I Don’t Want to Workout

 

My alarm went off at 5:40am yesterday.  I did NOT want to get out of bed.  I did NOT want to go to the gym.

It’s been a long week.  I’m sleepy.  And my legs are just tired.

But…I got up anyway.

 

 

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My 6:00am date

See, I have a standing morning spinning class that I attend.  I meet one of my girlfriends there (hi, Brandie!) and we normally slay some calories on the bike.  On a typical day, I burn around 500 calories for my spinning class. Today, I burned 320. Did I kill my workout? Nope. Did I burn more calories than I would have staying in bed?  Yep.

 

 

“Did I kill my workout today?  Nope.

Did I burn more calories than I would have staying in bed?  Yep.”

 

Guys, you can’t always be “on.”  You can’t crush every single workout.  There are times, like yesterday for me, where the best you’re going to be able to do – is to just show up.

 

Shaun T, the trainer from Insanity DVDs, has a saying during his workouts, “Dig Deeper.” I like it.  It’s just a short motivational sentence to remind you to push harder, give your workout your all.   It’s usually one that I try to think about during my workouts.  But today, there was no “Digging Deeper” for me…..it was more like, “Just Dig.” 🙂

 

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I may not have burned as many calories as I normally do yesterday morning, but guess what?  I still burned 320 calories….while my hubby (and lots of other people) were still snoozing. When you think about it that way, that’s not a bad morning at all.

 

Moral of the Story:

Moral of today’s blog is pretty simple: workout anyway. IMG_1191 There will always be a million excuses to keep you from going to the gym (groceries to buy, dishes to wash, long day at work, tired legs, can’t find matching socks….) But – go anyway.  You cannot reach your goals if you are not actively working toward them.  You may not kill your workout (as a matter of fact, there will be a lot of days you don’t kill your workout) but that’s ok.  Just the act of showing up and putting in the time will keep you in the habit and push you little by little closer to reaching your fitness goals.

 

Dig Deeper (or Sometimes, Just Dig)

 

Happy Friday!

 

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The Truth About Smoothies

 

I had a request for a blog post on smoothies. So, dust off your blenders ’cause today I’m mixing it up (pun intended) with some truth on smoothies.

 

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A lot of people can successfully incorporate smoothies into a low calorie, healthy diet. But, I am not one of them. Let me explain:

 

 

I love smoothies. They’re delicious.  But to me, they’re like lemonade or margaritas – delicious, but just a high calorie drink. And if I’m going to drink a smoothie, I prefer it to be for a special splurge….and for it to have tequila in it. #imtalkingaboutmargaritas

 

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See, like I’ve mentioned in the past, I like food. No, correction – I LOVE food. So, to me, when I drink a smoothie, it’s like a drink that I want to accompany my dinner. I prefer to actually eat my snacks and meals instead of drink them. It’s personal preference, but I would rather eat an apple than drink it.  It’s the same reason I don’t drink fruit juice (a blog topic for another time….)

 

Now, that being said, I do feel it’s only fair to address how the pro-smoothie folks successfully incorporate them into their diet and the tips you can use if you want to try it, too.

 

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Smoothie or Food: When it comes time for a snack, you can choose a smoothie or a snack. Don’t do both. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking of smoothies as a drink to have with your snack. Your smoothie should be a substitute for what you would normally eat, not a supplement to what you eat.

 

Low Calorie: I can’t even begin to count the number of people who I have heard say, “it’s a smoothie, it’s healthy.”  Listen, those two things do not always go hand in hand.  Do your research.  Just because it has strawberries in it doesn’t mean it’s healthy or low calorie. Some smoothies can run up to 800 calories for one serving. Ouch! That’s more calories than a Big Mac.  If you decide to use a smoothie for a snack, make it equivalent to the calories you would have in a snack. My snacks run around 100-200 calories. A smoothie should be the equivalent.  Read labels and nutrition facts to make sure you know the calories you’re drinking.  Also, be sure to watch serving sizes. Places like Smoothie King list the calories for a small size (20oz) but they sell much larger sizes and the calories can add up quickly.

 

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Think about this: some smoothies will have a full orange, one whole banana, some strawberries and a tub of yogurt. Wow, that’s a lot of food.  Think about it this way – if I sat down at a table and had those same ingredients on my plate, I would be shocked at the amount of food you would expect me to eat.  However, people drink that all in just one smoothie.

 

I have a friend that is the Smoothie Queen (hi, Cassie!)  Her smoothies are pretty legendary. So, I hit her up for a few of her healthy, lower calorie smoothie recipes. (Check out the recipes at the bottom of the page.) She blends up smoothies as her breakfast in the mornings.  

 

I decided to try out one of the smoothies for you guys.  I tried the Green Smoothie recipe below.  It’s spinach, banana, pineapple and oranges.  It was yummy.  Definitely pineappley (which, after an unfortunate night with Pineapple Rum in college, is not my go-to flavor.)

 

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It was a total of 115 calories for my serving, which is about my normal calories for an afternoon snack. But even though it’s good, I still would’ve rather eaten a snack of an apple and peanut butter.  (I told you, I’m biased to chewing my food.) 🙂  But, if you’re a smoothie person, this one is pretty yummy.

 

Now before you pro-smoothie folks start hitting up my email – I know you all drink them successfully.  That’s awesome!  But for me and my body (and really, it’s all about finding out what works for YOUR own body specifically) they just don’t fit into my lifestyle and daily diet.  But cheers to those that can. 🙂

 

If you’re going to try adding smoothies into your healthy diet and still continue your weight loss goals, make sure you use the tips above. Watch the calories and serving sizes and be sure you’re counting those calories in your daily log. Because, if not, those “healthy” smoothies may end up adding extra unwanted pounds instead of helping you reach your fitness goals. 

 

Blend on.

 


Green Smoothie

Makes two servings – 115 calories each serving

3/4 cup water

1 banana

1 cutie (or half an orange)

1 cup frozen pineapple

1 cup packed fresh spinach

Add in order listed (so the spinach isn’t at the bottom by the blades) and blend until smooth.


Sunrise Smoothie

Makes two servings – 200 calories each serving

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1 frozen banana

1 orange peeled and segmented

4-6 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Blend until smooth

 

Hitting PRs

 

I hit a new PR the other day. It was a 5lbs increase in my bench press (170lbs WooHoo!) Even though it was only five pounds – I was pumped. I seriously giggled and could not stop smiling. As I looked around the gym at my training partners, I realized they were happy for me and genuinely shared in my excitement.

 

This is about what my PR dance looks like.

 

 

This caused me to do a bit of reflecting over how I respond to people when they hit PRs.  And when I did, it made me realize a few things that I was doing or perhaps NOT doing — (funny how self-reflection does that.)

 

 

Here’s a few things I find myself thinking when it comes to PRs:

 

 

The “It’s So Small PR”: Let’s get this out of the way: a PR is a PR is a PR.  It doesn’t matter if you add five pounds or 50 pounds, it’s an increase in the amount of weight that you can do.  Think about it: you couldn’t do that amount of weight before.….and now you can. You’re getting stronger.  And that, my friends, is awesome. But sometimes, I’m guilty of hearing someone say they hit a five pound PR and I don’t give it the props it deserves because I chalk it up to “only five pounds.”  The phrase “only five pounds” should just be replaced with “wow, five pounds!”  So, next time someone tells you that they hit a five pound PR, remember how excited you are when you hit a five pound PR and congratulate them how you’d love to be congratulated.

 

Acceptable PR Celebration: The Enthusiastic High Five.

 

 

 

The “It’s A Light Weight PR”:  Ok, perhaps you deadlift 200lbs more than someone else.  Often it’s hard to share in someone’s joy of a PR if you’ve well surpassed that weight. But remember, just because that weight is easy for you doesn’t mean it is easy for them.  They’re working super hard at the weight they are working with.  A “max rep” is just that – the absolute most they can lift.  They’re working just as hard to lift their 100lbs max as you are to lift your 300lbs max.  Remember how you feel when you hit a PR and share in their joy.  

 

Another Acceptable PR Celebration: Group Style

 

 

The “It’s Too Big PR”:  I’m so guilty of this.  My trainer will say, “I deadlifted 790lbs.”  To me, that might as well be a million pounds.  Because that weight is so high, I can’t even wrap my arms around that PR.  Or, I fall into the trap of “yeah, but it’s so easy for him…”  No.  Again – they’re working just as hard to lift their 999lbs as you are to lift your 300lbs. So, when you hear an ungodly high PR lift, don’t just give it the obligatory, “good job.” Take a second to appreciate the PR and the work it took to get there.

 

Another Acceptable Celebration: The Champagne Shower

 

Now, granted, a PR is just that, a PERSONAL record. Not a group record. It’s not anyone else’s job to be excited for you. It’s something YOU worked for and YOU achieved and ultimately something YOU should be proud of.  (But, isn’t it a lot more fun when people share in your excitement?)

 

 

I’m not telling you to fake it here. But take a minute and remember how you feel when you hit a new PR. Remember how you want to post it on Facebook and update it on your “PR Wall” in the gym.  Then, share in their excitement of their PR.  Tell them congrats.  Offer to take a picture of them updating their PR on the wall.  Then, hopefully, when it’s your turn to brag about your PR, you’ll get the high-fives, fist bumps and squeals of excitement that you love. And yes, chest bumps are totally the appropriate response for my PRs…

 

 

Chest Bump On!

Am I An Athlete?

 

I was talking to a lifting friend the other day about my recent trip to the chiropractor.  I was saying how nice it is to see a doctor that works with athletes and understands how an athlete’s body performs, what is demanded of it, etc.  And, she said something that really struck a chord with me.  She said, “Yeah, but I’m not an athlete.”

 

Ummm, what??

 

This girl is logging some hours lifting in the gym, racking up miles on the treadmill and is working at her health and fitness level.  She may not compete at competitions, but I’d definitely call this girl an athlete.  But interestingly enough, she doesn’t.  So, this got me thinking about the term “athlete.”

 

Webster’s Dictionary defines “athlete” as: a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.

 

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Well, you know what – I think the definition is even broader than you may originally think. See, if you are consistently working out, whether that be at Jazzercise, swimming or power lifting, you are demanding things from your body that other people are not.  You are performing exercises and challenging your muscles.  You are changing your calendar and schedules to accommodate your workouts.  Your muscles are being used, worked and exhausted.  So to me – you’re an athlete.

 

Getting my daughter ready for school the other day, Elinor said this (I swear this was unprompted.)

 

 

See, at my house, we tell Elinor that she is an athlete.  I want her to know that using your body, moving and challenging herself makes her an athlete.  (And partially because I believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy….say it and you believe it.) 🙂

 

Seriously, I know a lot of people think that if they are not competing in a sport, not “the top tier” at some sport or if they don’t have single digit body fat, that they’re not an athlete.  That’s hogwash.

 

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If you’re getting your butt out of bed every day, hitting the gym, pounding the pavement, challenging your body – you’re an athlete in my book.  Start thinking of your self that way and treat yourself and your body for what it is – an athlete.

 

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So, the answer to the question in today’s blog title, “Am I An Athlete?” – yes, yes you are. Now go out there, think of yourself as an athlete.  Be kind to your body and give it the good fuel and rest it needs so that you can perform at your top athletic ability. And, just for good measure, go ahead and say it with me, “I am an athlete.”

 

 

Be an athlete.

My Impromptu Dinner Party

How to Tie Your Shoes (You’re Doing it Wrong)

 

I have run a full marathon (that’s 26.2 miles), I’ve run several half marathons (that’s 13.1 miles.) I’ve run more 5Ks and 10Ks than I can even remember. But you know what I just found out…..I have been tying my tennis shoes wrong for 35 years.

 

The other night at the gym, one of my training partners looked over at my shoes and asked, “why don’t you use the runner’s holes?” After what must have been a dumb, confused look, she reached over and relaced my tennis shoes. I humored her, then went on with my workout.  

 

After working out with the new lace technique a few days now, there are only two words to describe this: life changing.

 

See, lacing your shoes with the runner’s holes helps to hold your foot inside the shoe and reduce blisters. Really, it’s like my shoes are giving my feet a nice, warm hug.

 

Here’s a Video of How to lace your shoes to use the runners holes. (And no, it doesn’t say anything about the bunny going around the hole….)

 

 

So, go ahead and get out your tennis shoes and relace them. It’s only going to take you about two minutes but your feet will definitely thank you.

 

Your shoes will fit better and it’ll keep you from looking like this

 

 

Happy running!

Why Can’t I Lose Weight: Part II

 

You’re eating healthy. You’re doing cardio.  You’re hitting the weights.  But the scale won’t budge.  Sound familiar??

 

A few months ago, I posted “Why Can’t I Lose Weight.”  Go, check it out HERE if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  Because today, I’m going to follow up on another reason you may not be losing weight.

 

Well, I hate to be Debbie Downer here guys, but the reason you’re not losing weight usually comes down to one thing – you’re eating too much or (more specifically) more than you think.  {Enter the food scale.}

 

 

 

Now before you just click the little “x” box and close out of this article, hear me out….

 

My Intro to the Food Scale:

A few years ago, I was at the same point you are – I thought I was doing everything correctly to lose weight (key word was THOUGHT.)  So, I picked up a cheap, electronic food scale at Walmart. I started using the scale to see how much meat I was putting on my sandwiches and how many ounces my hamburger and grilled chicken actually weighed. And guess what — I was WAY off.  I was underestimating the weight of almost all my meat.  And not by a little bit, by a lot.  Which was, in turn, meaning I was underestimating my calories I was eating.  

 

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Me and my food scale.

 

Let me give you an example:  I would eat a homemade hamburger and assume it was around 2.5 oz of beef.  That would mean roughly 150 calories.  But, when I would weigh that little juicy burger, it would be closer to 4 ½ oz of beef (350 calories.)  That’s an extra 200 calories right there just for one item of my dinner. Do that at every meal and I’m looking at an extra 500-600 calories a day – Yowza!

 

Not to mention the difference in the amount of meat I was putting on my sandwich. There’s a big difference in calories in 1.5oz of turkey and 4oz.

 

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How I felt when I realized my calorie underestimation.

 

Underestimating What You’re Eating:

So, when I realized how off my estimation was with meats, I decided to bust out my measuring cups to see how far off I was on estimating the amount of peas on my plate, salad dressing on my salad and tomato sauce on my pasta.  Again – WAY off.  

 

Little by little, my underestimation of my food intake was adding up to a ton of extra calories that I didn’t know I was eating.

 

If you’re putting in the time in the gym, eating healthy food and not seeing movement, let me recommend this – break out the food scale and the measuring cups for a few days. Check out what you’re actually eating and see how close it is to what you thought you were eating.  I’d be willing to bet you’re underestimating the calories you’re eating, too.

 

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How Long to Use the Food Scale:

Now, I am not saying you need to weigh and measure everything you eat every single day. Just do it for a few days to remind yourself what sizes and weights look like.  Get an idea of what three ounces of meat looks like or a cup of fruit.  Then put the scale and measuring cups away and use those mental images to continue your healthy eating.

 

Guys, when you’re trying to lose weight, the main thing I’ll tell you is to know what you’re putting in your body. Make sure you know how many calories are going in so you can know how your body reacts to that.

 

I’m a “knowledge is power” type of girl when it comes to fitness.  I want to know exactly what I ate, how long I slept, what my scale read that morning and what weight I lifted that day so I can see trends in my performance, weight on the scale and know how it affects my body.  

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So, if you’re eating healthy, exercising and still not seeing the scale move, or if you’re starting to see the scale creep up a bit, bust out the food scale and measuring cups for a few days and make sure you’re eating what you think you are.  It’ll help get you on track to meet your fitness goals.

Scale it Up!

 

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