A better day of fitness

My gym routine has gotten a little staid. I do a couple dynamic & static stretches, go for a pretty relaxed run on a baby incline after warming up, maybe do a core workout. When I get into the gym more than 3 days a week, I’ll do some strength training focusing on my butt, legs, and core (maybe a couple arm moves and that’s if I don’t opt for the extra hour and a half of sleep). Then I finish off with some more static stretching. Now, I know I might be better than most but I am still a far cry from what an amazing day in the gym SHOULD look like- and I’ve also changed up my routine from what it used to look like a few years ago.

Here’s what an ideal day (or two days if there is no time for both cardio and strength training) should look like:

Warm up FIRST. Don’t rush right into it- that’s why you get injured. Walk briskly or do whatever you plan on doing slowly at first to get your muscles activated. Even if you’re just doing strength training, hop on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes.

THEN do some dynamic stretches- walking lunges, arm swings, running butt kicks, power skips. This gives muscles an extra power boost, helps prevent injury and reaps flexibility benefits.

Cardio- Let’s be real, doing a relaxed run is fine if you’re training for a race. If you’re going that route, ALWAYS crank up the incline because, as we know, flat roads do not exist in the outdoors where you will most likely be racing. If you are NOT training for a race, try an interval run with sprints and some walking recovery. You can start slow- 3 minutes running and 3 minutes walking or 1 minute sprinting, 1 minute walking, 1 minute jogging, or you can try this run that has literally made me almost die on several occasions. But I just take that as a sign it’s working. And if you’re new to running, start small! Even if you run a short distance and walk farther, that’s better than hopping off and giving up.

Other cardio options- Can we be real and ban the elliptical? It’s fine if you  have a back injury, but any exercise you can do while also reading a book is not going to burn the calories you need to burn. If you must use an elliptical, at least don’t hold the handles! If you’re hands-free, you challenge your body slightly more. Same with biking- unless you’re doing an intense spin class, those sit-down bikes that literally look like wheelchairs with pedals, are doing you NO favors. If you don’t want to run, take a fun class (maybe try Zumba or one of the other dance-cardio classes that are sweeping the nation) or hop on the row machine (take a class first to really get the hang of it- CityRow in NYC is a great one but there are studios around the country) or the StairMaster. The bottom line is- instead of dreading your workout, have fun with it!! Just because you don’t hate the exercise, doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. And it’ll keep you coming back for more!

Strength-training- I like to do routines I find in fitness magazines or blogs, but if you’re just throwing in some basic moves, here is where you should start. For your core, stop doing crunches and do planks. If you’re short on time, a minute holding a plank will work your whole core. If you can also add in v-ups, Russian twists, flutter kicks, bicycle kicks, and side planks, even better! Skip the machines and pick up free weights- either for your arms or while you do other exercises like squats (instead of sitting down doing leg presses-what an oxymoron!). Compound moves like that work multiple muscle groups so are great for multitasking, e.g. pull-ups (start small with assisted pull-ups) vs. bicep curls.

At the end of it all, partake in some static stretching. But ALSO get the knots out using a foam roller. That will really help you massage out those kinked up muscles from your awesome work-out! And don’t just go home and pop some ibuprofen and a protein bar- drink a class of cherry juice if needed (the natural muscle medicine!) and eat a homemade post-workout snack or meal. Most protein bars have too much sugar in them so read your labels!

My biggest challenge though is GETTING to the gym- and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. But I know that going to the gym instead of sleeping will keep me more alert at work later in the day. It gives me a huge energy boost and keeps my calorie-burning engine fired up all day long. Working out with a buddy (remember that tip!?) instead of going it alone will also help with this.

Now if you still feel like you’re just guessing at all of this, maybe work with a personal trainer a few times to get a feel for what you need to concentrate on. Many gyms provide them or you can look for a Groupon to cut the cost. Not only will they teach you proper form, but they can push you through sets when you’re ready to give up.

There are also so many ways to keep burning calories throughout the day- these tips make me feel better if I have to skip the gym and make me feel even BETTER if I also have gone to the gym that day!

  • At the office, try to get your hands on a standing desk or exercise ball to swap for your office chair. Unfortunately, at my current job, that’s not an option but I have had both options at other jobs and it’s great! It feels so much better than sitting all day and it helps with your balance while working your abs.
  • If your boyfriend (or you!) is a video game fanatic, why don’t you try swapping in some Wii games or other games that incorporate exercise? The Just Dance games are my favorite and really do work up a sweat!
  • If stairs are an option take them! I trek up and down the 4 flights of stairs in my office building (unless I’m wearing really high heels).
  • Instead of doing dinner and a movie for EVERY date night, switch it up! Go hiking, go ice-skating, check out a trampoline park!
  • Unless you have a handicapped sticker on your car, park farther away. You do not NEED to get a spot right up front.

Alright guys, incorporate some of these tips into your next gym session and see how much of a difference it makes after a couple of weeks! Let me know your gym routine in the comments!

Yesterday’s Food Journal

Pre-Soul Cycle Clif bar & coffee

Breakfast- I had a nice little solo brunch at Buvette in the West Village. I had two Americanos, 2 mini croissants with butter and jam, and then their steamed eggs with prosciutto on toast. It was THE BEST.

Early airport dinner- an $11 chicken quesadilla that was really half of one (one tortilla folded over). I hate eating in airports. 

Almonds when I finally boarded the plane after my 3 hour delay. And then the 2 Biscoff cookies they offered. 

 

 

Caffeineeeee

Gimme it! All the time- except after 2 PM because then I will NEVER go to sleep.

If you’ve wondered why I have even a little bit of coffee before my morning workout, it’s because it helps me push myself harder and longer, WITHOUT ME EVEN REALIZING IT. So my tip is to drink something caffeinated- coffee or tea- 30 minutes before a workout. It’s also great for stimulating your digestive tract to get things moving to ease bloat (you all know where I’m going with this right? It makes you poop!)

This is one of the many reasons why morning workouts are best for me- I’m usually so tired by the end of the day after work and if I had caffeine then, I would never get to sleep as I am fairly caffeine sensitive. So give this trick a try and let me know if you see any difference in your workouts.

 

Friday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 eggs and English muffin with peanut butter

Coffee

Mid morning snack- Greek yogurt with strawberries and flax 

Lunch- salad

Green tea

Mid afternoon snack- Clif bar 

Dinner- we ate at the airport. I had three mini brownies at the Admirals Club then we went to a restaurant where we shared “dirty Mac and cheese” with pulled pork (I totally forgot it was a Friday) and then split a turkey sandwich and a burger. I only ate half my fries on the side. Then when we got into the city one of my best friends had gotten Magnolia Bakery banana pudding and chocolate banana pudding so I had a bowl of that, 3/4 of a bottle of champagne and two glasses of Chenin Blanc. Didn’t feel too great the next day.

Saturday’s food journal 

Breakfast- we went to Ess-a-bagel, arguably one of the best bagel places in NYC. I got a whole wheat bagel with herb cream cheese and lox and then we split a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese- totally unnecessary. I had a coffee in the hotel room and then we went to a coffee shop where I had a coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

We started drinking around 1 PM- it was cold and snowy/rainy and we weren’t in the mood to go to a museum so what else are you supposed to do?! Not sit in the hotel. We got bloody Marys at Lexington Brass then went to La Cava for their All you can drink brunch drink special- I had three bellinis, half a Bloody Mary, and a sea breeze. 

Dinner- we went to The Smile with two other couples. We got some starters to share and then I had a roasted vegetables with quinoa entree. Two cocktails with dinner. Then three glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a shot of tequila  at the bar afterwards. It’s really embarrassing to write all these drinks down- I feel like an alcoholic and I’m ready to give it up for awhile. 

 

Friday Favorites 3.17.17

Another week is over and what a doozy! Work has been crazy and I have made more moves to talk to real estate groups in the area to make sure I’m marketable once I get my license- I’m really excited to take back charge over my career and the sky is the limit! We leave for NYC tonight to see friends and eat amazing food and partake in the great culture of the city- I just wish it wasn’t going to be so cold and slushy! I dropped off my precious pup with the sitter this morning and she just breaks my heart- she literally whines like a dolphin’s squeak when I start washing out her water and food bowl. I brought down her carrier and she laid in it all morning next to her stuff while I got ready- it was so sad 😦 I already can’t wait to be reunited with her on Monday! Now onto my favorites:

Bota Box

Guys, don’t knock boxed wine. Just because we had exposure to Franzia in college doesn’t mean that all boxed wine tastes like super sweet fruit juice. Bota Box is my personal favorite- there are many different varietals, they taste really good, and it’s only $16-18 a box which is the equivalent of FOUR BOTTLES! It’s less wasteful and you don’t have to pick up a bottle every week. It stays fresher longer as well so you don’t have to feel pressured to finish a bottle once you open it.

Old Navy Workout Leggings

Lululemon is amazing. Truly. But my ass just cannot afford their clothes anymore. So one day I was in Old Navy, and I saw they had a sale on Activewear bottoms. I bought two pairs. And, guys, lemme tell you- they are the BEST. Their prints remind me of Lululemon and they fit tight to your body so you don’t have to worry about sagging or looseness but they also suck everything in to give you a great silhouette. They have crop styles, ones with mesh panels, ones with cut-outs, ones with reflective tape, hi-rise styles, super-pretty patterns and colors- god, I want to go run out and snatch up 5 more just talking about them! And the best part- none are over $30.

A Made Bed

I’m the worst at making beds. I never remember and I’m not very good when I do. But thanks to my OCD BF, I get to see a hotel-worthy bed every day and climb into one every night. How good are his skills??

 

And a not so favorite-

St. Patrick’s Day.

TBH, I’m a little wary about going out tonight in NYC. St Patty’s Day just brings to mind images of rowdy guys drinking green beer and taking Jagerbombs. No thank you. Like most holidays, the reason for the season has been lost and I’m kind of over it. I’d rather hunker down in a wine bar away from the “March Madness” if you will.

Caution: Serving sizes are smaller than they appear.

Hello fam! This morning was rough- we just could not make it to the gym. Even repeating to each other the reasons why we needed to- “We’re going out to dinner tonight”, “I can’t go tomorrow morning because I have a doctor’s appointment”, etc., it just wasn’t happening. So we bailed. And it happens. And we’re going to go to this supposedly delicious restaurant tonight and probably not eat healthily. But we will recover. We will move on.

How is everyone doing on water consumption? Yesterday I blew my gallon at the office out of the water. Today, I’m struggling a little bit but still getting it done!

One of the things I need to get better about doing is MEASURING EVERYTHING. I’m fairly good about it- I measured a half cup of cereal to use in my little trail mix snack today but peanut butter? Man, I pretend two heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter is “2 tablespoons” all of the time. And I know I’m incorrect. But doesn’t MORE peanut butter just taste better than less peanut butter? I think so.

So my tip here is to measure everything- even if you think you can eyeball it, just measure it. Eventually you will know what a serving size looks like but this is such an easy way to keep a couple hundred extra calories from creeping up on you. Because those serving sizes are out to trick you- the other day I was looking at my pack of individually frozen tilapia fillets and a serving size is 2/3 of a fillet! I was so confused- I’m not gonna go chopping up fillets all over the place. But it was good to know. Drinks are the biggest culprit- one “individual” bottle can really have two servings! Nuts are another biggie- always measure or count them out. If you have cereal for breakfast, I can almost guarantee you are pouring more than the allotted serving size. Ice cream?? Who DOESN’T just eat the whole pint? That’s FOUR servings! And it’s not just calories you need to keep in check- sometimes it’s the sodium you need to watch out for. Maybe you’re fine if you have half a block of ramen noodles or half a can of soup- but if you eat the entire thing (which many people do) you are probably going wayyy over your sodium threshold (hence why both make you feel bloated).

Break out the measuring spoons and cups and keep them handy and USE THEM. I’m going to get back into this habit- even the foods I think I know how much is a tablespoon or a quarter cup. It’s all peace-of-mind!

Yesterday’s food journal

Pre-workout coffee

Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs with hot salsa and a protein shake with almond milk

Coffee

Mid-morning snack- banana with peanut butter

Lunch- regular salad without tomatoes or feta cheese

Green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- Greek yogurt with strawberries & ground flax

Dinner- finished off the spaghetti squash bolognese, 2 Ghirardelli dark chocolate strawberry squares and a glass of Pinot Noir while we watched Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (so good btw!)

 

Let them eat chocolate!

Guysss, I started up this leg and butt blasting workout again. And every time I take a break from it and start it up again, I cannot walk the next day! Every fiber in my legs aches. I attempted to foam roll this morning and it was brutal. I did NOT make it into the gym this morning- I knew the treadmill would be futile. But this is such a reminder to keep at it! Strength training, like most things, gets better with time.

Today’s trick is going to be your favorite. I’m almost positive. And it’s to *drumroll please* eat chocolate! Yes, every day!

Now, do I mean to house 3 Hershey’s bars after lunch? No. Absolutely not. This is where WILLPOWER comes in, people. Chocolate is still high in fat, sugar, and calories. But it also has antioxidants and other ingredients that boost weight loss, help your heart and protect your skin from sun damage. My pick is dark chocolate- not only does it have more antioxidants but a little goes a long way. You’d be surprised by how satisfying it is when you have a really rich piece of dark chocolate, even if it’s small! At this point, milk chocolate doesn’t even do it for me anymore.

Now remember, you cannot say “Oh, I’ve been avoiding chocolate for the last three months, I’m gonna load up now!” That is not how this works. A few pieces a day or a few times a week is the name of the game.

I’ll be honest- the real reason I follow this trick and have seen it make a difference? It keeps my cravings under control! By giving myself a regular dose of chocolate, this keeps me from diving head first into the Nutella jar. All of the other benefits are great, but this is what really keeps me in control and ALSO  it is an exercise in willpower every single day. The more you use that muscle the better and bigger it gets. So you can buy a big bar of Lindt or Ghirardelli and break a couple squares off yourself. Or you can buy individually wrapped squares or even Hershey’s Kisses. I have leftover Valhrona chocolate from the Paris airport that is individually wrapped- I will allow myself two squares of chocolate after dinner. I look forward to it and it keeps me from indulging at other times of the day because I know it’s waiting for me in the pantry. I’ve fallen off of this trick lately but it’s time to get back on the chocolate wagon!

So how easy is this- you’re doing everything the same that you’ve been doing (which includes eating healthy and working out) but also packing your lunch, writing down what you eat, and now you’re eating chocolate! And hopefully, all these little changes are making you more aware of what you’re putting into your body and helping you cut down on other wasteful calories.

Heading to a career night hosted by a real estate’s market center tonight! Any followers or readers in real estate? Pros, cons, encouragement??

Remember to record what you ate today! Here’s mine for ya’ll:

Yesterday’s food journal:

Half a cup of coffee before working out

Post- workout breakfast- 2 eggs and 1 egg white scrambled with hot sauce, 12 oz unsweetened almond milk with vanilla protein powder

1 mug of coffee once in the office

Mid-morning snack- Apple & 2 wedges of light Swiss Laughing Cow cheese

Half a mug of coffee- it was one of those days! I blame The Bachelor (even though it was only an hour last night.)

Lunch- standard Lunch salad

Mug of green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- cucumber slices with roasted garlic hummus (great for your breath!)

Dinner- Leftover chicken enchilada casserole (not the lowest calorie meal but high protein and filling and easy to prep in the slow-cooker which was needed for Monday night!)