It’s Fall, Ya’ll

Let’s start with yesterday’s lunch of leftovers. I enjoyed short ribs and macaroni and cheese with a fall vegetable medley of goodness. Lunch was fancy because my dinner consisted of a peanut butter and jelly with yogurt and veggie sticks. Not that it wasn’t delicious, it just wasn’t a gourmet meal.

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This morning’s breakfast came in stages thanks to an early workout and work call. I rolled out of bed to my alarm a little sad and weary, but once I got moving, I felt great! My metabolism got a jolt thanks to a peanut butter wrap, a tall glass of water, and a cup of coffee. Post-workout, I ate a hard-boiled egg, a cheesestick, and a banana. Later on, I followed that up with some almonds and raisins.

I’m in the process of mixing up my workouts, so today’s consisted of a series of grueling circuits that left me feeling strong. First came a core-centered warm-up rotational lunges, elevated hip lifts, reverse crunches, sit up extensions on the stability ball, and stability ball tucks. The second circuit included kettlebell swings, step ups, side box jumps, weighted split squats, and tricep push ups. My final circuit was strength heavy with deadlifts, bench presses, high pulls, front raises, and rows. For my cardio, I hopped in the pool for a half hour swim.

After work, I was ready for lunch! I had grilled chicken and a salad on hand, so I tossed everything together and heated up a small plate of macaroni and cheese to enjoy on the side.

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I headed back into work for a few hours after some studying and came home to fix myself dinner. Can we talk about how good turkey meat is for tacos? We don’t make it often, but it is delicious! I fancied mine up by grilling two tortillas with cheese, throwing on the meat, and topping them with baby spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers. Oh my God they were so tasty and satisfying! Also, kind of beautiful.

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Speaking of beautiful, can we talk about this weather? I try not to mention weather too often because there was a period there when I was only talking about weather. But it has been so nice this week! Even though the nights are so dark so early. Oh, happy days. At least the holidays are coming up because the festivities make it easier to bear. Anyways, I snapped this picture on my walk yesterday. The trees have been spectacular!

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Kind of makes me excited for Thanksgiving!

Coming to Life

Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense position within itself and with regards to the external environment. It’s something we lose awareness of when sitting at all, whether in front of the computer screen at work or the TV screen at home. I know. We need to work and we also need to watch TV, but giving yourself at least 30 minutes to move your body provides it with much more than calorie burn.

One of the coolest things about studying for my Personal Training certificate is understanding the complexities behind how the body functions and just how cool that is. Now when I exercise, I think about how everything ties together to create movement and it fuels me to work harder. Exercising wakes up the body, makes it move, and brings it to life.

It’s also a battle, messy, imperfect, and hard.

Next time you workout, think about your heart beating, feet meeting the pavement, limbs threading through the water, muscles powering weights, and realize how IMG_4132powerful that is!

This was something that stuck in my head during my morning swim and I found that it pushed me to move faster. I started the day with a kettlebell circuit followed by a body strength circuit that woke me up when my body would have preferred to continue sleeping.

My workout yesterday was a four mile run. It was hilly and difficult. My feet hurt from my new sneakers, which lead them to eventually fall asleep. My calves hurt from the extra pressure on them thanks to the feet. Blisters on my ankles were sore and bloody. I was a sweaty mess and yet, it felt great. Sometimes, it won’t feel great and sometimes I’ll have to walk or struggle my way through. There were obstacles and parts of it that weren’t fun, but it was something my body needed.

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Now let’s talk about food! Grilled tilapia with rice and veggies made up yesterday’s lunch after my run.

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Dinner was a chicken cutlet with creamy white sauce, spinach rice, and grilled Brussels sprouts I tossed with a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

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For breakfast this morning after my workout, I knew I need something to power me through a large chunk of time while I was at work. I went with an egg scramble with waffles, raspberries, and half of a banana.

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While I did have to snack on a few almonds at work and I munched on an apple right when I got home, I made a salad for myself with some grilled chicken for protein and a side of cranberry walnut bread that I grilled for an added yummy factor.

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I’m Onto You, Suzanne Summers

I had a dream two nights ago that Suzanne Summers was stalking me, so you better believe I’ve been checking over my shoulder whenever I leave the house. We were cool Ms. Summers, don’t pull a Liza on me.* In the dream, we were participating in a Hunger Games-esque event, except it had nothing to do with death. If I remember correctly, then if Suzanne “tagged” me, then I had to go live outside in nature. This all seemed very plausible in my dream, but now makes no sense at all.

*If you forgot that Liza Minelli stalks me, then lucky you. It’s a thing. I’m sure I’ve written posts about it before. She’s remained stagnant as of late. Let’s not jinx that.

Anyways….is anyone else slightly alarmed that it’s already October 21? I’m sorry, but I thought it was still July of 2012. Time is flying! I better step up my studying because my test date is approaching.

Here are some eats from the past few days we’ve been away from each other.

Scenes from my dad’s birthday dinner Act I. Act II actually doesn’t have a picture, but my family went out and it was fun, happy, and delicious.

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A very interesting looking meal with waffles, scrambled eggs with a chicken sausage, and a big bowl of berries. My breakfasts are often big meals because they fuel me for my workouts and because it’s the best meal of the day.

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This stir fry was impressive. Steak, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach over rice with ginger sesame dressing drizzled on top.

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Peanut butter toast can do no wrong.

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Grilled tilapia, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, and rotini. Yum!

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This morning’s plate of cakes. I can’t get enough of these!

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Workouts the past few days included grueling strength training sessions, lap swims, spin classes, long runs (slightly painful thanks to new shoes which I’ll debut tomorrow!), and core workouts that left me with sore abs whenever I sneeze (I sneeze a lot, ouch!).

In other news, I hung out with my family a lot this weekend which is always good for laughs and fun, enjoyed the nice weather with a few walks outside, cleaned and prepared for fall/winter (still more to do, ugh!), worked (it’s a blessing to love what I do), and lost a few years of my life trying to buy Star Wars tickets. For whatever reason, they are starting to premiere the new film BEFORE midnight, so my friend Stephanie and I have our tickets for 11:50. We like to stick to the idea of premiering a  movie at midnight, but in this situation, beggars really can’t be choosers. It is very exciting though and we are now two months away!

I can’t get over this picture:

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I also bought another decal for my computer. I like the subtlety of my Harry Potter one that fits right over the apple on the Mac, and I thought I was continuing this trend when I bought this new one. Not so much. It’s huge! I had to cut it.

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I think my nerd is showing just a bit.

Also, my coffee mug looks super creepy in that picture and it was unintentional!

Happy Wednesday!

Food on the Brain

I think I mentioned that I’ve been running more, but I don’t know if I told you how I ran 10 miles. Straight. Yes, okay, so that run ruined my sneakers and is now the reason why my feet go numb when I run (I know I need to get to the store), but it was so worth it. Running 10 miles is a feat if only based on how long it takes me. Note, just short of 2 hours. So I’m not a fast runner, but my clip was consistent and I have the feeling that I could do it again. Even more, maybe. Half marathon, let’s go! Remember, if I can run, you can run. You just have to start.

After that shameless plug, I’ll get back into recap mode. Wednesday’s run seems like a walk in the park with just 4 miles and a few breath-taking sprints at the end, but it was still a great workout on a beautiful day! Thursday’s workout was an early one as I had to work later that morning. It included a kettlebell strength circuit, followed up with some body strength moves, and a swim.

But look what I had waiting for me at home!

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As promised, it’s baked oatmeal time again! My go-to baked oats recipe includes oats, baking powder, cinnamon, mashed banana, chopped dates, and milk of any kind. It’s fun to mix things up and tis the season for pumpkin and apple! I tossed in some chopped apple, canned pumpkin, raisin, and walnuts, baked it for 25 minutes at 350 and had myself a tasty, warm, and nutritious breakfast.

I made it the night before and heated it up for breakfast and it was still fresh and delicious!

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Um, yes, please and thank you. Some peanut butter might have been thrown on top because I can’t help myself.

Lunch was fun too when I got down to it. Quesadilla time! First step, grill those veggies!

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It’s nice to have already grilled chicken on hand like I did, but it doesn’t take much time to cook that up either. Once cooked, mix everything together nice and hot.

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Assemble the tortilla and cheese!

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Top with mixture on one side (you know, where the cheese is). Don’t forget to sprinkle another layer of cheese on top for the sticking factor.

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Let it brew before you chew.  I had to do it without actually doing it. I’m sorry.

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Savor.

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A comfort favorite packed with nutrition and YUM!

And on to this morning’s recap…I had a quick homemade breakfast sandwich before skipping over to the gym for a dumbbell circuit. I held some planks too before getting my butt kicked at a spin class. Nice to mix up the cardio sometimes.

Now time to think about lunch…HAPPY FRIDAY!

Perfection on a Plate

After I left you yesterday, I headed to the gym for a strength training circuit and a swim. I was experiencing some tenderness thanks to the bump on my head and side lunges, but otherwise felt great! The circuit included 6 sets of 8 reps of bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and a move that I think are called inverted rows, but I’m not positive. I also fit in a core workout of diamond push ups, mermaid raises, hip lifts, flutter kicks, sit ups, and Russian twists. Phew.

I was super happy during my swim because I’ve once again increased my mile time! Remember when it took me around 50 minutes? I’m now swimming a lap a minute, which after 36 laps that equal a minute equals a 36 minute mile! This also happened last Thursday so I was pleased that I kept my pace.

Important note. Don’t compare yourself to others in anything in life because then people would rarely have accomplishments. I say this because out of curiosity, I asked what a strong average mile swim time was and was told 20-25 minutes. Clearly, I have improvements to make, but I choose to focus on how far I have progressed rather than how much slower I am than other people. I mean, I’m faster than some folks, right?! Not that it matters…

My recovery lunch was this gorgeous thai chopped salad, a crunchy apple, and a handful of cheezits that hit the spot. Salad included baby spinach, red pepper, tomato, carrots, and cucumber with chicken, black beans, and feta mixed in with an Asian sesame dressing. Divine!

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I also felt good about my study time, put in some time at work, and made it back home for dinner and the first of the Democratic Debates. First, let’s focus on dinner. Grilled tilapia, spinach rice, corn on the cob, and grilled zucchini. A little hot sauce and a new mustard-barbecue sauce combination on the side.

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I won’t get too much into politics, but I will say that I enjoyed watching the debate and was impressed by a few candidates and had no patience for a few others. The best part of the night was following Twitter.

After some writing and once again staying up far too late as I was in a good groove, I was ready for bed. I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind- PANCAKES.

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This is my favorite recipe, possibly ever, and it prevents me from eating anyone else’s pancakes (mostly). I mean, seriously. Not only are they chock full of nutrients, but they are so peanut buttery and chocolatey. And look at those strawberries!

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That is a perfection speared by a fork.

Celebrating the Small Things

After breakfast yesterday, I got started on my workout. Up first was a dumbbell circuit that included bicep curls, standing tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and inverted rows. I performed each move in 6 sets of 8 reps and felt strong after my rest day on Sunday. For something a little extra, I went through a plyometrics/cardio circuit of box jumps, jump rope, rope swings, push ups, and sit up twists.

To top things off for the day, I hopped in the pool for a swim. I’ve learned the hard way that my watch does not track swimming, so I still have to count laps to make sure I’m staying on track. It can be a pain, but I break the laps down into groups of twelve, as each set is 1/3 of a mile. When I started, it took me a good 17 minutes to finish each round of 12 laps, which totaled approximately a 51 minute mile. Swimming is slow, especially for me, but I’ve been growing stronger and faster as I practice and learn good form. Yesterday, I swam a consistent 13 minute 1/3 mile swim and put in a little extra effort that last bit to make up a 39 minute mile. That is three year’s dedication right there! I think, when you put in effort and determination, we’re allowed to celebrate the small things as much as the big.

Whether in swimming, running, or lifting as of late, I’ve been noticing myself growing stronger and I take a lot of pride in that. For exercise to be effective and consistent, you have to find what works for you, what you enjoy, and be mindful of how it takes care of your body!

This should be the motto for anything we do in life. It’s hit me lately that if I put as much work, consistency, and determination into other things in my life as I do exercise, I can really make things happen. I consider myself lucky that the greatest challenger to myself and what I do in life, is myself. Not everyone can say that.

To recover from my workout, I enjoyed a lunch of leftover whole wheat spaghetti with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach along with a piece of parmesan crusted tilapia I had prepared the day before. I will share that recipe soon!

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While grocery shopping on Sunday, I checked out the sushi section and decided to try something different. I’m new and unadventurous to the sushi world, but I went with the spicy tuna roll and thought it was delicious! For an extra hit of veggies and protein, I enjoyed a side of carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter for dipping.

Breakfast this morning was a one-egg, two egg-white omelet with spinach, peppers, tomato, and jalapeño and some cheese. I paired the delicacy with two pieces of buttered whole wheat toast and a side of fresh blueberries and raspberries.

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With a little blogging and digesting, I’m off to the gym to fit in another great workout!

Apocalypse Scares and Food Photos: Just Another Tuesday

It was only a few weeks ago that I was thinking to myself how nice it was that we haven’t had any apocalypse scares as of late. My uncle would ruin this on Friday night when he told me that people were now focusing on September 23 as the end of the world. I will say that he himself did not believe it, but that all of the eery coincidences were curious, as they always are, that leave you with at least a speck of ack-what-if!?

It’s not that I’m actually scared of the apocalypse or that I believe any of the “facts” that go into it, but no doubt, whenever that date people zone in on comes to pass, there is a nagging fear in the back of my mind. It’s embarrassing. I happen to be a sucker for conspiracy theories. Again, not because I believe them, but because it makes for an intriguing story. Usually I just stick to reading Dan Brown books for my fix.

The reason I thought of a pending apocalypse in the first place was because I was watching Buffy and for a second I thought, well this isn’t that bad, but then I remembered that Buffy doesn’t actually exist and I’m not certain I trust any human enough to save the world as I would Buffy. And even though I adore Sarah Michelle Gellar, I do have the ability to separate character from actor and I don’t think she would be up for the task, at least alone. Unless of course she or someone else have already been doing that for years without us knowing, in which case, thanks bud!

So maybe there is an apocalypse scheduled for tomorrow, but probably not. There’s nothing any of us can really do at this point, so we might as well just go on living per usual until we can’t. That does mean that you can have extra ice cream tonight (or your treat of choice) just in case. At the very least, we have a few things that we can be thankful for to ease our minds as we continue onto our potentially fiery deaths.

  1. I’ve experienced mild celebrity with my blogging
  2. Donald Trump could not be made president
  3. I will not have made it to 26 and will therefore not have to come off my parents’ health insurance
  4. Chris Evans won’t have married anyone else
  5. No more snow to shovel
  6. I am finally blonde
  7. No more reality TV
  8. Since we’ll all go out together, Heaven will be way more fun
  9. There should be unlimited free wifi in Heaven (right!?)
  10. No more damn apocalypse scares

It is possible that my priorities are different than yours and that’s fine too. In all seriousness, I suspect that tomorrow will come and go and we will (mostly) all be fine, unless something personal happens to you or me, in which case, I’m sorry.

For the record, apocalypse is a difficult word to type and I feel like my fingers got in a nice workout.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll continue onto our regularly scheduled blogging. Yesterday’s workout consisted of a dumbbell strength circuit, a body strength circuit, and a swim. I was pleased to find that I wasn’t experiencing any pain after my long run, but the swim was a good antidote to easing sore muscles anyways.

Dinner was homemade chicken parm, whole wheat penne, and sautéed spinach.

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I’ve decided my next read would be Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I read it in high school and loved it, so I’m curious to see how I feel 8 years later. I cracked the book open as I dug into this plate of magnificent peanut butter pancakes this morning, leaving both my mind and tummy happy.

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Check back in again tomorrow for more adventures, probably.