really seemed to drag on. Although I have a jam-packed weekend, I'm really excited because it includes a lot of good friends, good family, good food and fun times.

Remember that MRI that I mentioned (Thank you to all the nice comments, by the way!), well it didn't happen. When I called to give them my insurance information I was told that it was going to cost me $700. Are you serious?! There is just no way that I can afford that right now.

**I'm still working on paying off medical bills for the treatments I got for the Alopecia Areata (none of those were covered my insurance because, even though it's a disease, insurance companies only view the treatments as "cosmetic" procedures. I wish one of those big wigs would have all their hair fall out and tell me how insensitive they are....Anyways, I apologize for the rant and I digress....

Obviously, I was irritated by this news. So what do I go when I get really pissed off or stressed out and I can't grab a glass of wine since I'm at work?? I take my lunch break and go for a run! My foot was, after all, feeling a bit better and it had been 4 days.....

I hopped on the treadmill and told myself to take it easy, starting at a 8:40 pace and taking it from there. The first mile my foot felt a bit achy but nothing serious so I just kept cranking it up. I was stupid. I was frustrated and mad, with my body, with my doctor, with my training plan. I was determined to do this run and do it well. So I pushed, knowing I shouldn't.

After 5.5 uncomfortable miles I finally called it quits.

Today when I woke up, I could barely walk. The pain is there. I concluded that I am a stubborn idiot and I won't be running anytime soon. I have an appointment at the podiatrist on Thursday and I'll wait and see what he has to say.

Refusing to wallow in my self-pity I still went to the gym today. I made a promise to myself that I would stop anything if I felt pain, and I stuck to it.

I ended up actually having an awesome workout knocking out some intervals:

12 minutes on the bike (60 sec sprint, 60 sec recovery)
15 push ups
1:00 plank (move to elbows after 20 sec then back up after 20 sec)
1:00 wall sit
25 calf raises

Repeat entire sequence 3x.

**Another rant. I don't understand this stupid foot at all. It hurts to walk but not to bike, not to do calf raises, planks, etc. How does that make sense??**

Even though I'm pretty bummed about the fact I might not be running my marathon maybe this time off will give me some time to focus on other areas of fitness that I've been slacking it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Food Obsessions

 Monday morning when I woke up my foot was still in quite a bit of pain. Fail. I called my orthopedic specialist and made an appointment for that afternoon. To put things bluntly, the good doctor had no idea why my foot is in so much pain. The x-rays looks good and there isn't any intensely centralized pain, bruising, etc.
I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow night that can hopefully provide some more insight.
Despite having to put my marathon training on hold, I've still been getting some good workouts in.
Sunday: P90X Ab Ripper and 60 minutes of yoga
Monday: Not a thing:-)
Tuesday: 20 minutes of ankle weights,48 pull-ups, plank, wall sit and a 45 minute yoga workout
Tomorrow I plan to take a Pilates class and run a few miles....As crazy as that sounds I think I want to slightly irritate my foot before my MRI so everything shows up nice and clear.
Since I can't talk too much about running, I'll move right along to one of my other favorite things, food.
In case you didn't know, I have a very obsessive personality. When I really love something, I eat it every day (sometimes more than once) for weeks and weeks. My current obsessions are:
 1. Oatmeal
2. Eggs
3.  Apples with nut butter (I seriously think I've eaten about 6 apples with sunflower or almond butter since Saturday)
4. Quinoa
5. Avocado
6. Wheat Thins
My dinners this week:
Quinoa, roasted broccoli, fresh red and yellow peppers, kielbasa, garlic hummus and my Cholula.

Kaitlyn asked me if we could make chocolate covered strawberries for dinner. Strawberries are another thing that we (mostly Kaitlyn) eat a TON of. I think I've spent $20 on strawberries in the past week.
I know they look like crap but that is Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and it's amazing.

Quinoa, scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes, avocado and my Cholula.

This was tonight's dinner. Super good and easy again. Scrambled eggs with sauteed onions and red pepper, avocado and my Cholula.....along with a couple handfuls of Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins! How excited was I to find these! Love anything SPICY and seriously love Wheat Thins. I give them 3 days.
I plan to have the same exact thing for breakfast. Well, take out the Wheat Thins and put a whole wheat english muffin there, or apple w/nut butter (haha)...not that I'm above Wheat Thins for breakfast, because I'm not, I just wouldn't document it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Froyo and Foot Pain.

Yesterday was really an awesome Saturday.

After breakfast I headed out for my run, before I could get distracted with anything. I ran 8 untimed miles on the Indian Head Rail Trail. The trail is really great since there are NO sidewalks in Southern MD but it's terribly boring.
I can see the end about 2 miles away from it.
My run was mediocre. I was feeling a little discomfort in my left foot (again) so I ran the last 3 miles on the grass next to the path.
After I got home and showered up my boyfriend, daughter and I all went to run some errands.
This being the most important one.

I have heard so much about Sweet Frog but I'd never been. It was seriously good frozen yogurt. I got the Cake Batter, Red Velvet (meh..) and Pecan Praline with Heath Bar, white chocolate chips and coconut.

My daughter got EVERYTHING. Reminder to self, do not let a 6 year old get her yogurt when it's a self-serving situation. Especially when paying by the pound. Over half of that went to waste....
After our sweet treat we went to a few other stores and just took our time and had fun shopping and spending time with each other.

Kaitlyn thought this hat was perfect for me.....haha. I don't know why I'm slightly cross-eyed here.
I did grab myself one of these ball to use on my nagging left foot. While we walking around shopping it was really bothering me.
**I also grabbed some KT Tape. Has anybody ever used this?? I'm really interested to see what it does**
Unfortunately, the ball didn't fix the problem. In fact, into the night my foot got more and more painful despite icing, rolling and stretching it. I woke up this morning and it's really painful to walk (read limping around the house) and my foot is even a bit swollen....
I guess it's time to go back to the Orthopedic....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Am I a Control Freak??

I have great news! I've been doing awesome with my mini-goals. Even though it's only been a couple days! haha. Here is what my week as looked like:

Wednesday: Zumba + 20 minute arm workout + 40 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 20 minute leg workout + 5 mile run
Friday: 15 minute ab workout + 5 mile run

And I've even been taking my vitamin. I do need to step up the veggies, just a bit.

In an effort to do this, not just for me but for my daughter too, I snuck a bunch of baby spinach into our post-workout smoothie yesterday. She didn't even notice:-)

I like to top mine with a bit of cereal. This Bear Naked cereal is amazing. Clusters rock.
I took a picture of the contraption I was confused about in my last post. I think it's a back extension.
Man oh man do I feel the burn in my lower back.

Something that I have been randomly thinking about this morning....I think most runners have to have a Type A personality. Don't you?

This thought was brought about because I had to push my run back today. It's not that this pisses me off, because it doesn't. As most of you know I run during my workday. I'm fortunate enough to have
supportive coworkers and bosses who allow be this luxury. But it is that, a luxury.

But it still drives me a little crazy. I plan out my day perfectly. I wake up at 4:30, eat breakfast around 5:00, get my last cup of coffee and a snack at 9:00, which makes it ideal for me to run between 10:30-11:00. It's late enough where my snack has digested but early enough to where I'm not starving.

When this gets disrupted I don't know what the hell to do? It's noon and I'm starving but I don't want to eat my lunch because it'll be too much in my stomach to run. I don't want to snack because then I'll
ruin my lunch (Plus, I'm part Jewish and I hate paying for snacks when I brought a perfectly good lunch to eat).

Serious problems. I know. I sound like a bitchy brat.

Just think about it though. Most runners plan each and every thingthey eat around their daily run, they look up the weather day after day to plan where and when to run, they track miles, the meticulously
fill planners with races and training schedules they follow plans to the T .....and they tend to get crazy when they don't workout.

I don't think I was ever like this before there was running. Perhaps running has actually turned me into a control freak.

On a random note. My new air freshener is the best thing ever!! Who doesn't want to smell cupcakes every time they get in their car?

Yankee Candle Vanilla Icing.