Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Want To Be Starting Something?

Let's Get it Started!

Did you know that your chances of completing something increase tremendously by implementing one key factor...beginning.  I know, I sound like a brat right now, but this is something that has taken me years to accept and I'm still working on sharpening this skill.  The reason most goals are not achieved is because we miss the most important step: the first one.  I guess acknowledging the goal is the very first step, but beginning is the second first step.  Why do you think we fail to begin?  I have a theory:

A few months ago there was this trend on Facebook where people were posting lists of facts that you may not already know about them.  I was totally submerged into reading these list (the most interest I 'd had in Facebook probably ever).  I noticed a trend amongst most of the lists.  The 3 most common fears that people face are:

1.) Spiders

2.)Snakes (Ditto!)
(aaaand now I'll have nightmares tonight)

(Bless his heart for trying ;)

I was shocked to read repeatedly that people were consciously aware of their fear of failure, many people admitting that they often avoid trying new things with the primary reason being that they don't want to fail.

Fittingly, I saw this status update today which I couldn't have put in better words myself:

Of course, this doesn't mean that there aren't people in your life that care.  What it means is that no one is sitting around taking note of your failures because, honestly, people are busy worrying about their own trials and tribulations.  Additionally, I'm not saying you don't have a cheering section that's out there hoping your wildest dreams come true.  Those people exist!  And those people will be there for you when you are up, down and everything in between.  

Let me get to the point...

Another year has come and gone and you probably have some goals or items on your bucket list that are not only unfinished, but unstarted.  I know I do.  If you want to hold on to your rational fears (like snakes...totally get that), by all means, carry on, but when it comes to failure, LET IT GO!  I promise you, the more you fail the more you'll succeed.  Failures (maybe we need a new word for it), have been wrapped in some of the most joyful, educational, enriching experiences of my life and if you reflect on your own experiences I bet you will see the same pattern.  Classic meathead metaphor...When you are training for hypertrophy (muscle growth) you have to push the muscles to failure to make progress.  We  (like our muscles) grow through failure.  But if we sit idle through life, like out muscles, we will atrophy.

I've been working on my goals for 2014.  When preparing for a new year I like to group my list of personal and professional goals into a theme.  Last year the theme was Growth, which I feel I made huge progress in that category.  Of course, we are never done growing, but having that theme to reflect on throughout the year was very helpful in keeping my mind in the right perspective.

The theme for 2014 came to me quickly.  When reviewing my goals I noticed they are kind of scary.  They are big and risky and are going to require a lot of commitment and faith.  If you want to join me in sharing my theme this year, I'm happy to discuss your goals with you and help you hash out a plan of action.  Are you ready to hear my theme for 2014?  Wait for it...


This year is going to be about setting fears aside (or at least using them as a catalyst for beginning) and tackling what you'd do if failure weren't a concern.  

What is your theme for the new year?  Do you want share mine?

Monday, December 23, 2013

C is for Crunches

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve to all of you that celebrate!  Instead of offering some sound advise on keeping your nutrition in check over the next few days (which of course, you should ;), I'm going to offer you a workout that will help burn off a few holiday cookies.  Try to get through 3-4 rounds of this for an approximate 300 calorie burn (of course this depends on many factors, so give or take a few) or the equivalent of about 3 of my favorite 6 ingredient almond butter cookies.

If you train with me you probably know what all of these are.  If you don't...you might have questions.  Especially on that last one :)

When you do crunches keep your abs "scooped out" by pulling in from your belly button and try to keep the shoulder blades up off of the floor the entire time.

I will share a video soon with clarification, so please let me know if you have questions and I will answer them in the post.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Christmas Miracle?

If you know the story of my missing keys, you may appreciate this phenomenon.  They have been recovered!  I have learned several life lessons from The Case of the Missing Keys, which I will be sure to share with you in a Zen-Like translation at the end of yoga one day :)

Friday, November 22, 2013


Run this Town

What's your favorite form of cardio?  I do most of mine outdoors.  When the days start to get darker and the weather colder, I always panic.  I fear cabin fever so much that I overcompensate every fall.  If there aren't tornado sirens sounding or Level 3 snow emergencies issued, I will find time and a reason to get outside.  Because of this 'overcompensating cardio plan'  I usually end up doing twice as much cardio in the colder months than I do in the Summer.  I love the brisk fresh air and cold flushed cheeks you get from running when it's chilly outside.  Outdoor cardio is mentally therapeutic and helps prevent the winter bulk up.  You just need the right equipment.

Here are the basics that I recommend:

1) A warm running coat:

I have 2 that I go to, depending on how cold it is.  I use my North Face parka when it's really cold:

This coat will keep you so toasty warm.  It's like running in a sleeping bag.  It's a little bulky, but if you aren't going for speed, it's perfect!  Also great for hikes and long walks.

If the temp is above freezing and you want something you can move around in more freely, I absolutely love Nike ACG Jackets.  They are so hard to find now.  They may have stopped making them.  But I did see a few on Amazon.  You could also go with any neoprene jacket.  I love this one from Roxy.

2) A hat or ear warmers:  

You don't need to splurge on this one.   I have a fun, feathery one that I received as a gift from Nordstrom:
(That's my dad.  He's awesome.)

 But I also have a bin in by coat closet with a pile of cheap ones that I got on clearance at the end of the season from Target.  I think they were a few bucks each and I stocked up because I tend to misplace things.  Plus, my kids wear them when they play in the snow, so you can really never have too many.

3) Thin gloves that are well insulated:
Any thermal pair will do.  I like this Nike pair.  You can get these at LeftLaneSports.com for $10.95.  Keeping the hands warm while running allows better bloodflow to the heart, lungs and legs.

4) Supportive socks:

Everyone's feet are so unique that it is difficult to recommend a specific sock.  I will say, I hate spending a lot on socks.  They really aren't fun to buy.  I used to get mine exclusively form TJ Maxx.  I was given a nice pair from a sport specific store, and WHOA! life changer.  Apparently, good socks matter.  With that being said, you may want to try a few different brands to see what works best for you.  I find that Under Armour has a good, high quality, selection.

5) A base layer:

When it's really cold out a base layer or compression layer is imperative.  It's protects your muscles from strains and tears and keeps your heart lungs cozy.  I set I usually wear is from Athleta (check out all of the other cute warm weather stuff while you're there).  Under Armour is probably the most popular brand and Lululemon has plenty to choose from.

6) Running shoes:

Your feet are really being put to the test while running in the cold.  Be a friend and treat them with some respect.  I strongly recommend getting fitted by someone who knows what they are talking about.  My favorite shoes to run in are Mizunos.  I'm currently running in the Wave Prophecy 3:

You can get these at most athletic shoe stores.  These are from Dick's Sporting Goods.  Wearing proper shoes (and properly fitted shoes) not only protects your feet, but also helps support and protects your ankles, knees, hips and lower back.  Your whole body works together as an intricate system.  Be particular in how you treat it.

If you are ready to get out there and move but you are missing some items on this list, don't let that be an excuse to hold you back.  You can always make do by layering t-shirts and digging old skull caps out of the closet.  These might be some good items to put on your Holiday list.  Or if you know a runner, great gift ideas.  You can never have too many head warmers and running socks!

Okay, time to run! Let me know if you need a running partner :)

Do you have favorite gear that you want to rave about?  Please share!

P.S. Don't forget to warm up, cool down and stretch after :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's the Time?

It's time to not get ill :)

Do you ever feel too busy to breathe?  I have days like that.  I find that when I'm really busy, the first thing I cut back on is sleep.  Sleep is very important for so many reasons.  Reasons of which I shall dedicate an entire blog post to in the future (but must parentheses a few like fighting/preventing illness, maintaining a healthy weight, mental clarity and focus, improved mood).  But, for the sake of time, just trust me on this one.  If you aren't getting enough, find a way to get more.  Let me help you maximize your time without sacrificing other important daily habits.

Exhibit A:

The Quicky Workout

This is a great workout to go to if you have about 20 minutes or less and need an intense workout that gets your heart rate up (read: calorie burn) and want to hit some of your major muscle groups.  Do as many rounds as you have time for.  Even one is a legit workout!  You do each plyometric exercise for 45 seconds and do push-ups in between each plyo, starting with 25 and dropping it by 5 until you get through all of the exercises.

A Crock of What?

Another big time saver is using your crock pot.  It's like having a personal chef.  It cooks your meals for you while you're sleeping or at work.  Hands down, the best invention from the 70s (right behind the hologram and the VCR, of course).   I didn't use mine for years, but lately I've been using it every day.

One of my very favorite things to make in my crockpot is Steel Cut Oatmeal.  It normally takes over 35 minutes to make on the stovetop, so prepping it the night before in the crockpot gives you a hot breakfast ready the second your feet hit the floor.  Added bonus, your house will smell like an oven full of cookies.

I just take 1 cup of steel cut oats and 4 cups of water and dump them in the crockpot.  I add cinnamon, a cup of unsweetened applesauce and a little nutmeg.  I set the crockpot to 4 hours right before I go to bed.  If I use a longer setting it always burns the bottom.  This seems to be the only way I can prevent that from happened.  It took me about 10 test runs to figure that out.  I also add walnuts to it in the morning.

Another recipe that I love this time of year is my "Clean out the freezer" vegetable soup.  I take anything I need to use up and toss it in.  I always have tons of tomato paste (love Costco), so I just put in 1 can of tomato paste and 6 cups of water for the broth, then add a hodgepodge of what I have in my fridge/freezer.  This one has green beans, broccoli, about 8 whole garlic cloves, a purple onion, teeny tiny potatoes, corn, edamame and I think that's it.  I added random spices and let it go for 8 hours while I was at work.  It took me less than 10 minutes to throw together and it fed me for 3 days.  I ate it twice a day.  I'm not one to mind eating the same thing repeatedly (especially if it's delicious).

Do you have any good crock pot recipes? What do you do to save time? 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Preview of Things to Come!

It feels like my birthday right now!  I am so excited because I just ordered some gifts for my yoga students!! I've had a pretty solid and consistent group of yogi's coming to my class since February, so I thought it was time to add a little prop action to the practice.  After much research and consideration, I opted for the Three Minute Egg!  We should have them by the end of the week!

The eggs I ordered will be for use in the studio, however, if any of you decide you'd like a set of eggs that you can take home with you and call your very own, please let me know and I will order you a set in any color that you choose :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

You've Got Mail

You've Got Mail!

I was walking to my mailbox today with my mind wandering (per usual) and I started thinking about how walking to the mailbox is the only physical activity that some people get for the entire day.  I live on about an acre with my house at the back of that acre, so I have a little distance from the front door to the mailbox, but still, one round trip per day hardly accounts for a days worth of activity.  So, I decided to write a workout that you can build on based on your level of fitness.  If you are completely sedentary, start with the 1st exercise only.  Each day (or as you feel stronger) add the next exercise.  By the time you get to the final exercise, this will be a killer workout.  Already in stupendous shape?  Cycle through the whole circuit as many times as you can for 30 minutes and share your score with me( 1 point per round)!  I'd LOVE you to comment any remarks made by your neighbors (or mail carrier) should any of them witness this awesome and not at all wacko behavior :)

All exercises are down and back (from front door to mailbox).  Let me know if you need clarification on any of these.  This is great for one of those days that you didn't think you'd get to workout, but as soon as you opened the door and saw your mailbox you were inspired to just throw in a few rounds.  Print this workout and tape it to the inside of your mailbox as a reminder!

Groundhog Day

I had friend feeling a little blasé and they told me they felt like their life was Groundhog Day (Bill Murray movie, I'm sure you're familiar).  

They were bored with the same day-in-day-out routine with nothing changing.  At first I was thinking, "Yeah, that's lame.  So sorry you're feeling that way."  But, in reality, most of us have a day to day routine that we practice that can be a little mundane.  The beauty of that is that, like Bill Murray's character, each day we can consciously review what we are doing that is either enriching or corrupting our lives.  We can take inventory and rid the negative and amplify the positive until we get it right.  Look at that comfortable routine as an opportunity to develop what will eventually turn into your ideal day.  No one knows how many days it will take to get it right, but once you feel like you've really nailed it, guess what, you have the power to start a new adventure and keep repeating that one until you are satisfied with what you've accomplished.  

So tell me...what would you do if you knew you COULD NOT FAIL?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Change Your Mind, Change the World

Walking Away-Good Exercise ;)

It takes discipline, courage and determination to set and work toward your goals.  So, what happens when you're in pursuit of a goal and all of the sudden you have that lightbulb moment accompanied by an overwhelming urge to change your mind.

(me having lightbulb moment under giant lamp)

Is it okay to bail?  What is the difference between quitting and changing your mind?

I struggle with this often.  There is no better feeling than having a plan mapped out and being able to recognize that you are on the right track to accomplishing what you set out to achieve.  Likewise, there are few things more frustrating than being halfway down the path and realizing the plan is taking you in a direction that is no longer where you want to go.  How do you know if quitting/redirecting is what will serve you best?

Look at the big picture.  Have other situations in your life changed?  Has pursuing this dream caused you sadness, stress, anxiety?  Does it have a negative impact on others in your life?  It's reasonable to accept that working toward anything worth having isn't going to be easy all of the time.  It isn't going to be fun at every moment and sacrifices are sure to be necessary, but if you take a step back and notice that what you are pursuing isn't serving you any longer, isn't filling you with positive energy and keeping you motivated and driven, then take a new direction.  It isn't quitting if you are redesigning your plan.  Think of it like this:  If you built a house 20 years ago, at the time it was probably state of the art, new mechanicals, modern design and decor.  However, if you haven't touched it in the past 20 years, today it probably looks dated.

(pastel couch, anyone? source)

The floor plan may not seem functional.  The mechanicals are in need of repair or replacement.  The furniture and window treatments may look like a sun-faded version of something chosen by Rainbow Brite.  Does that mean you should keep everything as is and live with it because that's what you wanted 20 years ago?  Should you toss a grenade in the window and head for the hills?  Mmmm'no.  But you can certainly redirect your plan.  Look at your options.  Renovate, remodel, sell and buy new.  If you can't afford it, even better!  You get to devise a plan to reach the goal to afford it.

(find the silver lining :) source)

At some point we all need to reevaluate and redirect our paths.  When I was 6 I wanted to be a cashier at Big Bear and a astronaut when I grew up.  Nothing wrong with that, but in pursuit of my dream, other ideas and adventures lead me in new directions.  When you know better, you should do better.  Take the time to look at your situation.  What about it serves you and make you an improved, more confident, more joyful version of yourself?  What exhausts you, frustrates you and drains you?  Is it possible to eliminate the latter?  If it can't be eliminated, can it be redesigned or improved?  If it can't be changed at all, can you change the way you look at it?

Schedule some time every few months to take inventory of how the different aspects of your life make you feel.   Then purge it, change it or change your perspective about it.  Please, please, please don't carry on and let it take the best of you.


Friday, August 30, 2013

I hate to brag, but my adrenal glands are amazing!

My Unsolicited Opinion

I love trying new things and putting concepts and ideas to the test.  I'm not into gimmicky fad diets like The Champagne Diet or The Baby Food Diet (which I'd be willing to try and review for fun if I have a few volunteers to do it with me ;).  However, I love reading books about fitness and nutrition and putting others' theories to the test.  It's a science experiment that serves a purpose (as most do).  I just finished reading The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.  When I grabbed it off of the library shelf I found the title to be a little impudent and I was pessimistic that the author would be able to offer any sound advice that we hadn't already heard a dozen times.  A client had asked me about it, so I checked it out anyway as I like to offer an informed opinion once I've done my due diligence.

Once I began reading, I became a fan almost instantly.  The 'diet' is composed of all of the foods we should be eating anyway.  The purpose of this plan is to take 28 days to focus on resetting your metabolism through eating foods that nuture the adrenal glands and help repair thyroid function.  Whether or not that is that end result, I saw a nutrient dense meal plan that was patterned in a way that might not make me lose my mind.  The foods that are to be eliminated on this plan are ones that don't sit well with me anyway, so I thought, what the heck, I'll put it to the test.  I found some recruits to participate with me and we started last Monday.  This plan consists of 3 phases that you cycle through in a week and continue with that cycle for 4 weeks.  Mon-Tues=Phase 1, Weds-Thurs=Phase 2 and Fri-Sun=Phase 3.

This plan does have a few forbidden items.  There is NO:

Refined Sugar

I may be forgetting others, but those are the big ones.  Know that in the book she does an excellent job of explaining the Why's of those no-no's, but I'm just giving you the super condensed short recap, so know that there is good reason, and should you care to research it farther, you can get the book here.

Those of us participating have over a week into the program now and here is what we've concluded:
On average, everyone lost roughly 2.5-3 lbs the first week and many of us were down 4-5 lbs by day 11.  We have people of all different shapes and sizes participating and everyone seems to be losing at about the same pace.  Most have reported having more energy, less bloating and better skin tone.  Everyone has had there moments of hunger.  The most difficult part for most of the participants has been eliminating caffeine.  A few people have reduced their caffeine intake instead of eliminating it.  They are still seeing positive results, but most have cut it out completely per the plan.

This is how we do it:

First, let me highly recommend downloading the app that accompanies this plan.  It is such a great tool for meal plan and grocery shopping.  It also offers helpful tips and has a section with FAQ's.

Phase 1 is lots of fruits and grains, which some had no problem with and others felt very hungry (myself included), I seemed to burn through those carbs quickly which left me ready for a snack almost immediately after my meals.  Thankfully, this plan has an app available with helpful tips that you can refer to if you feel like you need a snack or a boost.  The food was tasty and my phase 2 looked like this:

Grains like oat groats and brown rice.  Fruits like apples, grapefruit, blackberries and peaches.  Pretty much any veggies in unlimited quantities.  I was a little hungry the first day, but quickly learned to plan ahead by having sweet potatoes and beets prepped as you can have unlimited quantities of these on Phase 1 and they are quite filling and offer a great energy boost.

Phase 2 (Wednesday and Thursday) is lean protein and non-starchy vegetable based.  You have protein with each meal and snack and the veggies that you eat are mostly green and lower carb options.  I liked this phase better than the first one because I didn't get hungry as fast.  I did miss the fruit, but other than that, I didn't mind phase 2.  

Many of the participants liked this phase the least.  Without fruit, they missed that little sweet bite throughout the day.  Never fear, another helpful hint was posted on the app to save the day:

While all other fruits are banned, lemons and limes are fair game on phase 2.  The book has a recipe for lemon-lime sorbet that it so refreshing!  You can have it on any phase and it works well as a slushy too.  I made a batch and poured it in my Tervis tumbler for hard times ;)

Phase 3!  The glorious Phase 3.  Friday is the kickoff of a 3 day fiesta of the most divine part of this program.  On phase 3 you add healthy fats to your meals and snacks.  You also have fruit with breakfast and lunch and a grain with breakfast and dinner.  You always have a lean protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner, but on Phase 3, you have a few more options.  This is the phase that keeps you sane and helps you carry on!

The meals are much more filling in this phase.  If you have any major life decisions to make, I encourage you to make them on this phase.  The healthy fats give you a much clearer head :)

Conclusion thus far:

While I'm not quite half way through the 28 days of this plan, I'm already a fan.  It's full of nutrient dense foods.  Hydration is encouraged.  Many things that shouldn't be consumed by most of the population are excluded and it's designed with short term and long term goals in mind, which I think plays a huge role in people sticking with it and not quitting!  The fact that they are seeing results is encouraging as well.  The word is spreading fast around the gym and I have new people hopping in on this plan every week.  I love having a group of people to practice this lifestyle with.  It's such a great support system.  We are going to have the healthiest adrenal glands in the Mid-West!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

99 Problems? Your legs are going to be tired!

Work Out Your Problems.  Literally.

We all have ‘problems’, right?  (I don’t know if I like the word “problem” as I think perception is really what makes a problem, but for the sake of a universal language, let’s continue to use the word “problem” and I promise not to frame it in bunny ears for the rest of this post).  I suppose they are worthy of our attention as ignoring them does not necessarily make them go away.  While we may need to tend to them from time to time, we don’t need to let them own us.  Especially the ones we have no control over.  Here is what I do when I’m letting things beyond my control outshine my joy:

Step 1:

Find a hill or a large set of stairs:

(A prize for anyone who can name this location!)

Step 2:

Gather a stone for each problem you are facing X 2.  Today I gathered 10 stones.  I didn’t actually have 5 problems that were weighing me down, but I wanted to run the stairs 10 times, so I dug deep and came up with  some extra ;) Actually, just things I wanted to improve on more so than “problems”…sorry, I said I wouldn’t bunny ear it again…Then take your stones to the top of the hill/staircase.

Step 3:

Line up said stones at the top of the hill/staircase and assign a problem to each of the first half (5 in my case) and assign something you are grateful for to each of the second half (also 5).  Run/walk back to the bottom of the steps.

(Didn't occur to me to take a pic until I finished round 6.  Anyone else get smarter near the end of a cardio session?)

Step 4:

Run back to the top of the steps and toss the first problem stone into the distance (in my case, I toss it into the water).  This is my way of 'giving it to God'.  I don't need to carry the burden any more, I've let it go to be taken care of in due time.  Run/walk back to the bottom and repeat this until each problem rock is gone.  Continue with this pattern when you get to the gratitude rocks, but this time, instead of throwing the gratitude rocks, just place them back on the earth and think about what each one represents (or say a little prayer of gratitude for each one).  Keep going until all of the stones have been addressed.

(Anyone know where I'm at yet?)

I notice that when I toss out my worries first I end up gaining energy when I’d normally be fatiguing.  Today, I definitely felt lighter as I finished my last few gratitude rocks.   Beware, the brain is a powerful muscle.  I felt so strong mentally that I didn’t realize how hard I was pushing myself.  When I went to drive home my legs were shaking like a leaf.  My car has a manual transmission and my calf was not wanting to push that clutch in!  But I survived and felt amazing when I was finished.  I rehydrated with about 16 oz of water and put together one of my favorite protein shakes:

Quick, easy and tastes like a frozen PB & J!  I am loving that brand of Almond Milk.  Only 2 ingredients, almonds & water.  It's creamy and only 40 calories.  I've only seen it at Whole Foods, but I am on the lookout for it at other locations.  The brand is Califia Farms.  Let's all go buy some so that they keep making it!! Don't you hate when you are the #1 fan of a product or show that no one else is into so it ceases to exist!  The first time I noticed this phenomena was when the show Nearly Departed was canceled in the late 80's.  Then I was stung again when Veronica Mars was canceled a few years ago.  I tried to save it!  I grew a small cult of fans, but it wasn't enough.  Let's not let this happen to Califia Farms Almond Milk!!  Tell your friends :)  Buy some for your mother.  Share the love :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Feeling Cantankerous?


Ever get in a mood you just can't shake?  To some, it may seem like I'm a ball of sunshine and rainbows all the time.  Get near the fainting couch because I've got news for you...Sometimes I'm grumpy.  It happens to the best of us.  You can't plan for it and you can't stop it from coming, but every now and then I just want to be mean.  There isn't usually a series of unfortunate events that lead to my mood meltdown, it's just an eternal thing that rears it's ugly head sometimes.  So...how do you make it go?  

First of all, sometimes it's OK to just resign to it and let yourself have a moment to be a grump.  But first,  try setting yourself up for some mini successes.  These are quick tasks that make you feel better.
For example:

1.) Clean out the car:  Usually 5-10 minutes of clearing out the trash and wiping down the dash and steering wheel of my car makes me feel a little more calm.

2.) Next, Take your clean car and treat yourself to something you won't feel guilty about.  I love iced tea, so picking up an iced green tea always puts a smile on my face!  Trenta-iced-green-tea-unsweetened-no-water :) That's how I like it!

Take this mood lifter to the next level by grabbing a few extra and delivering one to a friend or loved one.  Another sure fire way to improve your mood...do something nice for someone else.

3.) Take on a new challenge:  Setting a mini goal will allow you to direct your energy on the task, not your mood.  This should be a goal that can be attained somewhat quickly.  You are setting yourself up for a mini success to improve your mood, so think short term.  

Some ideas include things like:  Write 5 notes to 5 different friends just to say hi or that you are thinking about them, then drop them in the mail. 

Organize your "junk drawer" if you have one.  I don't have a drawer that I toss everything in, but I typically have a bag or basket that I load when I'm doing a quick clean-up.  Something I say I'll sort through later...you know how that ends.

Try a new recipe.  All of those mouth watering images on Pinterest actually have recipes attached to them.  Pick one you've been drooling over and actually try it.  Even better, make it and share it with your neighbor or co-workers.

Insert your own <here> and please tell me what it is!

4.) Read something funny.  You can follow comedians on Twitter or maybe you have a favorite blog that you find funny.  Sometimes I find things even more hilarious when I'm in a bad mood.  For instance, I was on Pinterest and stumbled upon this.  I don't think I'd even give it a second glance on a normal day, but today, it made me spit my matcha latte all over my Macbook.

5.) Get outside!  Find a favorite spot to relax, jog, walk enthusiastically, etc.  There are gorgeous, wooded trails and parks everywhere.  Getting close to nature can definitely change your perspective on things.  Anyone want to do some stairs with me?

6.)  If none of that works for you, just decide to be happy.

*disclaimer: If you feel like your bad mood is chronic and you are unable to shake the feeling, you may need to seek counseling...heck, we could all use a good therapist.

Here is one last stitch efforts to make you smile today....

I wrote myself love letters from Kirk Cameron when I was 9...to make my sister jealous...or mad (I don't think I fooled her).  I am happy to report I outgrew this phase and I stopped dotting my i's with little bubbles.

*You may have noticed that I didn't put "work-out" or "do Yoga" on this list.  While I find both of those activities to be sure fire ways to improve your mood, I felt they were too obvious, and that I should offer some other ideas.  But, of course...work-out, lift weights, do Yoga, box, run, swim, be active.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Amour Alert!

Things I'm loving right now!

As I grow with my blog, I'm trying to settle in to certain rituals with it to help me keep my posting on track.  I think weekly/monthly or periodically at random I'm going to have an Amour Alert! list.  This will be things I've come across that are fitness/health/nutrition, etc. related that I think are so amazing that I must share them with all of you fine readers.  If you ever see/experience something that you think is worthy, let me know!! 

SOOOO, without further ado, here is the first list...drumroll please...

1.)  Jawbone's Up Band- This is a wristband that tracks your movement and sleep.  There are many products like this on the market right now, but this one seems to be the most user friendly.  There is an App that coincides with the band that tracks your sleep cycle, calories burned, you can input what you've eaten in order to track calories and you can even log your mood (which is a great way to recognize how certain foods and behaviors make you feel).  The price is about $129.99.  You can get it on Jawbone's website, from Amazon, or at the Apple Store.

Diane sports the teal band to represent Cervical Cancer awareness.  

2.)  Summer Squash/Zucchini- It's that time of year again!  Zucchini is in season and available on the cheap.  If you aren't growing some yourself, hopefully you have a neighbor or co-worker with needs to unload some of their crop.  If you don't have a zucchini/squash hook-up, never fear...it's darn cheap this time of year.  To get the creative squash juices flowing, check out this article with 75 recipes that incorporate this versatile crop.

I loaded this plate at the Whole Foods in Upper Arlington.  The top, right compartment has a ratatouille dish with zucchini chunks and the rosemary skewer has lots of great summer veggies including squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and portobello mushroom.

3.) Arbonne Vegan Protein-  I am currently loving this protein blend.  It's a vegan protein that contains NO soy protein (which is awesome, because isolate soy protein has been getting a bad rap for the way it's processed and how out bodies metabolize it).  Instead, to make it a complete protein, it's a blend of pea, cranberry and rice protein.  This blend contains 20 grams of protein, 20 vitamins and minerals and it tastes phenomenal.  It's blends so smooth and creamy, you will think you are drinking a milkshake.  I usually just blend it with a cup of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk and a cup of frozen spinach, but sometimes I get crazy and add berries or a banana or a spoon of almond or cashew butter.  Just depends on my mood and whether I'm having it post workout or for a meal.

They come in good sized bags.  The chocolate is my favorite right now, but the vanilla is great too and works well if you are adding fruit or using it to add some protein to your baked goods.

4.) Outdoor conditioning-  I love early mornings in the summer.  This is a killer workout that you can do right when you wake up.  Lace up your shoes and get outside to burn some calories before you hit the shower in the morning.  No equipment needed except for a patio chair or bench for the dips:

Those are just a few things that come to mind that I'm into right now.  Anything calling to you this time of year?  I'd love to hear about it!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Off Season Breakfast

As you know, I've just completed a few figure competitions,  During competition season, I stay on a specific meal plan that does not include wheat, soy or dairy, nor does it include refined sugars or many types of fruit.  Now that I have several months before my next competition, I can include some clean foods that aren't part of my competition meal plan.  Today, the off season breakfast looked like this:

This isn't WAY different from my usual.  Main differences, 2 whole eggs instead of 5-6 whites.  1/2 of a banana in my oatmeal!!! This is majorly exciting :):) And, lastly, I'm having coffee which I will be adding a little soy milk to.  When I use soy milk, I get the least processed soy milk I can find.  The one I've been using is this one:

It only has 2 ingredients: Filtered water and organic whole soybeans.

Change of Pace

My daughter likes to run and we've been looking for a fun activity to do together over the summer.  We  narrowed it down to a few things, and one that we decided we could definitely handle together is The Color Run.  This is a 5K that takes place on July 20.  You wear all white to the run and at the mile markers people throw colored corn starch at you.  By the end, your white gear show be covered in Buddy the Elf's favorite color; rainbow :).  

If you are interested in running it too, click here to register.

If you aren't used to running, but still want to participate, you can A.) Certainly walk the 5K or B.) Start conditioning for the run.  If you are looking for a good program to help you work up to a 5K, I've had many clients use the Couch to 5K program.  There is a free app version as well as a $2.99 version you can get on your Kindle.  You can also get the book for under $10.  I'm also happy to help you train/cross train for a race.  If you've already tackled a 5K and are looking to run in a longer race, check out Premier Races for upcoming events in your area.

Lunch & Dinner

I prepped a few staples the other day that I've been able to use to make several meals this week.  Extremely easy & simple, I just took about a pound of turkey cutlets and put them in the crock pot with a jar of salsa.  I let that cook overnight for about 8 hours.  In the morning, you can just fork the turkey and it shreds instantly.  I stuck it in the fridge and whipped up a batch up hummus.  The recipe I used was so easy and 'amazing' as my daughter described it.  Here is a link to the hummus recipe.  Only 5 ingredients needed:

The 5th ingredient is EVOO, which is hidden back there.  I used these 2 ingredients to make a few good meals.  The first one was a Mexican-ish salad:

I topped some romaine hearts with the turkey, hummus, some avocado, olives and a squeeze of lemon.  It was filling and delicious!  Next meal was similar, but I wanted something warm, so I made a fajita instead:

The inside had the turkey, hummus, olives and avocado, then I pan seared it (on an organic corn tortilla-only 2 ingredients: stone ground corn and water) and topped it with plain greek yogurt (lots of protein, no fat) and some salsa.  I liked this even more than the salad.  Sometimes you just need something warm and gooey.

No more Oxygen?

This past week sad news was delivered to the fitness world.  The publishing company that prints all of my favorite magazines has shut it doors.  RKPublishing is known for magazines like REPS!, Muscle Mag, Oxygen and Clean Eating.  I've heard that the organization is working to find a new investor to revitalize the brand, but in the meantime, it's doors are closed.  

This may be my last issue...and my yogurt and blueberries leaked all over the back cover, eeew.  Anyhow, I always found the content useful and there aren't many magazines that place such an emphasis on fitness and clean eating.  Most other healthy lifestyle magazines are geared toward fashion and products.  I'll be on the lookout for something similar and be sure to share my top picks with you.  

Your turn!  Do you have a favorite magazine (fitness or non-fitness related)?  What is it that you find so fabulous about it?  Let me know and I will pick one lucky commenter (at random)  To receive a free Bookzine from RKPublishing!  

Monday, June 3, 2013

I am!

It's Halftime!

We are already on the cusp of the halfway point of 2013.  You know i have a 'thang' for goal setting, so this seems like the perfect time to re-evaluate and freshen up the list.  I'm going to be working on my list though out the week.  I am happy to share it with you once it takes shape.  Reflecting on my goals set at the beginning of the year, I am on track with a few of them and a few I need to give a some extra attention to.  

Goals I set that I can check off of the list:

Wisdom teeth removed...check!  Yep, that was on the list.  I had put it off for years.  Writing it down made me feel more accountable and I scheduled it and got it done.  Not sure why I waited!  I feel like a million bucks now that they are gone.

(Y'all remember this fright?)

Expand Yoga practice...check!  This is the goal that gives back to me daily.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love teaching Yoga.  I'm so in awe of the group of people that I get to practice with twice per week.  My specific 1 year goal was to have at least 15 regular participants and I currently have 12 yogis that practice with me consistently.  I absolutely love that I've been able to witness their practice develop over the course of the past several months and I look forward to growing with them.  With a good 6 months to grow the practice, I think the goal can be reached and hopefully exceeded.  With more people in the practice I will be able to add more classes to the schedule, which will lead me to my next goal :).  I also set a goal to expand my practice and my own balance, flexibility and mental focus.  I have noticed a significant difference and I intend to continue to nurture my practice.


Compete in a figure competition...check...check!  I just finished my second competition!  It's been an amazing journey that isn't over yet.  I've learned a ton.  I've met some truly inspiring people along the way.  The experience and principles that apply to competing can be carried over into all other areas of life.

I also have personal goals set that are spiritual, family and finance related.  I won't share those on the blog, but know that goal setting is so important in every category.  I'm happy to be more specific if anyone wants to talk details.

If you are having issues sorting your goals on paper, one of my favorite goal setting worksheets is available on Lululemon's website.  Click here to see the goal setting worksheet.

I am!

When I downloaded the goal setting sheet for the first time I came across another idea that I loved!  Making declarations that support your goals.  Knowing what you want is the first step to achieving your goals.  Knowing you have everything it takes to achieve them is the next step.  Check out this blog post by Sarah Gray for Lululemon to see what they did to get their community involved in goal setting.  Now, what can you declare about yourself as a quick and constant reminder of what you are capable of?  Declarations, like goals, can change.  You can make as many declarations as you'd like.

Of course, I can't fit them all in one picture, but it definitely feels awesome to have so many amazing people in my life.

Your turn!  Tell me your declaration!