Tips for Working Out at Home

Evening! I hope that you had a great Tuesday. Mine was busy. The whole time I was at work was go go go, until I left, an hour after I was scheduled to. It was a great day though, but I know I didn’t have enough to drink because I have a killer headache now. My glasses are on and I am hydrating, and hopefully I will be good to go before bed 🙂

For about the past three months, I’ve been mainly working out at home. I felt like once I got really into running, it wasn’t worth the money I was spending since I wanted to do the majority of my workouts outside. Once I invested in the ChaLEAN Extreme workout DVDs, I loved it even more because I could get in a great strength workout at home, without a lot of equipment.

Working out at home is definitely a double edged sword, on one hand you don’t have to drive anywhere, nor do you have to spend a lot of money on a gym membership. But on the other hand, [I think] you need a lot more discipline.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I would share some of my at-home workout tips:

  • You don’t need fancy equipment. I have two resistance tubes (the ones with the handles, you can REALLY up the intensity and get a great burn in, trust me), 5 lb. hand weights, a resistance band, and a good yoga matt. I didn’t buy them all at once either, I accumulated them over the years. Jump ropes are fantastic. I should get one.
  • Dress up for the gym. Wear workout clothes and shoes, not pjs and slippers. Your body will feel better for it, and your mind will be more into it. Shoes give you a stable foundation which is vital for injury prevention (for me anyways, everyone is different and I am no expert).
  • Take the time to schedule in your workout. This is huge because the couch is RIGHT THERE. Don’t say (as I often do) “I will just workout sometime after work.” Nope, not going to happen. Take the time to schedule in your workout, and in my opinion, the earlier the better, when possible.
  • Organize your space. We live in a cozy little house, and I don’t have a huge living room, nor a room I can dedicate all to fitness (just WAIT until we get a house with a sun room, it’s going to be awesome). A messy house is a HUGE distraction for me, and I find it a lot harder to focus on my workouts when I have clutter distracting me.
  • Make your gear accessable. This is another big deal, don’t hide it away in a closet or in the entertainment center. Out of site out of mind, right?
  • Make a schedule and make it visible. My training schedule is up on the fridge, but even if you aren’t training for something in particular, take some time each month to map out your workouts and make a plan. That way you don’t have to think about what to do once you’re ready to workout, it’s already ready to go.
  • Minimize excuses. Get dinner in the oven, tell the kids to play quietly in their rooms, ask the husband to give you some time alone, whatever works for you so that you won’t become distracted and cut your workout short. But on the other hand, if you DO get distracted, COME BACK. It’s better to take a 20 minute break to deal with something and come back than to just let the rest of your workout go.
  • Get DVDs. Want workout DVDs for free? Hit up the library. Most larger city or county libraries will let you order from other branches and pick up wherever is most convenient for you. Check out their website! But don’t rely on DVDs, you can also find great free workouts online, just poke around.
  • Incorporate some quiet time into your workout. This is something that I LOVE to do before the day starts. For me it really sets the tone for my day. After your workout, just sit, stand, stretch, or whatever, and take a moment to feel how great your body feels after working out.

Do you workout at home? Do you have any fancy equipment? I know I say it about 100 times a day, but I would love a treadmill for the wintertime, with an iPad stand haha. Or a spin bike in front of the TV, why not be productive while watching 200 episodes in a row of 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother and Felicity

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Uncharted Territory

Good afternoon! I hope you are having a lovely day so far. I have been a busy bee and didn’t realize how late it was. I just finished a larabar and some tea, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up before my 4 mile (easy) run I have on the books today.

Speaking of mileage, I am officially in unchartd territory. I’ve talked a little about my history with running, but I’ve never run father than 4 miles at one time. Until last week.

(The first 7 and 5 had a few miles of scheduled walking. From Daily Mile) but my 5 mile long run is the farthest I’ve ever run. In. My. Life. Pretty crazy to think about! Especially since I am just over a third of the way there.

I know this sounds silly, but it never really dawned on me that I would be running this far. I mean, I knew I would be running, but I never realized how much. Suddenly, I see that after today, I’ve run farther than 100 miles since I started training. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have thought you were nuts.

I realized today that there was really only two ways I could think of this. One, I could become scared and uncertain because I have crossed the line into the unknown. OR, I can realize that I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible and I am going to continue to soar.

I chose the latter.

Maybe I am not as fast as I hope to be, or I am not as slim as I want to be, or one thing or another. But I can’t focus on that. I can focus on listening to body and pushing myself to my limits, and beyond. That’s the ONLY way accomplish something amazing.

I’d love to hear new accomplishments you are proud of, they don’t need to be any kind of fitness or running related! Share something you are excited about, don’t be shy! Take a minute to brag about yourself, I know you deserve it 🙂

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Morning! As I’ve been struggling to lose weight the last few months and then adding on this HUGE task of completing a half marathon, I’m beginning to realize something. People lie.

A lot.

“Oh once I cut out all cheese, the weight just disappeared!”
“I just started running, and I shrank!”
“If I have a fitness goal then the pounds just fall off.”
“I don’t know, it just happened!”
“Your body naturally wants to be thin, you just have to listen to it.”

LIES. All of it lies. Maybe not intentionally and maybe some of it is true for that person, but I think that a lot of time people (myself included) get this idea that once they find their secret weapon, the weight will just disappear.

Well I am here to tell you that that’s usually not the case. And that just one thing is not going to be the magic spell that makes the scale show results you’ve been wishing for. Yes, there may be a tipping point (sorry Caitlin, but you have a good thing going!) that affects all other aspects of your life and makes the decisions more of a “no brainer” but I am here to tell you that there is no quick fix.

There is hard work, dedication, and a lot of sweat and tears. You are going to have a good week, and then you are going to have a bad week. You are going to feel like a rockstar, and you are going to feel like crap.

I think that a lot of time people truly believe that there was ONE thing that changed it all for them. I even did it myself a few years ago. I lost 20 lbs. and I would say things like “Oh I just started walking more” or “I just cut out junk and look!” And even now, when I look back, I don’t remember suffering or feeling like I wanted to die. I read The 5 Factor Diet made a commitment to stick with it, and saw real results.

The truth was, it was 5 days a week in the gym and eating healthy, well portioned meals. It was changing my entire lifestyle to no longer just eat takeout and to space out my calories throughout the day. It was persevering even when I wanted to quit. And yes, some of it was making some simple small changes that made a world of difference. But in the end, the only one thing that changed was ME.

I’ve been mentally struggling with my lack of weight loss, and I’ve caught myself thinking, well if I could just find that ONE thing that would make this all easier, then I would be fine. It’s not one thing. It’s not easy. It’s really hard work! AAnd making a TRUE commitment to change that will show you the results you want.

I think I needed this much of a reminder as anyone. Do you ever find yourself thinking you just need to find the “magic” component to achieve your goals? Even if they aren’t weight loss related?

Overtraining Signs

So yesterday’s workout was a huge and epic fail. I went to the gym to get my walk/run/walk on on the treadmill, and it wasn’t all that bad at first. I was looking forward to it hurting my shins less and being able to control my pace. The first two miles of walking were fine, then I started running. OUCH. So much ouch. I just felt like my legs were so heavy and ugh, it was not great. Then my husband told me that he wasn’t feeling well and would wait for me downstairs, but I still had 2 more miles to do.

As he was walking away, I looked back, tripped, my arm caught on my headphone cord, my iPhone flew off the treadmill, and the back completely shattered. I am so glad I just bought that $34 case when it did NOTHING to protect my phone. I should be happy that I didn’t fall and fly off the treadmill, but I’m not. (Also, one of these days I need to do a post about my weird fear of falling off the treadmill haha.)

It still seems to be working, but I am just so annoyed. At this point I just left, I was too mad. Maybe not the best idea, but I would most likely have lost my temper, not the best thing to do in a crowded gym.

Yesterday I was feeling really odd, super tired, sluggish, and at one point dizzy. I was ravenous for anything containing carbs, and was hungry about every two hours. All symptoms that I am coming down with something (for me anyways) something that just can’t happen right now, and something I know can be a sign of overtraining.

This article from Runner’s World (aka my Bible) has some good info about over training, as well as includes a handy quiz to help you determine your overtraining. I took the test and I am at a 12, and 15 means you may be overtraining, as does this feeling of my legs feeling heavy. Something I’ve been dealing with the past few days. Something to keep an eye on, and use as an excuse to nap more. Sorry boss, I need to take a 3 hour lunch break so that I can go nap.   

I think I know why my legs are so tired, I did a BUNCH of leg work on my weight training day last week. I think I just shot them to heck, and then I tried to continue my running. Smart self.

So, no more lunges, squats or things like in the amount I did them last week. I am going to focus my strength training on my upper body and abs as well as working on things like my shins and my inner and outer thighs, and stretching.

I think the real key here is to listen to your body, and find the balance between pushing yourself past your limit in a good way, and pushing it to the point that you are injured or sick, something I think that all athletes struggle with as some point.

Have you found that balance? What works for you? Runners, do you do leg exercises? Or is it too much? Nonrunners, what exercise is your FAVORITE?

Again, being proactive about training instead of reactive is one of the best things you can do, and remember, I have zero medical qualifications. I may work in a hospital, but I majored in PR 🙂

Training Update: Week 1

Holy cow, one week down, seven to go until my half marathon!

This week was GREAT! I felt like I was challenged and pushing myself without feeling like I was going to keel over and die. OK, I kind of felt like that on Monday because I was so unprepared for the cold, but other than that, things are going well.

Here is what I did:
Monday: walk 2 miles, run 1 mile, walk 2 miles.
Tuesday: 2 weights circuits
Wednesday: 1 mile easy run + abs
Thursday: REST
Friday: same as Monday
Saturday: REST (I swapped Saturday and Sunday, I was a little hung over haha, woops!)
Sunday: 2 mile “long” run

I felt great the first few days, then I started to feel a little sluggish. Yesterday my legs felt like lead and that I couldn’t lift them high enough to run. My average pace was SO slow compared to the beginning of the week, I don’t really know what happened. Oh wait. Three glasses of wine happened and I am not 21 anymore you say? Well FINE.

What I want to work on: My overall energy level. I think it may have been the crazy stressful week I had last week, but I was dragging. I also want to work on pacing and pushing myself. An “easy” one mile should not be me going out and pushing it and having a new mile PR. But on the other hand, walking should not consist of sauntering, I should be speed walking!

I also need to plan out my routes better and possibly get a gym membership. For example, I have 6 miles to do tonight, and I honestly don’t see that happening outside. I am going to run out of daylight for sure and I just don’t feel comfortable running alone in the dark. I am also not good at visualizing what 6 miles is on foot (or anyway for that matter). I did this huge loop on Friday only to discover that it was barely 4 miles.

All in all, I think it was a super successful week! On one hand I am feeling apprehensive about the entire half marathon and that I might not be ready in time. But on the other hand, I know I’ve done all I can to set myself up for success by having an ironed out training plan, a mapped out meal plan, and a positive attitude and determination.  All I need to do is stick to the plan and it will all work out for the best.

Healthy Holidays Part 4 + Recipe: Mac(less) & Cheese

Hi there!! Happy Sunday to you! I’m all cozied up on the couch, my husband is watching football, and I am blogging. Fun times. We also got a sugar cookie scented candle, which just makes everything cozier, in my opinion.

This weekend I am making a table centerpiece involving a ridiculous amount of gold glitter. I can’t wait. We (read: me, my husband could care less) decided to go with a gold and cream color scheme this year with our decorations. I can’t WAIT to get our tree next weekend. Here is a sneak (and unfinished) peak of an element of the center piece:

One aspect of having a healthy holidays that I think is sometimes overlooked is stress. I think for a lot of us for so many reasons (money, family, travel, work, and just being busy) really leads to more stress, which no matter what your goals are is not healthy.

So remember to do what you need to do to reduce your stress. Shop online to avoid the crowds (this has been huge for me), space out your purchases so that they don’t overwhelm your bank account (this is why we bought all our decorations before we bought a tree, it helps), and most importantly of all, remember what the holidays are all about.

It’s about spending time with the people close to you, not stressing about having six people at your house for dinner, or getting a gift for the hostess of that party you are going to, or how much money you spent on your family’s gifts.

Take some time this week to write out what is stressing you out and what you can do to change it. Or, if there’s nothing you can do to avoid it, take some time to deal with your stress better. Hit the gym and work out that stress (running really helps me) or maybe try out a new fitness class. Schedule some alone time that is not holiday related at all like reading or cleaning (unless that makes you stress more) and don’t feel bad about it one bit!

Another huge one that I realized over Thanksgiving, is letting go and remembering to ask for help. Something I am not good at, especially in the kitchen. I decided to put my husband in charge of the yams. It worked out just fine, and was a lot less for me to worry about.

One last tip, be aware of unhealthy ways that you react to stress and find a new way to relieve it. For example, my familial stress leads RIGHT to me grabbing something unhealthy and pigging out. Not worth it! I’ve started putting on some music and going for a walk, and it really helps 🙂

And, if you really want some creamy yummy comfort food that won’t leave you feeling like you completely ruined your goals, try this Mac(less) & Cheese recipe. It’s pretty amazing!

Mac(less) & Cheese (makes 4 servings) 

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and cooled slightly (see how I cook them here)
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 375º. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a bowl. Add goat cheese, 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, and the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Transfer to a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese on top is melty, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with paprika and pepper and enjoy! We had it with a turkey burger, and it was amazing.

Even my husband, who is not a squash fan loved this. He mentioned something about the amount of cheese in it making it as good as it is, but it really wasn’t that much cheese, so I figured out the nutritional info, just because I was curious.

Not too shabby! I think the fat factor was from the goat cheese. If you feel like that’s too much use half goat cheese, half nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

Are you stressed about the upcoming holidays? If so what about? 

And a somewhat random question: Do you like having nutritional info included in recipes you find online? I’m not sure if I want to include it all the time, but I know it can be helpful.