Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oatmeal Turkey Meatballs & Mashed Cauliflower

Hello friends and happy hump day!
 
I decided to put my running sneakers to the side today and I opted for a HIIT workout that had me drenched in sweat. Here was the workout:
 
Jump rope for 2 minutes
followed by
Medicine ball overhead squats for 1 minute
**This was done for 40 minutes with 30 seconds rest after every round of jumping rope and squatting
 
 
I've been craving some lean turkey so I gathered up some recipes and here's what I put together:
 
 
Oatmeal Turkey Meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • 1.25 pounds of lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs fresh basil
  • 2 tbs fresh oregano
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup oats (not the instant oats)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
 
Directions:
 
1. Mix eggs, oats and spices. Then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
2. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
 

 
*I like the turkey meatball recipe because I don't eat red meat, plus, it's a great source of lean protein. Also, notice that I used oats instead of bread crumbs. Oats is a healthier option than bread crumbs because it has less calories and more fiber.
 
 
Side Dish: Mashed Cauliflower
 
 
Ingredients:
  • Medium-sized head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
 
Directions:
 
1. Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Steam for about 6-8 minutes.
 
2. Drain the steamed cauliflower and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic cloves and the seasoning and process until smooth and creamy.
 
 
*I like the mashed cauliflower recipe because it's a good alternative to mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable and it's a great option if you eat a low carb diet.
 
This is a nice American meal minus all the crazy calories that usually accompany it.
 
ENJOY!
 
What are you having for dinner tonight?
 
P.S. Don't forget about the Newton Running Gear Giveaway!!!
  #freestuff
 
 
---------------------------
I'm grateful for my daily devotional
book. The messages inspire me throughout the day.  
 



 
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Newton Running Gear Giveaway!!!

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello friends! Today I want to offer you all a chance to win some really cool Newton Running gear, which was generously given to me by South Florida's Newton Educator Christina Botero.

 
The Rules:
 
1. Tell me the funniest/craziest/most hysterical moment you have had while running or exercising.
2. Keep your story short and sweet.
3. Email me your story at huerta15560@gmail.com.
4. The top 3 stories will receive one of the below giveaways:
(Yes, this is a subjective contest because I'll be the one reading it. If you could make me laugh out loud while rolling on the ground, you'll definitely have a chance to win!).
**Contest ENDS on Wednesday, August 7th!!!
 
 
Newton visor, socks and a water bottle
 

Newton t-shirt and a dri-fit cap
 

Newton t-shirt and a water bottle
 
*The contest is only good for people who have a US address.
 
Click here to read my funny running story. This is just an idea of what I'm looking for.
 
GOOD LUCK!
 
 
--------------------------------
I'm grateful for being able to eat
healthy amidst a recession. 
 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Calendar Photo Shoot

Today's Workout:
5.5 mile run (with strides on the last mile)

Howdy friends! I hope you all had a fantabulous weekend. Mine was awesome! I did absolutely nothing on Saturday. Ok, I'll elaborate on my nothingness. After being gone for a week, hubby came back from New Orleans (he was on a business trip) on Friday night. I had planned to run in the morning, but I couldn't resist from snuggling with him. The weather was just perfect for that. It was rainy and thundering and quite frankly it looked like a monsoon outside of our window. We stayed indoors and ordered a huge order of sushi. Hubby ordered the regular stuff while I ordered everything veggie. We did some baby planning stuff and then we watched a marathon series of Orange is the New Black. We are totally hooked!


On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and got ready for a calendar shoot. WildSide
photography chose me, along with, 11 other female runners for their 2014 "Fastest Female Runners in South Florida" calendar. I felt very honored to have been chosen. Here are some pics from the event:

 

Make up and hair station
 
My wild make up
 
The view from the photography setting
 
Lights, camera, action!
 
 
The calendar is tentatively coming out in November so stay tuned for it. It's going to be wild and sexy!! You can check here for calendar updates.
 
 
How was your weekend?
 
 
-------------------------
I'm grateful for the wonderful
baby gifts that my sister gave me on Sunday.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Fitness Fridays: #Fit In3

Hello Friends and TGIF!!!
 
Boy has this been an interesting week. Let me start off by saying that Wednesday's "Holy Sh*t" adventure prompted me to take a day off on Thursday. I had absolutely no energy to run on Thursday morning. I woke up today in a slight state of PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), but nevertheless, I laced up my Newton sneakers and went for a run. Fifty minutes later I was back at home with a t-shirt and feeling stress free. It was a good way to start my day =D .
 
Today I did a combination of running and some HIIT exercises. I started off with a 6 mile run and incorporated some strides on the last mile (30 seconds on and 30 seconds off). After my run, I went home and set up a "HIIT Station" for my workout.
 
 
My HIIT Station included: a chair for step-ups and chair dips, dumbbells for the squats, a jump rope and a yoga mat for the push-ups and the plank holds.
 
HIIT Workout:
 
1. One minute weighted squats
2. One minute push-ups
3. One minute step-ups
4. One minute chair dips
5. Two minutes jump rope
6. One minute plank hold
 
*This was repeated 3 times with 30 seconds rest in between
 
I encourage you to #Fit In a HIIT workout a couple of times a week.
It will make you stronger and faster and more powerful at running. Give it a try.
 
 
 
-----------------------------------
I am grateful for the relaxing
run I had this morning.
 
 
 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Crappy Day (Literally!)

I usually start my posts by letting you guys know what I've done as a workout for the day. Today however, I will explain to you why my workout did not go as planned and the lessons that I learned after my experience.

So, I woke up at 5:00 am to go on my usual 5 mile run (with some strides at the end) and from the moment I woke up I felt the slight need to go to the bathroom (Catch my drift?). I completely ignored the feeling and went about my business. I was about a half mile into my run when I suddenly felt and heard my stomach rumbling and fumbling. "That's ok," I thought, "I'll just hold it in!" I kept on trotting down my running route until I was abruptly stopped by the pain in my abdomen. The urge to go to the bathroom just grew and grew more painful. There was absolutely no way I could hold that in. I felt like my body was losing control. My bowels were totally dictating every step I took and every thought I had in my mind.

I quickly stopped running and began walking. The thought of taking one more step made my mind crazy and my sphincter tighter. But where would I go? My house was 1.5 miles away and I could hardly walk. That feeling suddenly became a religious experience when the only words out of my mouth were, "Oh my God!" I thought about going into a building but they were all closed. The nearest park was about 1/4 of a mile away and I could not hold it that long. The thought of pooping like a dog behind a bush started to appear like a really good idea, but I couldn't oblige. Me, poop like a dog on the road? I could just see myself on the Miami Herald: "Cop is arrested for taking a sh*t in public." Thanks, I'll pass on that one!

I kept on walking towards the park looking like Quasimoto with a pancake ass. As I kept on walking, I prayed to God and made him promises that I would be the best human being if He would just let me hold that thing in. Moments later, I approached the park and saw the bathroom from a distance. Yay, a dirty and infested bathroom with no paper!!! I did not care. I waddled my body to the bathroom and seconds later I could hear angels singing above me. Thank you God!!

I will not tell you what happened after the 10 minutes I spent in the bathroom, nor will I volunteer to explain how I cleaned myself, but the point is, I made it to the bathroom.



Lessons learned:
1. Pregnant women, listen to me: Don't ignore what you're body tells you. If you need to go, GO!
2. Pregnant women cannot hold IT in like non-pregnant women can (That's because we have added pressure to our bladders and abdomen).
3. Make sure there's several bathrooms along your running routes.

 
What I'm thankful for:
1. I'm thankful that God threw me a bone and I didn't crap myself (I promise I'll be good..wink) ;)
2. I'm thankful for my t-shirt. Period.
 
 
And she lived happily ever after with one less running t-shirt...
 
 
Have you ever experienced anything like this?
 
 
 
-------------------------------------
I'm grateful for....Read story above.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pregnancy and Running Recovery

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello everyone! Today's topic, Pregnancy and Running Recovery, is extremely appropriate because I am HURTING! I ran 14.5 miles on Sunday and I feel like an old lady. Everything hurts! I mean everything. My legs hurt, my back hurts, my toes hurt, my arms hurt, blah blah blah. This totally sucks. This is probably the most frustrating part of pregnancy.

You see, pregnant women change in many ways. We change physically, emotionally and internally. By internally I mean our internal physiology, such as our vascular system, cardiac system, metabolic system, etc. These internal changes makes it harder for us to recover from the day to day exercises we do. Just being pregnant is an exercise! Even when pregnant women are sitting down, their bodies don't shut down. This explains why we need to consume more calories and rest more. Let me take you back to the topic of exercise recovery...



The following are things that change in a pregnant woman's body that affects exercise:

1. Increased blood volume
2. Increased heart rate
3. Increased cardiac output
4. Decreased vascular resistance
5. Metabolic changes
6. Weight gain
7. Increased oxygen consumption

You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, but just follow me. Here's a simple breakdown:

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are all inter-related. Pregnant women's blood volume (the amount of blood they have in their body) increases in order to provide the baby with life. The extra blood is used by the major organs to essentially preserve and protect the growing baby. Because the women need all this extra blood, their hearts pump faster and faster in order to keep the blood flowing and moving through their body. So basically, their circulatory system or vascular resistance is on over-drive.

Keep following me...

Numbers 5 and 7 are related like this: Pregnant women have a higher oxygen consumption (they need more oxygen), which impacts their metabolism. These metabolic changes take a lot of energy from the women, which causes them to be tired and fatigued.

Next issue...

Number 6: Weight gain in pregnant women increases the workload on the body because of the added weight. This causes poor circulation to the lower limbs, so they tend to get swollen legs and feet.

How it all comes together:

When pregnant women exercise, their heart rate increases, which means that their cardiac output is affected. They basically have to work harder to achieve a "normal" level of exercise. Because their body is protecting the baby, their circulatory system or vascular resistance slows down, which means that they get less oxygen to their muscles. And because their oxygen needs highly increase while they exercise, they need a lot more energy to perform these physical activities. Using up all this energy makes them really tired. So, the combination of extreme exhaustion from exercise, the lack of oxygen to the muscles and fluid retention in the body makes it a lot more difficult for pregnant women to recover from exercise. That's why they need more rest and more water. Did you catch all that?

So to sum it up in two words: I'M TIRED!



Have you ever felt pregnancy fatigue? Share your story!
 
 
------------------------------------
I'm grateful for the comfortable
bed I sleep on every night.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

My Weekend Re-cap and Sex Exposure

Hello friends and Happy Monday! 

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend because I know I did. I didn't do anything out of the norm, but doing nothing has become my favorite thing to do since I've been pregnant. I have found pure contentment in staying at home watching old movies while hubby and I barbecue some good food. It's the little things like reading a good book or going to a nice restaurant that I have found true enjoyment in doing. Perhaps it's because I get really tired by the end of the day, but whatever it is, I had a great weekend with my hubs. 

Let's see, what did I do? Pregnant women tend to get a lot of brain farts so bear with me while I try to re-cap my weekend. I decided to sleep in on Saturday morning, so at about noon I got ready and headed over to Footworks in South Miami to visit my friend and Newton sneaker educator, Christina Botero. Christina was presenting the new Newton sneakers: Energy NR and MV 3. 

Christina and I at Footworks

The Energy NR (OMG super comfortable! They felt like socks and fit like a glove).


The MV 3 Racers (They are lightweight and extremely comfortable. They're definitely a 5K shoe).


Christina gave me these hot pink Newton socks. I <3 them!


After visiting Christina, I went home and decided to go for an easy 4 miler. The weather was absolutely dreadful. It was muggy and hot. There was no way I could run more than 4 miles, so I went home after my run and did a quick HIIT workout that consisted of:

5 sets of:
20 air squats 
30 second plank holds

After a few hours of relaxing at home, the hubs took me, my mother-in-law and his cousin Casandra to Seasons 52. I love love that place because they change the menu every season and their meals are under 500 calories. I ordered the Vegetarian Tasting entree, which included, triple grain quinoa, cedar toasted tofu with mango chutney, a soft tact and seasonal veggies. 



On Sunday morning I woke up at 6:30 am and went for the long run of the week. I sported this new tank top that I bought online at For Two Fitness.

Running for two ;)


14.5 miles later...
I felt pretty good after the run. I made sure to stay hydrated during the run by drinking water at every water fountain and I kept the baby cool by splashing cool water in my belly. 


After what seemed to be a marathon, hubby and I went to church and then we decided to go here:

OMG we were so lost in there! We had no clue what anything was. We looked at some strollers and had no idea how to use them. After 30 minutes, we left and went home to watch some tutorials on the items that we looked at. Such amateurs, I KNOW =(

AND.... An update on the sex exposure  gender reveal of our baby....Drum roll....


It's a...

BOY!! Hubs and I decided on the name MYLES ;)


So, how was your weekend?


--------------------------------
I'm grateful for having the energy
to do the things that I love to do. 




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Friday, July 19, 2013

Fitness Fridays: #Fit In 2

Today's Workout:
8 mile run

Hello friends and TGIF! I am happy to say that the dreadful rain has mildly subsided in Miami. I woke up this morning at about 6:30 am and I heard nothing but my alarm clock (a change from the last few days). It felt like Niagara Falls was next to my window the last couple of days. Bye bye rain and hello humidity. It was pretty nasty and muggy this morning. According to The Weather Channel, the humidity was at 90% and the temps were at 86 degrees. UGH! Nevertheless, I laced up my shoes and put on my visor and headed for a run to Key Biscayne. It felt awesome!

 
Get FIT IN your community!
 
 


My goal for today's Fitness Friday post is to remind you all that running shouldn't be thought of as a boring or too-difficult-kind-of a sport. People have given me a medley of reasons as to why they don't run, and these include, "I'm too fat," "I'm too slow," "I'm too skinny," "I'm not coordinated," "My back and knees hurt," etc. While all those excuses may be true, I still encourage you all to at least give it a try. You don't have to a track star or an elite marathoner to be a runner, ANYONE can be a runner if they would at least try.

There's different ways to start running and one of those ways is by joining a social running group. You're probably thinking, "I'm too shy to join a group and I don't know anyone." Let me be the first to tell you that members of running groups are probably the most down to Earth people I have met. The unique thing about joining a running group is that everyone is there for a reason. The reasons range from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to stay fit, to wanting to make friends, to wanting to compete with other runners, etc. Everyone has an objective when they participate in a running group, so the members tend to be very welcoming of newcomers.
 
Other reasons to join a running group:
 
1. Get motivation from your group members.
2. Sharing the experience of running.
3. Establish friendships.
4. Get advice from other runners (and for free!) ;)
5. You will have a huge support system.
 
 
Despite what others may say, running clubs are a "stress free, no commitment" kind of place. They are super flexible and non-judgmental. The members are always willing to help and motivate you in reaching your goals. So, if you're a new runner or just need some company running, I humbly recommend joining your local running group. If you're in the Miami area, there's a running group called Team Footworks that gets together at least 3 times a week to run and do yoga.
 
As a matter of fact, tomorrow I'll be at Footworks to test out the new Newton sneakers. Newton educator Christina Botero will be giving a presentation on the new style of shoe from 9 am to 6pm.
 
 
Are you part of a running group? 
 
 
---------------------------
I'm grateful that I met up with
an old friend today to have lunch. It
was nice to reminisce.
 
 

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Best Price Nutrition Product Review

Hello friends! These were my workouts for today:

AM Workout:
5 mile run
 
PM Workout:
Dumbbell shoulder press
Dumbbell upright row
10 Burpees
 
Dumbbell floor press
Dumbbell floor flye
10 Burpees
 
Plank hold
Crunches
10 Burpees
 
Push ups
Tricep extensions
10 Burpees
 
Dumbbell curls
Hammer curls
10 Burpees
 
*Each exercise is done for 20 seconds and then you rest for 10 seconds. Do each exercise 4 times and then you move on to the next one.
 
 
 
Have you ever heard of Best Price Nutrition ? BPN are nutrition wholesalers from the Chicago area and they are known for their quality products and cheap prices. They sent me some cool products to test out and this is what I thought about them:
 
Garden of Life RAW Protein
My thoughts on it: I mixed in 1 packet of vanilla RAW Protein into 6oz of water. It tasted sweet and light. It didn’t have the chalky taste that some protein shakes have. The RAW Protein could be mixed with regular milk or almond milk. I think it would be even more delicious with almond milk.
Benefits of RAW Protein:
-It’s a plant-based protein versus coming from whey or soy.
-It’s made with organic sprouted protein.
-It’s gluten, dairy and soy free.
-It increases the protein content of your meals.
-You could drink RAW Protein after a workout or as a meal during the day.
 
 
 
 
Empyrean Beta Peptide
My thoughts on it: I mixed one small packet (of the fruit punch flavor) with 6oz of water. It had a fruity taste to it and it was a light drink.
Benefits of Beta Peptide:
-You can drink beta peptide before, during or after a workout.
-It’s a superfood which contains 29 organic fruits and vegetables.
-Increases strength and improves endurance.
-It speeds the recovery process after a workout.
-It increases muscle carnosine which delays muscle fatigue (this means longer and harder workouts).
-It doesn’t contain caffeine or stimulants (so you won't feel like you're on overdrive).
 
 
 
 
Garden of Life Vitamin Code
Benefits of Vitamin Code:
-The vitamins are recognized as a nutritious food source by your body.
-Increases bone strength.
-It’s made with raw food.
 
 
 
 
Cyto Greens for Athletes
My thoughts on it: A disclaimer before you drink Cyto Greens: Don't be afraid by its color and its consistency. Yes, it's a green drink and no, it does not taste like dirt. I was actually surprised by its fruity taste. It may not look like a fancy martini, but it sure tastes good and it's very nutritional for you!
Benefits of Cyto Greens:
-It’s a green superfood drink that’s filled with chlorophyll, spirulina, chlorella and matcha green tea. These ingredients aid in digestion and are potent antioxidants.
-It helps your muscles recover faster.
-Increases overall performance and decreases lactic acid levels.
-Increases endurance and stamina.
 


 
 
BPN has a bunch of nutritional products that range from vitamins to protein bars to protein powders to apparel to gym equipment. They have everything and anything you can imagine for working out. Check 'em out at www.bestpricenutrition.com.
 
 
What's your favorite protein powder?
 
 
 
--------------------------------
I'm grateful for all the laughs
I share with my co-workers.
#canttakelifetooseriously
 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Survival of the Fittest

Today's Workout:
5.5 mile run (with 30 second strides every minute on the last mile)

 
Hello everyone and Happy Hump Day!
 
Have you gotten sick this summer? It seems like everyone around me is catching a cold or some kind of virus. It's not unusual for people to get sick during the summertime because of the heat and poor hydration. The combination of those two things, combined with lack of sleep, poor eating habits and lack of exercise, makes us more susceptible to the common cold and flu. Do you know how to quickly get rid of your cold? Don't even bother with Emergen-C, Airborne or Echinacea, all you need is some exercise in your life. Yes people, just exercise!
 
Studies have shown  that people who are physically fit tend to have fewer colds and when they do get a cold, their symptoms are milder and last for fewer days. As you may imagine, people who are more likely to get sick are those who stress out too much, don't sleep enough, have bad eating habits and don't exercise.

 
These are the reasons why exercise helps beat the sniffles:
 
1. Exercise boosts the circulation of white blood cells (our fighter cells), which fights off viruses.
 
2. Exercise increases endorphins (this is the source of the "runner's high"), which spikes our immune cells (aka fighter cells) thus making our immune system stronger.
 
3. Active people tend to live healthier lives, so they usually eat healthy, sleep plenty and don't have any bad vices, such as smoking or heavy drinking.
 
 
You don't have to be a professional marathoner to beat the cold, all it takes is a mild walk at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day. This is a great way to remove toxins from your body, relieve stress, improve your mood and boost your energy. This is a classic case of survival of the fittest. So get motivated and get going, you won't regret it!

 
 
How do you beat the common cold?
 
 
------------------------------------
I'm grateful for the chats I have
with my mother on the phone
 while I drive home from work.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Tipster: My Pregnant Running Tips

Howdy friends!
 
I woke up this morning at 4:30 am to go for a 5 mile run like I usually do, then I suddenly heard the loudest thunder and what appeared to be Niagara Falls outside of my window. "Just great," I thought. I grabbed my cell phone and punched in Weather.com to see the forecast in Miami and as Murphy's Law would have it there was a 90% chance of rain until 6 am. I was both livid and relieved because that meant I could sleep in until 5:20 am (to be exact!). Needless to say, I ended up doing my workout/run during my lunch break at work.   
 
So, I decided to do a circuit workout with a 5 mile run incorporated into it. This was the breakdown:
 
 
1 mile jog

20 burpees
20 push-ups
20 air squats
20 crunches

1 mile jog

20 bench step-ups
20 bench dips
20 lunges (each leg)
20 ball crunches

1 mile jog

20 mountain climbers
20 bench push-ups
20 air squats
30 second plank hold

1 mile jog

15 burpees
15 bench dips
15 lunges (each leg)
15 crunches

1 mile jog

10 bench step-ups
10 push-ups
10 air squats
10 ball crunches

 
 
 
Erika's Pregnant Running Tips
 
 
Despite being a novice at all this pregnancy stuff, based on my 5 months of being pregnant, I have a few tips that I would like to share with you all. Watching my body change and my running pace decrease has been quite the journey for me. I felt a little frustrated at first, but as the weeks have passed I have learned to embrace this experience. Even though I am running slower and I take more breaks than usual, my body has amazingly been able to keep up with all the demands I have placed on it. My body has been good to me and I am proud of it. To my surprise, I have been able to run 6 times a week while incorporating a few circuit workouts during those days. I have learned a few things along the way which I believe may benefit any pregnant runner. Here's what I have learned:
 
 
1. Be proud of what you're able to do physically. It's not easy being pregnant because your body changes very quickly. But be happy even if you go out for a walk.
 
2. Pace doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how slow you run, just be glad that you're out there enjoying yourself and the beautiful weather.
 
3. Don't push yourself too hard. Listen to your body. If it's telling you to stop, then stop. If it's telling you to go, then go.
 
4. Give yourself a break. Don't be too tough on yourself. You have a little person growing inside of you which is taking up a lot of your energy. Rest and rest some more.
 
5. Use bodyglide. In my case, I have been using Vaseline. Make sure to put that stuff all over your body because you will chafe. Places to consider when putting on bodyglide: breasts, chest and inner thighs.
 
6. Drink lots of water. Make sure to drink water because your baby and you need it. Pregnant women can easily become dehydrated because the baby takes most of the water you consume.
 
7. Go to the bathroom before and after your runs. Due to the pressure we feel in our uterus, pregnant women often need to go to the bathroom. Make sure to empty your bladder before and after a run.
 
8. Keep a log of your workouts/runs. It'll be interesting to look back one day and see everything you did while you were pregnant. I keep my log at athleticore.com.
 
9. Enjoy the journey. Don't get frustrated because you're not as active or agile as you used to be. Yes, you're going to be slower and you're going to need more breaks, but hey, you're pregnant, throw yourself a bone!
 
*10. Take care of yourself and your baby. This is the most important thing!!!
 
 
Have you ever run while pregnant? Give me some insight!
 
 
 
----------------------------------
I'm grateful to be blogging
about my pregnancy experiences.
This has been a humbling experience. 

 
 

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Food Prep for the Week

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful and fit-tastic weekend. My weekend was pretty uneventful, but I was able to rest and recuperate from the work week. I ran 8 miles on Saturday and then I decided to do a long circuit workout on Sunday. It was pretty intense, but it felt amazing. Here's what I did:

2 mile warm-up
 
Followed by
3 sets of:
Jumping jacks x50
Weighted squats (holding a medicine ball over-head) x20
Squat jumps x20
Alternating lunges (each leg) x20
Burpees x15
Push ups x25
Mountain climbers x30
Crunches x50
Plank hold x30 seconds
400 meter run
Stairs (4 stories high)
*No rest in between circuit workouts, but a 1:30 minute rest between sets.
 
I must admit that I felt pretty drained after that workout. I had plans to go to a pool party later in the afternoon, but my body said "NO WAY!" Anyway, I ended up going to church and then I went home. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies and relaxing.
 
I watched The Call
This flick was awesome!!
 
 
Then I watched Playing for Keeps
Gerard Butler is the ultimate hottie ;)
 
 
 
After watching the movies I did the usual: Sunday Night Food Prep for the Week. Here's a quick glance at what I prepared:
 
On the menu (from left to right):
 
Lunch: Grilled chicken with sweet potato
Lunch (side dish): Black bean and corn salad
Snack: Hard-boiled eggs
Snack: Hummus
Snack: Cherries
Snack: Peaches
Snack: Walnuts
 
 
How I prepared the meals:
 
I prepared the chicken with garlic powder, parsley, oregano and basil. Then I cooked it on the
barbeque.
 
 
I wrapped the sweet potato in cellophane paper and I microwaved them for about 8 minutes.
 
 
Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
 
Directions:
1. Mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, parsley and oregano.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together black beans and corn. Toss with vinegar and oil dressing.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
 
 
I got 2 cartons of eggs and placed the eggs in two pots and cooked them until ready.
 
And voila, meals for the week were done!
 
What did you do this weekend?
 
 
 
-------------------------------
I'm grateful for spending Saturday
night with my parents and sister. My dad cooked
dinner for my mother, sister and me.

 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Fitness Fridays: #Fit in

Today's Workout:
6 mile run

Hello friends and TGIF!

Today I want to talk about fitting in. Yes, you read correctly: FITTING IN. You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, but hear me out. Wouldn't it be nice to feel super confident about yourself? Wouldn't it take a burden off your shoulders to look at yourself in the mirror and love what you see no matter what's there? Wouldn't it be totally empowering to have control over your life? Well, let me tell you that you can do all those things and more.

As summertime unfolds, some of us are still trying to shed those extra pounds that hound us. We may feel disappointed that we haven't lost all the weight we anticipated to lose. We may also feel frustrated and blame our flabbiness to the proverbial "fat gene" that we possess. No matter what the case may be, you must ask yourself a question, "Do you live to eat or eat to live?" Some of us eat when we feel anxious or stressed out and some of us eat for the sheer contentment that it brings.

I believe that in order to lose weight you must first ask yourself why do you want to lose weight? Is it to please others and/or society? Is it because you are tired of carrying extra weight? Or is it because you want to be healthier? To lose weight you must first mentally prepare yourself to do it. When I decided to lose weight, I told myself that this would be a lifestyle change; I never referred to it as a diet. I assessed the reasons why I wanted to lose weight, which included: A) I was tired of carrying extra weight, B) I was tired of not fitting in to certain clothes, C) I was tired of having people look at me in a funny way, D) I was tired of huffing and puffing when I walked and went up stairs, etc. I then took a good look at myself and decided to make this lifestyle change because it was necessary. It was necessary for my health and for my future as a young adult. I wanted to step out of comfort zone and try something new and challenging. I knew it would be difficult to break old habits (eating bad, not exercising, etc), but I was ready for the challenge. I found that the battle to losing weight is often won or lost in your head.

Let me offer you some tips on how to mentally prepare yourself to lose weight:
 
1. Change your mindset. You must first decide why you want to lose weight, then you must tell yourself that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. You must understand that this is not a crash diet, but weight control instead. By framing it in this way, chances are that you will stick with it for the long run versus quickly giving up.
 
2. Create a meal plan. Plan your meals for the week and prepare them ahead of time (click here  for a sample meal plan for the week). Planning your meals will also be a guide for grocery shopping, cooking, eating out, and avoiding unplanned indulgences. If you decide to eat out, go online and see if the menu is on their website.
 
3. Journal your meals and exercise activities. This may seem like a tedious task, but trust me it works! I still document everything I eat and I have a running log. This is a great way to see your progress and to see what works or does not work for you. Remember, you may reach a plateau while trying to lose weight, so this will offer you a way to analyze the problems and thus find solutions to the problems that have derailed you.
 
4. Set a realistic timetable to lose weight. Don't add pressure to yourself by trying to lose weight quickly. Be realistic and set attainable limits. By maintaining this frame of mind, you'll stick to your strategy and you won't give up. Keep this same mind frame with exercising. So what if you're not a track star. If walking makes you feel better, then walk. You'll be jogging and running before you know it!
 
5. Believe in yourself. You must have faith in yourself and believe that you can do it. It might take a while, but that's ok. And just know, that it's ok to fall off the bandwagon sometimes. We are not perfect, so don't be too hard on yourself.
 
6. Be choosy about your rewards. I spoke about rewards earlier in the week when I addressed the issue of cravings. Don't reward your progress with a "cheat" food, but rather reward yourself with a massage or a concert or some fashion accessories. You're giving food too much power when you reward yourself with it. Food doesn't deserve so much praise, you do!
 
7. Have a weight loss support network. By confiding with friends and family, you are holding yourself accountable to your lifestyle change. Accountability is a great motivator because you are essentially making a pact with yourself while others encourage you to follow through with it. A support network is also helpful because your friends and family can help you and motivate you to continue.
 
 
So my friends, today I tell you that I want to see you fit in, but not fit in as in belonging to society, but fitting in to your clothes and fitting in to the amazing person you are.
 
 
 
 
 
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I'm grateful for the surprise
letters that my far away friends
send me because they're thinking of me. 
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Circuit Training May Increase Running Speed

Hello Friends!
 
These were my workouts for today:
 
AM Workout: 5.5 mile run
 
PM Workout: 30 minute circuit training
Bench press - max in 1:00 min
Weighted squats - max in 3:00 min
Pulldowns - max in 1:00 min
Run – for 5:00 min
Military press - max in 1:00 min
Lunges - max in 3:00 min
Bicep curls - max in 1:00 min
Run – for 5:00 min
Tricep extensions - max in 1:00 min
Weighted squats - max in 3:00 min
Weighted lunges - max in 3:00 min
4 sets of 30 second planks
2 sets of 20 reps of crunches
 
 
Did you know that circuit training could make you a faster runner? Circuit training is designed to give your body an entire workout, so it's meant to improve your cardio fitness while enhancing strength, stamina and mobility.
 
So how does circuit training work? Circuit training is composed of a burst of resistance/strength exercises (think weight training) that target specific muscle groups with layers of aerobic exercises (think cardio training). Circuit training is basically a combination of strength exercises and cardio. The workout that I did today is an example of a circuit training workout.
 
Why does circuit training make you a fast runner? The short bursts of exercises in circuit training activates your fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers are cells that are located in your muscle tissue that allow your muscles to contract. The fibers contract very fast and are resistant to fatigue. These type of fibers are infrequently found in humans because they require deliberate activation. A way to activate these fibers is by performing circuit-type exercises. The key to improved strength, speed and power is by consistently training fast twitch fibers.
 
There are other types of exercises that increase speed, such as sprinting, weight lifting and interval training.
 
Benefits of Circuit Training:
 
1. Get maximum results in little time. Most workouts last about 30 minutes, so you're in and out of the gym.
 
2. Mix cardio and strength training. Circuit training allows you to mix in cardio and weights, so you never get bored of your workouts.
 
3. Get your metabolism moving. Because circuit training is quick and intense, your metabolism will speed up into high gear thus burning more calories.
 
4. Beats boredom. Circuit training allows you to use new gym equipment like TRXkettlebells and Bosu and there are a bunch of workout routines you can do.
 
Sample Circuit Training Routine
 
 
 
Have you ever tried a circuit training routine?
 
 
 
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I'm grateful for the sweet taste
of almond butter. It feeds my pregnancy
craving everyday.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Why do we get cravings?

Today's Workout:
5.5 mile run

Good afternoon friends! Today I want to talk about why we get cravings and how we can teach ourselves to curb those cravings. When you think of a "craving food" what do you imagine?

 
Decadent Chocolate?
 
A Succulent Burger?
 
Mouth-watering Fries?
 
Crispy and Crunchy Chips?
 
Or perhaps a Luscious Candy Bar?
 
Getting hungry yet?
 
 
 
Have you ever wondered why we get these sudden urges to eat certain foods? Sometimes the desire to eat a certain food is so great that we just cave in and satisfy our urge. This may leave us feeling guilty and remorseful afterwards. Psychologists and scientists have suggested that food cravings may result from different situations. These may be some of the reasons why we crave food:
 
 
1. We associate good memories with certain foods and/or meals. For example, we may associate a piece of cake to a birthday celebration.
 
2. Not enough variety in our diet. When we eat a whole balanced diet, we tend to have less cravings because our nutritional needs are being met. A whole balanced diet includes, complex carbs, veggies, meat, nuts, good fats, fruits, grains, legumes, etc.
 
3. A hormonal imbalance. When we feel stressed or anxious we get cravings because fatty and sugary foods boost our serotonin levels, which has a calming effect. This calming effect lowers our stress and anxiety.
 
4. Restricting foods. When we restrict certain foods from our diet we tend to crave them because we are lacking variety in what we eat. This usually leads to bingeing.
 
5. Unhealthy food is highly accessible and promoted. Marketing tools utilized by companies have a savvy way of enticing us to eat the bad foods, such as burgers, buttery popcorn, candy bars, beer, etc. These foods are highly marketed and can be attained easily and for a very cheap price.
 
6. We reward ourselves with unhealthy food. For example, a parent may reward good grades with a Happy Meal at McDonald's or one may reward oneself with a box of pizza for getting a promotion.
 
So what can we do to resist the temptation of eating all these heavenly-tasting foods?
 
1. Eat healthy food. When you eat a balanced and nutritional diet your body won't ask you for bad foods because you're giving it what it needs.
 
2. Add nutritional supplements to your diet. We may be lacking certain vitamins in our diet, so this would be a great way to fulfill the recommended dosage.  These may include omega-6, a multi-vitamin, Vitamin D, etc.
 
3. Exercise.
 
4. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep raises our cortisol levels which make us feel hungry and thus makes us crave food.
 
5. Pick a low calorie option. If you want a certain bad food, substitute it for a healthier option. For example, if you're craving chips opt for pretzels instead.
 
6. Distract yourself. When you get an urge to eat something unhealthy do something else that will get your mind off of it. For example, you could go for a walk or call a friend.
 
7. Eat a variety of food. Don't place too many limits on what you can or cannot eat. It's important to eat with moderation so that you don't binge later on the foods that you restrict.
 
8. Get the trigger foods out of the house. Everyone has different foods that make them fall into temptation. For some people this may be chocolate and for others it may be tortilla chips. If you know that you can't control your portions with these foods, then eliminate them from your household.
 
9. Give in every now and then. Don't be too strict with yourself. If you enjoy eating chocolate chip cookies, then have a cookie once a week. Don't eliminate the bad foods from your life because this leads to cravings.
 
10. Reward yourself with different things. Instead of going out for a 3 course meal because you passed a test or got promoted at work, treat yourself to a massage.
 
 
So relax a little and don't be too hard on yourself. Have a cookie like me =)!!!
 
What foods do you crave?
P.S. I crave tortilla chips =)~
 
 
 
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I'm grateful for my pen-pal/friend Melissa
from Massachusetts. Besides being a great
friend, she also gave me my first baby book.
 


 

 
 
 
 


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