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Angie, Can’t You See? I’m in Misery!

31 Jan

(Today’s title should be read to the tune of Sandy from Grease.)

Well, first of all, yesterday’s post contained a bit of an error.

woo!

Yes, I realize September 28th is between the 21st and the 5th, not the 14th and 21st. That’s what I get for trying to quickly post a blog 10 minutes before I leave work ūüôā

This morning, I woke up a little late for the 6:15 AM Crossfit WOD . I knew it would be tough, because I’m still sore from Tuesday’s workout! I must be a glutton for punishment, because I signed up for Friday evening’s workout as well, because I know a friend will be there, and I like working out with friends.

Today’s workout was a Benchmark WOD: Angie.

100 push ups
100 sit ups
100 pull ups
100 goblet squats

…hm. When I saw that this morning, I was feeling pretty intimidated. Especially since my chest was still so sore from Tuesday’s 50 push ups. Our coach said that we could do it however we wanted ¬†— not necessarily 100 of one skill at a time. While we stretched, I tried to form a plan of attack. My original goal was to try to tackle all 100 of each skill, just breaking them up into sets of 10.

I did fine with the push ups and sit ups, but then I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 100 pull ups or goblet squats consecutively. First of all, there wasn’t enough space on the pull up bar for me to struggle through 100 pull ups without blocking other Crossfitters, and after about 10 pull ups my arms were toast and needed a break. So, I decided to try to do 20 of each alternating. That worked pretty well, and I ended up with a pretty good time: 27:35. I’m excited to do this workout again in the future, because I’d like to be able to either improve my time, increase the KB weight or take off some modifications (for example, I used a band on the pull ups).

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I really wanted to show you my breakfast this morning, but I left my phone at home, so no picture. I made Tina’s microwave english muffin! It was….interesting. I did like it, it was just a little on the chewy side. I think I’ll microwave it a little less next time. I made it into a breakfast sandwich with an egg, turkey bacon, cheese and a smear of preserves. Yum. After re-reading Tina’s original post about it, I realize I should have toasted it after I sliced it. Tomorrow!

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Ok, let’s talk books. I think I’ve finished 3 books since last time I reviewed one. However, I just finished this one last night and I have to talk about it:

If you’re interested in Healthy Living at all, you must read this book! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I do know it’s been nominated for a lot of awards, and has two of my favorite actors in the lead roles — that combined with the fact that, as I read this book I could just¬†picture¬†it as a movie makes me know I’ll love it!

Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat, a mentally unstable 34-year-old man, who was recently released from a mental institution into the care of his parents. Without giving away any spoilers, all you know is that Pat has been estranged from his wife for an undisclosed amount of time and he is determined to win her back after “apart time” is over.

This book was right up my alley. Part of Pat’s mental disorder is that he is obsessed with working out. He lifts weights most of the day and then goes for at least a ten-mile run. He wants to be in good shape when he reunites with his wife, so he imposes strict guidelines on his fitness. I think a lot of people can relate with that aspect of Pat’s psyche. For me, especially, when my life seems a little out of control, I turn to fitness in a big way. I know if I can’t control other aspects in my life, then I can control my fitness. I don’t think I’ve gotten to a point when I’ve been unhealthy about it, but I think it’s very easy to see how someone can get to that point.

I’ve read a few reviews on Goodreads about this book, and a lot of people describe it as “fun” and “lighthearted” — but for me, it’s really hard to put it into that category. What is fun and lighthearted about mental illness? However, I do see their point. The characters are really interesting and likeable (well, most of them), and it does feel like a fun and lighthearted read. Some of Pat’s hang-ups¬†are¬†a little comical.

I’m very excited to see this movie, and I highly recommend the book!

And, finally, please click here to see the best video of all time, and what I’m going to watch next time I’m struggling on the treadmill:

puppy

Question of the Day:
Tell me about the hardest workout you’ve done recently.¬†

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“Wild” Wednesday!

16 Jan

This week is going by quickly! Last week was the first full 5-day work week for me in a while because of the holidays, and it felt like it went by so slowly. This week is flying by, which is a good thing!

Has the weather been terrible where you live? It has been so rainy and grey here the past few days. I’m ready for some sunshine! Luckily, it looks like things are going to shape up just in time for the weekend:

weather

 

That’s great news, because I’m really looking forward to my next run with Margot. Looks like I should shoot for Saturday, based on the forecast above.

I slept restlessly last night, so when my alarm went off this morning to go to the gym, I wasn’t exactly raring to go. I lay in bed fighting myself for a while, but I knew I had to get up and get moving. After a stellar day of fitness on Monday, I wasn’t able to make it to the gym yesterday. After work, I had an appointment to get my hair cut, and then Zach and I hit up the grocery store because the cupboards were bare. By the time I got home, I was starving and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in my workout.

This morning, the plan was to run. I haven’t logged any ¬†miles at all this week, and although I had a great week last week, I need to keep up the mileage if I’m going to reach my goal of 600 miles in 2013! It was rainy and cold when I headed out to the gym, and once I got there, I realized I had forgotten my phone and headphones. There was no way I was going to run on the treadmill without music, so I hit up my Cardio Fusion class instead. I’m glad I did, it was a great workout, but I hope I’ll be able to get on the treadmill this evening and log some miles.

I tried something different with breakfast this morning. One thing I know that I need to do is give my muscles some protein after my workout, and I’m guilty of just waiting until I get to work to eat. So, right after the gym, ¬†I tried out a sample of ¬†Click Espresso Protein powder that I had.

From the Click website

From the Click website

It was good! I’m not 100% certain I love the ingredient list. I haven’t had time to research all the ingredients, but it was tasty and had 13 grams of protein. I blended the powder with some cold coffee leftover from yesterday, about a quarter cup of vanilla almond milk and a whole banana. It was certainly tasty, and very coffee flavored, especially since I added some brewed coffee to it.

When I got to work, I had the other part of my breakfast, half a whole-wheat bagel with neufchatel cheese, some vitamins and a glass of water:

IMAG1014

I am very sporadic about taking vitamins! I have made resolutions to take my vitamins more often again and again and I always end up forgetting. However, I do notice that my general mood is much better when I remember to take my Vitamin D, especially when the weather is as yucky as it has been. So, I’ll try to remember it more often. I’m afraid this breakfast won’t keep me satisfied until lunch, so I tucked an apple in my purse to munch on in a bit if I need it.

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Let’s get to the title of this post!

I recently finished the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and I wanted to talk a bit about it here.

I love the subtitle of this book: “From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” — once you’ve read the book, it’s quite appropriate. My friend Ashley lent me this book way back in the summer, and I’ve been a terrible friend and kept it laying around for quite some time. I read the first chapter and set it aside for a few months. I picked it up again after the holidays were over, and pretty much devoured it.

After the death of her mother and her divorce, Cheryl Strayed was lost. Without giving away too much, she went through a very rough time, and participated in a lot of self-destructive behavior. Her mother was basically the glue of her family, so after her death, it seemed the whole family fell apart. While at an REI store to buy a snow shovel, Cheryl spots a guide book about the Pacific Crest Trail, and thus begins her journey.

Cheryl decides, despite her lack of hiking experience, that she will traverse the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, from the Mojave desert to Washington State. She buys all her supplies, packs boxes to be mailed to herself at various stops along the way, and hitches a ride to the trail — with a pack roughly half her weight.

Her journey, while mostly uneventful as ¬†this review from the New York Times notes, is incredible. I was inspired by Cheryl’s journey. While it’s true, she didn’t encounter too much trouble, other than her inexperience, her journey will inspire you.

I think my favorite part about this book was her honesty. It’s raw — there are things in this book that will make you cringe, but it’s that honesty that makes you really feel for her as she learns the way of the PCT. I felt her heavy pack and her yearning for the love of her mother.

Question of the Day:
Tell me a good book you’ve read recently.¬†

 

 

 

Kind of Healthy Cookies

10 Dec

Whew! Welcome to Monday!

After a great, relaxing and fun weekend, Monday is turning out to be a little less than great. After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and runny nose — looks like I’m finally catching the bug Zach had last week. Work has been completely crazy this morning, but at least it’s going by quickly. Can’t wait to relax this evening!

Here’s what’s new this rainy, busy,¬†sniffley¬†Monday:

Last night was my Book Club meeting! I made a really yummy and not-the-healthiest Mac & Cheese casserole for the event, and it was a hit. No pictures of the casserole, but I used Alton Brown’s recipe, just added some frozen peas and carrots to up the veggie factor. It was quite yummy and I even packed a little for my lunch today.

I took a total of one picture:

2012-12-09 19.23.54

Which I’m sure our lovely host, Mandee will love as she is in mid-sentence, haha. I just loved how her adorable St. Bernard, Atticus, appears to be joining in on the discussion. He was more interested in the table full of food, I assure you.

The book we read this month is called Wool by Hugh Howey.

Wool-omnibus

It was great! If you like the sci-fi, dystopian future types of books that are popular now, you will love this book. It started as self-published series of  e-book novellas and it has grown to epic proportions. After he wrote the first short story, it became popular and he wrote more to the story. We read the Omnibus edition, which is all 5 books. It has been sold to 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott has expressed interest in directing the film adaptation! How cool is that?

The food at Book Club was great, as usual. My girlfriends are very good cooks. We had a pot roast, veggies, a lovely spinach salad and a waldorf salad, my mac & cheese, cream puffs, cookies, a really yummy, lemony homemade hummus. So good! Plus, lots of wine.

Speaking of food, I had a serious oatmeal cookie craving this weekend, so on Saturday night I decided to whip up a batch. I wanted to make a recipe that was sort of healthy, but I still wanted it to be dessert, so I ended up googling “kind of healthy oatmeal cookies” — and I came up with this recipe:

IMAG0774

These cookies are great. I’ve been eating them for snacks, and I even had a couple for breakfast on Sunday. First, let me tell you what substitutions I made:

  • I soaked the Craisins in apple cider rather than orange juice, because that’s what I had.
  • I used slightly less white sugar, because I was low on white sugar, and slightly more brown sugar.
  • I used honey instead of corn syrup.
  • I left out the orange rind (didn’t have any) and walnuts (not much of a nut-in-cookies fan)

I don’t feel guilty eating these constantly, because as you can see they get most of their sweetness from healthy ingredients. I did use all-purpose flour, but you could substitute whole wheat and make these even healthier. Yum!

Question of the Day:
Do you ever make “kind of ” healthy recipes?¬†

My Favorite Fitness Magazine

9 Oct

If you’re like me, your house is overrun with back issues of fitness magazines. Currently, I subscribe to Fitness, Shape and Oxygen. By¬†far, my favorite one is Oxygen Magazine.

I started getting frustrated with women’s fitness magazines a while back, around the time that Women’s Health changed their layout. When I first started reading Women’s Health, it was similar to Men’s Health, but geared more toward Women. I don’t think there was any big “unveiling” of the new layout, but I noticed that I started being typically displeased with the layout and content. When I read a magazine that is geared toward health and fitness, I expect to get more content on that front. It seems like a lot of women’s health and fitness magazines try to be more like a Glamour or Cosmopolitan with one 20 minute workout thrown in.

Like I said, I subscribe to Shape and Fitness as well, they are less like that, but Oxygen is, to me, the perfect fitness magazine for women. Here are the top 5 reasons it is my favorite:

1. The workouts: While their aren’t typically many cardio workouts (and that’s fine, I am a runner and that’s what I do for cardio most often), their strength workouts are second to none. Oxygen doesn’t automatically assume that you’ve never stepped foot into the weight room at a gym (if you haven’t, that’s fine and Fitness or Women’s Health would probably be great for you, but for someone who knows their way around a weight room, this is a better fit). I like to go into the gym with a plan and if I haven’t made that plan and it’s 6:00 AM, it’s easy to just grab one of my back issues of Oxygen and know I’ll have a few options of great workouts to try.

2. The Fitness Models:¬†Let’s face it, the fitness models in a lot of women’s “fitness” magazines have great bodies, but they look kind of…puny. I think it’s gotten better in recent times, but sometimes I’m looking at a fitness model doing a workout and ¬†I don’t see an ounce of ¬†muscle definition (I don’t see an ounce of flab either, but that’s neither here nor there).

Photo credit: oxygenmag.com

3. The recipes:¬†I’ve made more recipes out of my Oxygen magazine than any other magazine or website. Period. Tosca Reno, the queen of The Eat-Clean Diet, is the CEO and Publisher of the magazine (since her husband Robert Kennedy’s death).¬†I think that in the fitness world, you have your Paleo-diet supporters, your vegans, your vegetarians, etc., which kind of contradict each other, but across the board everyone agrees that eating clean is the key to fat loss and optimal health. That’s what I love about the recipes in Oxygen, though. While they do focus on a high-protein diet for fat-loss, they don’t always insist you get that protein from meat. I’ve seen vegetarian and vegan recipes in the magazine.

Uh, protein Twinkies anyone? Yes, please!

4. The Health Posts: There really is a focus on health in this magazine. They have a section on a fit pregnancy every month, they have articles about fighting fatigue with good nutrition, How weight-lifting can lower your cholesterol level…and that’s just a few I grabbed off the website. Every month there is a plethora of information in the issue and on their website.

5. The Digital Issue:¬†They have a digital issue that you can download to your phone or Kindle, and it’s great for toting to the gym if you don’t like carrying your dog-eared, 6 month old issue to the gym. I definitely don’t do that! The only problem I have is that you don’t get the digital issue free with your print subscription, but I can see myself switching to completely digital in the future.

Also, all their special issues (Fat Loss, Abs, etc.) are included with your subscription. I hate it when I subscribe to a magazine and I have to buy the special issues anyway.

If you don’t already subscribe to Oxygen, I highly recommend it!

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite health and fitness magazine?

The Healthiest Man Alive?

30 Jul

Well, the weather outside has finally decided to be lovely! This weekend was so nice, I had almost forgotten what it was like to be outside without being immediately drenched in sweat.

However, nothing can ever be perfect, so of course the AC is out at work. Apparently it broke this weekend, so our three-story library (with a large two story window where the sun blazes in) is roasting. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude, however. I can take the heat! Plus, I get to leave a little early today for a previously scheduled appointment, so I’m determined to not let the heat get me down. I had such an amazing, refreshing weekend, I can’t afford to be a sourpuss and ruin it.

This morning’s workout was incredible, as well. I hit my Cardio Sculpt class¬†hard, choosing heavier weights than I typically use. Then, I skipped out a little early and did a fast mile on the treadmill. I’m participating in Kristen’s¬†second round of “Feats of Strength”, which is: Do unmodified push ups, all the way to the floor, to exhaustion. Here’s the thing: I’ve always modified my push ups, so this is a true challenge for me. On the first day of the challenge, I did five. Today, I did¬†eleven. Eleven!! My goal is 15 by Wednesday, so we’ll see how it goes.

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

I finished this book this weekend, and I’ve been dying to talk to you about it! I hope if you’re committed to healthy-living you will pick this book up. I tried to read another book by A.J. Jacobs and I couldn’t get into it, but I had to give this one a chance. I truly loved it.

In his previous book, The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs pledged to follow the Bible to a T. This time around, Jacobs pledged to make over each part of his body to become “The Healthiest Man Alive.” I have to admit, when I first picked up this book, I was worried about the tongue-in-cheek nature of it. From the cover to the photos at the beginning of each chapter, I was afraid that Jacobs was going to be making fun of the healthy-living movement. I was pleasantly surprised.

As I mentioned, the book is separated by body part, and he covers them all! Of course, the heart and the stomach are good ones — all about nutrition and exercise, but he even explores the ears (noise pollution), the hands (nobody ever does hand exercises!) and many other lesser-thought-of parts. Here are some things I really liked about the book:

  • He explores many different aspects of each subject. For example, in the nutrition section, he follows both a raw vegan diet and a Paleo-type diet. He tells you exactly how he feels and explores the research for both.
  • He seeks out the advice of experts every step of the way, and usually not just one. A lot of times, he will talk to two experts with differing opinions. For example, in the Immune System chapter, he talks to a doctor who is hyper-sensitive about germs and handwashing, and an expert who believes we need germs to boost our immune system. It was very interesting!
  • Throughout the book, he follows the health of his elderly grandfather, and I found that to be particularly compelling.
  • He actually learns something! I was afraid that at the end of the project he was going to abandon everything, but I love what he took away from the project. The ending was great.
  • The humor! I laughed out loud so many times. Especially the interactions between him and his wife — they seem to have such a funny relationship.
  • The appendices. In the end of the book, he gives tips on how to implement the improvements he tried in the book, and there are two lists: One for normal people and one for fanatics.

I highly suggest picking up this book! The information alone is worth it.

In other news, yesterday was the first meeting of my new book club, and I’m very excited about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to review more books here in the future.

Question of the day:
Have you read any good books lately?