12-31-2013

2014 Goals + My December Favorites

Does anyone else not want it to be a new year on certain years because they don’t like the numbers? 13 is my lucky number so I loved 2013, but I hate the number 14 haha. Maybe I’m just weird…

Anyway, I wanted to talk about my 2014 goals, since it is that last day of 2013!! Can you believe it?!

Here is what I wrote for what I wanted to accomplish in 2013. PS – this post may get a little lengthy…

  • Improve on my 5K, half-marathon and marathon times - I want to get faster all around. This year my mom and I will be doing a few half marathons and the New York City Marathon. My main goal is to take NYC with a vengeance and not suffer as much as I did the first time. How will I do this? I will follow Marc’s training plans and not skip runs. I want to run minimum 4x a week but will strive for 5-6 depending on my shin pain. I will also make an effort to cross train more.
  • Starting with just the month of January, I will try to do something fitness related every day - Doesn’t have to be much, but whether it’s running, lifting or just 20 minutes of yoga, I want to be active every day and see if I can keep this streak up in January. Depending on how it goes, I want to continue it throughout the year!
  • Be able to do 5 pull ups in a row -How will I do this? I will do pull up specific exercises every time I lift, which is hopefully 3-4x a week!
  • Graduate with my Master’s in May with a GPA no less than 3.9 - I had a 4.0 until this semester =( but I really want to keep it at 3.9 now and finish out with a bang.
  • Get a full time job I am excited about! *crossing fingers*
  • Keep a budget and track my spending - I did this for a while but stopped. I need to get back to it to make sure I am not over spending and that I’m saving enough. How will I do this? Every paycheck I will dissect down into where my money should go, and give myself a limit for money spent on shopping.
  • Eat much healthier and cleaner – How will I do this? For the past 2 weeks, I have been eating really clean, and allowing myself 1 small “cheat” per day, whether it’s a piece of chocolate, a cookie, etc. Letting myself eat 1 thing I wanted per day allowed me to not feel deprived. I will continue this, but obviously exceptions will be made for holidays or birthdays!

Now let’s see what I actually got done:

  • Improve on my 5K, half-marathon and marathon times - I didn’t really race many 5ks this year, but all of my focus was on the marathon. While I didn’t PR in the half, I’m ok with that because I only did 1 half marathon the entire year. I did get a 33 minute PR at the NYC Marathon, so I think that makes up for everything else ;)
  • Starting with just the month of January, I will try to do something fitness related every day - I did keep this up in January but wasn’t stringent with it the whole year. I do like to believe I am pretty active every day, as I work out 5x a week, but also make sure to take walking breaks at work so I’m not sitting for hours on end.
  • Be able to do 5 pull ups in a row - Noooo :( Sadly, strength training went by the wayside once I started marathon training. But I am working hard on pullups currently!
  • Graduate with my Master’s in May with a GPA no less than 3.9 - CHECK!
  • Get a full time job I am excited about! While I don’t have a full-time job, I am doing something I’m excited about. I started my own social media marketing business, and am working with several clients and hoping to grow in 2014!
  • Keep a budget and track my spending - I did do this for a time being, but haven’t been as good about it lately. Really need to get back to this!
  • Eat much healthier and cleaner – I’d say for the most part, this happened. While some splurges may have happened after my half marathon and after my marathon (hey, I just trained for months on end!) I kept a healthy diet for the most part. I like eating healthy, as it helps me feel better too.

Alright, now time for my 2014 goals! Going along with how I set up my 2013 goals, I will state each goal AND how I plan on accomplishing them. Setting up a plan is the best way to make sure you don’t forget about your resolutions by February!

2014 goals

  • Let’s try this again: Be able to do 3-5 unassisted pull-ups – I’ve been working hard on pull-ups the past 5 weeks, so hopefully I can get there! I decreased my weight on the assisted machine by 15 lbs today so I’m making progress :) How will I do this? Continue incorporating pull-ups into my routine, but also getting stronger at other back lifts (rows), and working on my biceps.
  • Get a 5K PR – I have no long distance runs planned this year, since I kind of want to take the year to do shorter races and get faster…and focus on lifting. So I think I have a shot at doing this! How will I do this? By doing workouts that will help me get faster such as hill sprints (I’ve been doing 2-3 mile runs with lots of hill sprints incorporated), track workouts, and continuing to incorporate longer runs.
  • Do a blog redesign and transfer over to wordpress.org – I’ve been working on this for the past month or so, but designing a blog is hard! Hiring someone to do it can be costly so for now I’m going to try to work on it myself. How will I do this? Reading books on wordpress, learning basic html through codeacademy, and trial and error.
  • FINALLY finish my online training plans and start an online 8 week workout program – Honestly, the training plan has been getting pushed off though I still work on it when I can…I’ve just been busy! I’d love to finish that, and start an 8 week online workout program which will be an online community, but also members will be sent workouts from me each week. How will I do this? Dedicating a certain amount of time each week to working on this.
  • Raising awareness for my Etsy shop and the charity that it helps - In case you haven’t seen my posts about it, my mom and I opened up an online shop to sell duffel bags, tote bags…you name it. 10% of the proceeds goes to a charity called Manitos, which helps children diagnosed with cancer in Paraguay. Please check it out! How will I do this? Dedicating time to working on marketing my shop, but also dedicating time to making new products.
  • Read a minimum of 5 new books - I slacked on reading this year…well, actually I probably did read close to 5 books. But I’d like to read more in 2014! How will I do this? Spending at least 10 minutes each night before bed reading instead of being online.
  • Making more YouTube videos – I started my YouTube channel a while ago, but hadn’t posted on it for a few months. I’m planning on posting more workout videos and how-to videos in 2014, so please subscribe! How will I do this? Yet again, I will dedicate time on the weekends to film and edit videos, and have them ready for the week. I will need to set aside time to brainstorm ideas as well.

And that last point leads me to my newest video, which is my December favorites!

Hopefully 2014 is an awesome year. I really do love new year’s because it feels like there are so many possibilities ahead of you. Hope everyone has a great New Year’s Eve!

Have you made your goals/resolutions? What are they?

Are you doing anything fun for New Year’s Eve?

Where do you get your workout clothes?

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12-30-2013

Thinking Out Loud: Resolutioners At The Gym

It’s that time of year where people are making their resolutions. It’s also that time of year that we hear gym-goers complain about the resolutioners.

I can certainly see both sides of this, which is why I wanted to write about it. I wanted to hear what you all think.

Viewpoint #1: Resolutioners Are Annoying

I’ve heard this from friends, read it on Tumblr, and even thought it myself at times. People post about being annoyed that the gym is packed, and it is harder to get a workout in.

Admittedly, it is annoying when the gym is packed, at ANY point during the year, now just new years. I mean, I get annoyed on Mondays when the gym is really packed…yet empty on Friday evenings ;)

Here are some quotes I found on Tumblr:

“Doesn’t it suck when you want to go workout but you also don’t want to because all the friggin resolutioners are taking up all the machines”

“i hate new years when everyone’s resolution is to ‘lose weight’ or ‘get fit’. i understand the desire the lose weight, that’s why we joined the gym. but we did it in august. not because it was a new year or whatever. we did it because we felt we needed to, not because society said we should.”

I understand the second quote a bit because it is interesting to me that so many people choose Jan. 2 to get fit or healthy. I understand it is a new year, but I also wonder how many people thought about starting to work out in October or November, but said “I’ll wait until the new year.” Why wait?

Viewpoint #2: Be Supportive

I will admit…the other day I was venting to my boyfriend about packed the gym was the day after Christmas, and his roommate said, “The resolutioners are coming earlier this year.” I laughed, and my boyfriend called us gym snobs :-P

He actually is one of those people who will be going to the gym after new years. He said, he pays for his gym membership so he has the right to use it (obviously) as he pleases, as do any other people who sign up for new years. He said that as a personal trainer, I should be happy they are trying to be healthy (I am).

His roommate said he is mainly annoyed by them because they are there for a few weeks, then fizzle out. They crowd the gym while others have been working at it all year. While “a third [of resolutions] are ditched by the end of January, [and] four out of five people simply give their resolutions up” Dan (my boyfriend) said, no one goes into the new year thinking that they will be part of this statistic.

Here are other quotes I found on Tumblr:

“Is the inconvenience to me worth more than the health of others? Hell no. New Years Resolutioners, I urge you to continue to work out, kick ass, and drive me a little insane. ;)”

Keep in mind, some of us find it easier to stick to a healthy, fit lifestyle than others… Imagine how discouraging it would be to have people making fun of your efforts! Instead of mocking the “newbies”, we should encourage them to keep working toward their goals! Remember, we all had to start somewhere!

I do also agree with these quotes. We did all have to start somewhere, and it’s very possible many of us started on a January 2nd, and are still living up to our old resolution.

While I can see both sides to this “controversy,” here is what I hope: I hope that those who are hitting the gym next week continue to do so throughout the year. I hope those wanting to start a healthy lifestyle can maintain it.

If your resolution is to go to the gym and eat healthier, I hope you crush it! Take those statistics and kick their @$$. As I posted earlier this morning, you have a “365 page book” ahead of you, with blank pages.

Is your resolution to go to the gym more?

What do you think about resolutioners/this topic? Do you see both sides?

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12-30-2013

Motivational Monday

Can you believe it is almost 2014?? This year seriously flew by. I feel like every month went by quickly and I was thinking, “Wow it’s _____ already?!”

I love New Years. To me, it’s a fresh start and a new year to go after your goals. Which is why I love this quote:

While tomorrow isn’t Jan. 1 yet, I’m sure you all can relate. I don’t think it is necessary to make resolutions in order to really appreciate the new year.

Don’t make resolutions just to make them. Really think about your goals. The most important thing is to plan out how you will accomplish those goals, as opposed to just saying, in 2014 I want to do X. How will you get there?

I’m going to do a separate post about my goals, and I’d love for you to share with me what yours are! We can hold each other accountable ;)

Do you make new year’s resolutions?

Do you love or hate (or are indifferent) to New Years Eve celebrations?

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12-28-2013

Happy Holidays!

I haven’t posted in about a week, but I’ve been pretty busy and enjoying time with family. My uncle who lives in Florida came up to visit us, and we haven’t seen him in about 7 years because he moved to Paraguay for a period of time. Since he’s the only family we have here in the US, it is great to be spending time with him!

As per Paraguayan (and other Latin countries do this as well) tradition, we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We have a big dinner, and stay up until midnight to say Merry Christmas and open presents. I used to hate this as a kid because I wanted to open gifts on Christmas morning, so I’d just keep a few unopened for Christmas morning :-P

On Christmas Day, we have our own tradition of going into New York City to see the tree and walk around. Last year, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

This year we just ended up visiting Rockefeller Center and the World Trade Center Memorial, because my uncle hadn’t seen it yet. The memorial is beautiful.

Rockefeller was absolutely packed…obviously. But we always like going to see the tree and snap a few pictures even if it is almost impossible to navigate through the crowds.

Since then, I’ve just been relaxing since I’m off from work. I apologize for the lack of posts!

Yesterday, Dan and I went to the Devils game. It was a fun time, although they lost :(

Who else loves hockey??

Did you have a few days off for the holidays? What did you do?

Do you have New Years plans?

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12-20-2013

The Importance Of Warming Up

Yesterday, I was reading this post by Tony Gentilcore on pre-workout warm-up steps. I have to admit, I’m pretty bad at warming up before runs, but when I’m in the gym lifting, I make sure to warm-up every single time.

The thought of lifting heavy weights and putting that load on my joints before warming up makes me cringe. And yes, I will try to warm up more before runs too ;)

warm up tips

Why You Should Warm-Up

Tony states:

Taking the time to warm up properly is crucial not only for optimal performance on the field, but also for continued progress in the gym—and it serves several functions:

  • Increases body temperature.
  • Improves joint lubrication.
  • Engages the nervous system to a larger degree.
  • Improves extensibility/flexibility of muscles.
  • Grooves movement patterns.
  • Better prepares you for a back-alley fight against a pack of zombies. You know, just in case.

Given that many of us spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over a desk in front of a computer on a daily basis, the warm-up should target the areas of the body that tend to be most problematic: the glutes, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders and core, to name a few.

How To Warm-Up

I used to just run on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes as a warm-up, but now I do that and make sure to get in some dynamic movements as well.

Tony suggests starting off with foam rolling because, “we tend to accumulate knots, adhesions and scar tissue in our muscles, which affect their extensibility, or ability to lengthen fully. If left unattended, these knots can become problematic and lead to muscle strains and other injuries.” Therefore, foam rolling before lifting helps release some of those knots, and get your muscles to fully lengthen.

Here are the exercises he suggests doing in your warm-up:

I usually change my warm-up depending on whether I’m training upper body or lower body that day. For a full-body workout day, I suggest you try out Tony’s warm-up.

Here’s how I warm-up for lower body days:

  • 2 min incline walk, then 5-10 min jog.
  • Slow body weight squats (10-15 reps)
  • Glute bridge (10 reps), then single leg glute bridge (5 on each leg).
  • This is all in one move: forward lunge, step back into reverse lunge, then feet together for a squat. Repeat 5x.

Upper body days:

  • Same treadmill warm-up.
  • 10 push-ups, then 10 knee push-ups
  • 10 Dive Bombers
  • 10 small arm circles, forward, then backward, 10 large arm circles, forward then backward.

But That’s Not All…

Do you think your car would perform optimally if you walked out on a 20-degree day, turned on the ignition, and then ramped it up to 60 mph on the highway without first letting it warm up?

Once you do the warm-up, you still continue the warm-up before doing your sets. For example, before setting up to do a bench press, I usually do lighter weight dumbbell presses to get my body ready. Tony discusses this in more detail in his article.

A good warm-up only takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to go through the exercises slowly, and it will help you lift heavier when you get to your main lifts.

Do you make sure to warm-up before every workout?

How do you warm-up?

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12-19-2013

Training With Marc: “Training For a Marathon”

This is a series I started with my old running coach, called Training With Marc. Marc Pelerin is a running coach, and runs TrainWithMarc.com. He provides runners with personalized plans to help them achieve their goals. Oh and he was also an awesome runner in high school and in college…so he’s got a lot of experience! Visit his website for more info on the coaching he provides. I worked with him for over 2 years and was very happy with the results!

Hi everyone!  It’s Coach Marc and I’m back. This time I’m writing about what it takes to run a marathon.  We all know that 26.2 miles is no joke.  So what’s the best way to prepare?  Here’s my run-down for you:

1.  Be prepared to put in some serious work.  A marathon isn’t the same as a 5k – you can’t just go out and “do” one.  You’ve got to put in months (and sometimes years) of serious training.

2.  Remind yourself you’ll have to sacrifice a bit.  There are times you’ll want to go out and have drinks instead of get up for your long run.  Remember 26.2 miles is far.  Be prepared for early nights and early mornings!

3.  Visit your local running shop and ask questions.  Whenever I need a bit of motivation, I pop over to the Haddonfield Running Company.  Find your local store and get the right shoes for your foot type.  Buy some new running clothes and a good watch to start your training.  Don’t forget to hydrate – carry a water bottle with you!  Find out what other runners do and formulate a plan.

4.  Find a running coach who can create a plan to help you reach your 26.2 goal.  Not all coaches are created equal.  Find someone who you trust and who has experience working with runners of all abilities.

5.  Track the progress you make.  Create a blog or online training log so that other people can help keep you motivated and provide that extra support you might need.

6.  Plan ahead so you can still have your fun.  Planning allows you to still have a life while still getting in all of the important runs.

What other advice would you add?  How much weekly mileage do you think is necessary to complete a marathon?

Looking to get into running or need to take your running to the next level?  Send me a message @ TrainWithMarc, on  Facebook or on Twitter.  To get started with a plan of your own, visit TrainWithMarc.com.

Find more Training With Marc posts here.

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12-18-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

7 days until Christmas! That is all.

Here are your health links for today:

  • Core Strength For Runners (Happy Fit Mama) – I need to start working more on my core strength. Plus, this is good for non-runners and runners alike!
  • Sriracha Shortage On The Way! (Women’s Health) – Are you a sriracha addict? I don’t like spicy but actually like this stuff, though I can only use like 1 little drop each time I use it.
  • 5 Tips To Run More Efficiently (Daily Burn) – Great tips for those who are starting spring half training now, or will soon. I should really do more drills.
  • Tips For Sticking To Your Workout Schedule (Fit N’ Cookies) – Are you finding it hard to stick to your schedule during the holidays? These are some great tips!

Do you use sriracha? Or other hot sauce?

What’s your favorite dressing? I’d have to say Caeser or Honey Mustard.

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12-17-2013

Crockpot Almond Butter Chicken Recipe + Giveaway Winner

Last night, I decided to whip out the good ol’ crockpot again. I bought it last year on Black Friday for like five bucks, but only ended up using it a handful of times. I really need to use it more often.

So anyway, I decided to try a recipe inspired by Hummusapien’s Almond Butter Broccoli Stir-Fry. I googled almond butter crockpot chicken, and found a recipe by Rachel Schultz. Her pics made it look delicious, so I figured why not.

crockpot almond butter chicken

Here are her ingredients and instructions, with what I did and used in bold.

Skinny Crockpot Thai Chicken

Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper, diced (Didn’t have this)
  • 1 onion, chopped (Used garlic instead, didn’t have onions)
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter (Used almond butter)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ cup vegetable broth (Did not use this)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon cumin (Didn’t have this, used basil instead)
  • Brown rice
  • Chopped scallions (Didn’t have this)
  • Crushed peanuts (Didn’t have this)
  • Cilantro

*So basically I didn’t have anything, but whatever.

Instructions
  1. Place chicken in the base of crock pot. Top with red pepper and onion.
  2. In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, lime juice, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and cumin. Pour sauce over chicken. (Didn’t really come out as a sauce for me, so I used a brush to spread it evenly over chicken.)
  3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Remove from slow cooker and serve over brown rice. (I served with rice and a lot of sauteed broccoli slaw inspired by Hummusapien’s dish above! Try it!)
  4. Top with scallions, peanuts, and cilantro. (Didn’t do this)

Goes to show, even if you don’t have all the ingredients, you can still make a delicious dinner. Everyone loved it!

Giveaway Winner

The winner of a custom-made make up bag is……..

*drum roll*

Alison from The Fit Chronicles!

I used a random picker tool to pick a winner:

Capture

 

You can pick from the available swatches (and that pink chevron fabric is available too). Email me once you decide and we’ll set everything up!

Thanks to everyone who entered and commented…I appreciate your support! To show my appreciation, I’m offering a 10% off discount on all items in my store  until Saturday at 12AM. Just use the code THANKYOU upon checkout.

I actually just added this new item yesterday.

large tote bag

It’s a large tote bag that’s perfect for the gym or for travel-and water resistant inside! There is only 1 available with this fabric pattern, so it will be exclusive ;)

Thank you for your support, especially in helping the children of Paraguay with each purchase. My mom and I truly appreciate it, and can’t wait to add more bags to the shop! Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions at all.

What’s your favorite pattern style?

Do you use a crockpot? Please share some recipes!

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12-16-2013

Christmas Tree Pyramid Workout

I had the opportunity to team up with Tribe Sports to create this pyramid workout. I’m part of the “Tribe” and love this online fitness community. You should check it out!

Through the website, you are able to find great workouts (either to do at the gym or at home), create your own workouts to share with other community members, join in discussions relating to health and fitness, and partake in challenges, such as “100 crunches a day for 2 weeks.” It’s a great platform to try new workouts and hold yourself accountable.

Which is why I created this workout! I wanted to share it with the Tribe community, especially since it is holiday season aka less time to possibly go to the gym due to obligations and travel. This is an all body-weight exercise that you can do anywhere. Do it once for a quick session, or repeat as many times as you want in order to burn off some extra calories ;)

christmas workout

A lot of people have been commenting that they thought I wrote “12,360 twist jumps” but I actually meant twelve 360 twist jumps. That would be an insane number of jumps! ;)

You could also switch it up too. For example, you could complete the pyramid then work back down. Or get to 12 twist jumps, then 14 burpees, 16 squats, etc. and keep increasing.

When I’m short on time or don’t feel like going to the gym, body-weight workouts with cardio built in are my go-to.

Let me know if you have any questions about how to perform any of the exercises!

Will you be traveling this holiday season? Do you plan on fitting in time for fitness? Hey, it’s totally okay if you don’t…it is the holidays after all!

*I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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12-16-2013

Motivational Monday!

9 days until Christmas…wow!

Recently, I’ve been enjoying getting back into the gym, and lifting heavy. I’ll post my routine and update soon. It’s been nice to have a break from running. In 4 weeks, my strength has really improved…it actually improved in just 1 week back. Though I was VERY sore for a few days ;)

This is why I decided to chose this quote for today:

More recently, women have been starting to understand that lifting heavy is beneficial, and that you won’t get bulky or manly. I wrote a whole post about that as one of my first blog posts actually!

I used to be one of those people who thought higher reps with light weights was the only way to go. While high reps still has it’s place in a training program, challenging yourself with heavier weights is what will really garner results.

If you’re a runner, I think this is especially important during the off season! I’m looking at this as my off season, and lifting in order to strengthen my legs and core. During the training season, strength training sometimes falls to the wayside, or you don’t have time for a 1 hour session since you’re already running for an hour more. The off season is the time to really dig in.

Do you like lifting heavy things? 

What’s your favorite lifting exercise? I’d have to say either bench press or pull-ups because they’re so challenging that when I actually accomplish something I feel awesome!

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Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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