On Saturday, I did the unthinkable. I, a self-proclaimed hater of the treadmill, ran on this machine for a whole hour. Even 15 minutes is usually unbearable to me. I've worked up to 30 minutes, and I'm finally comfortable doing that. I always prefer to go outside, but when I looked out the window on Saturday morning and saw snow on the ground, I knew that my long run was going to be on a treadmill. My goal was eight miles, but I settled for six. Eight will have to wait.
Running on the treadmill is great exercise, and yet so many people loathe running in place on a conveyor belt with no change of scenery except for the digital numbers on the machine. One of the best things about the treadmill, though, is that the workouts can actually be versatile and fun. I learned this when I was shaping up for my wedding and looking for high-intensity interval training workouts. You also don't have to run the whole time, or at all, to get your butt kicked (in a good way). These workouts go by quickly and can get you in better shape no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Here's a roundup of some of some challenging but (potentially) fun treadmill workouts:
30-minute Bun-Burning Power Walk from Freeing Imperfections
Intense Incline Treadmill Walking Workout from Peanut Butter Fingers
The New Runner Treadmill Workout from Popsugar
40-Minute Run/Walk Intervals from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life
ADVANCED HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING WORKOUTS
30 Minute HIIT from Melinda's Fitness Blog
3-2-1 Run! Treadmill HIIT Workout from Your Trainer Paige
Advanced 30-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout from He & She Eat Clean
I realize that it's been forever since I've talked about my workout routines. I've done lots of recapping and will post a recipe here and there, but I can't even remember the last time I discussed exercising. Maybe it was when I talked about push ups for my wedding? Anyhow, strength training, with an emphasis on weight lifting, was my go-to exercise for years. I tried to become a serious runner, but that hasn't happened yet due to my leg injury and lack of motivation. Instead, I focused on building muscle and getting in and out of the gym in 30-40 minutes. When I wasn't following a program like P90X, my week looked usually looked like this:
After my brother's wedding in September, I took 2 weeks off from working out. I was sick of my routine after doing the same thing for years. I also didn't feel well, and I wanted my body to rest. I realized that I didn't feel like going back to my old routine. After my break, I decided to try other forms of strength training that used my body weight, such as push ups and planks. For the first time in years, I did Pilates.
I first got into Pilates after I graduated from college, and I immediately fell in love with it. I liked that it only required a mat and that I didn't have to wear shoes or socks. I couldn't do one roll-up when I first began taking classes, but I kept going and got my core stronger than ever. Since Pilates is a full-body workout, I toned up all over (with the best results in my core, thighs, and butt). When I lived in both the suburbs of Chicago and Adelaide, I went to Pilates classes up to 6 days a week before I started working full-time. I wish I never stopped, but there were not many classes that I could go to after work at my Adelaide gym. As a result, my workouts changed to shorter cardio sessions, lifting dumbbells, and occasional fitness classes.
I still did Pilates every once in a while on Xfinity On Demand, but the videos are not very good. I found Blogilates while doing a Google search for free online videos, and I did those every once in a while too when I moved to the city last year. I found some of the workouts to be so hard that I got frustrated and stopped. When I realized back in September that I needed a new challenge, though, I jumped head-first into Blogilates.
Cassie, the founded of Blogilates, is a Pilates instructor that uploads new videos to her site at least once a week. They are short videos (anywhere from 5-20ish minutes), and you can search videos based on the areas that you want to work.
She provides a workout calendar that tells you exactly which workouts to do each day and has nutrition plans too, but I just like to stick to whichever workouts I feel like doing. Her site is very user-friendly, and it's easy to find what you want.
I love being able to work out in the privacy of my own apartment and on my own schedule.
The only "equipment" I ever use is my yoga mat, 2 big water bottles, and a chair when the workout calls for it. Most workouts require nothing except for a mat. I got this Gaiam travel yoga mat when I visited Australia two years ago, and it's perfect for doing Pilates on a carpeted floor (if you have hard floors, you want a mat with more padding). I fill the two large water bottles with water and use them as hand weights for specific workouts. They can be light for me unless I'm fatigued already, so I'm planning to get my own real weights in the future.
I know that doing home workouts isn't for everybody, but Blogilates is perfect for me. I find that it constantly challenges me, and I'm always excited to do it. I feel that I've toned up all over, and my flexibility and core strength is better than it used to be.
If you're thinking about trying Blogilates and have never done Pilates before, try taking a few classes with an instructor first or do Cassey's beginner classes. Most Blogilates videos are what I like to call "fitness Pilates" classes, meaning that you're constantly moving the entire time and do difficult moves to exhaustion. You need to know the basics to avoid injury. There are also lunges, push ups, squats, burpees, and other moves that are not necessarily specific to Pilates. If you want a challenge, though, I can't recommend this highly enough!
Long Cardio Workouts
Although I named my blog "The Little Jogger", it's evident that I don't do much jogging. I got injured soon after I started blogging, and the rest is history. I still want to run a half marathon one of these days, so I'm not giving up yet.
Anyway, I don't think I ever mentioned that I was a cardio queen when I was in college. I used to go on the elliptical for an hour every day, 6-7 days a week (plus 30 minutes of weight machines). Although I was in awesome shape and could go out and run 6 miles like it was nothing, my need to exercise consumed me. I was addicted. If I had to skip a day, I panicked. I thought I would pack on weight unless I stuck exactly to my regimen. It wasn't healthy.
I fell away from long cardio workouts towards the end of college. I went through many phases where I just didn't want to do it at all. I think I was mentally scarred from my cardio addiction, and I just didn't enjoy it anymore. Since I started grad school, most of my elliptical and treadmill sessions have been 20 minutes at a time. Then, a few weeks, ago, something happened. I was on my parents' elliptical machine for 30 minutes, and I didn't want to get off. Before I knew it, I had worked out for an hour. I did it a few separate times after that, and I enjoyed it just as much. I realized that I'm starting to love long workouts again. This is great for my long-distance running goals, and I know now that I don't have to do it every single day in order to maintain my weight. I also don't have the time for that, but that's another story.
Here's what my workout schedule looks like right now:
Monday/Friday: BLOGILATES upper body or weights/abs for 45 minutes
Tuesday/Thursday: 30 min elliptical/20-30 minutes lower body BLOGILATES
Wednesday: 45 min full-body BLOGILATES
Saturday: 1 hour elliptical
My new school schedule comes into full swing the week of February 11 with rotations two times a week and classes the other days, so I'm going to have to cut back when it gets crazy. I'm VERY okay with that. That's the difference between the Crazy Cardio Jenny and the Jenny I am now. I feel a billion times better when I exercise, but getting enough sleep and having time to do everything else is also important.
I finally got around to setting up my own My Fitness Pal account and logging my food and exercise on it every day. I do it for two reasons. First, I want to see how many calories I'm eating a day in addition to my ratios of carbs/protein/fat and then how well I'm doing with my vitamins and minerals. My Fitness Pal does an excellent job of showing all of this to me on the iPhone app. It's also excellent motivation to eat healthier. Second, I need to get better at estimating calorie amounts in foods. It's the nature of my career, right? This is a great way for me to practice. I'm not sure how long I'm going to do this, but I'm enjoying learning for now.
If you want a super-easy and free way to track your food intake, set up an account! It just takes a few minutes, and you can log in on either your computer or smart phone. The food database seems to have everything, which makes searching for food very easy. You can type "Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt" into it, and it will find it and give you all of the nutrient info. You can also enter your own recipes into your account and store it. One of the best parts of using your smart phone is that you can instantly scan the bar code of any food that you buy, and it will bring up the nutritional information. It's pretty awesome.
I keep all of my info private, but you can join groups and forums to keep you motivated if that's something that you want.
That's all for now! Here's to a happy, healthy year!
We all have something that motivates us to do something crazy, like doing 100 push-ups. For me, the desire to do this insane achievement came the day that I tried on my wedding dress for the first time. It was about a month before the nuptials, and I noticed immediately that I was dissatisfied with the under-armpit skin hanging over my strapless dress. I had been doing a lot of strength training up to that day, and I didn't understand why my body didn't look perfect in my perfect dress to me. My mom said that she didn't notice anything, but I ignored her while I pouted in the car and thought about how that skin would ruin all of my wedding pictures. Yes, I was a little crazy.
I decided that next day that I could only lose that unwanted excess skin under my arms if I did 100 push-ups and 100 triceps dips every day. Up until that point, I could do something like 30 push-ups. I was that lazy kid once-upon-a-time who did .5 of them in gym class before I got too tired to do any more, but that changed as I got older. I worked at it, and soon I could do 5 on my toes. Then, I made it up to 10. Then 20. When I did P90X last year, I could do up to 30 push-ups without stopping. That was a gigantic accomplishment for me.
The day after I decided to do my 100 push-ups, I did 100 of them. I did 20 push-ups, and then I flipped over and did 20 triceps dips. Then, I flipped back over and did 20 push-ups. I got tired quickly, but I took breaks and did them. I stuck with my goal, and I did this every day for a few weeks. Soon enough, I could divide my push-ups into 4 sets of 25. I did this all on my toes. I never dropped down to my knees.
When I put on my dress for the final time before my wedding (I had three dress fittings), that unwanted skin was gone. It vanished. My arms looked more toned to me than they ever did before, and I was so proud of my hard work.
Since I was so happy with the results for the wedding, I've been continuing with the push-ups. I don't do the triceps dips anymore (although I do do assorted triceps exercises 3 times per week), but I work on my push-ups 2-3 times per week. I made it up to 50 push-ups without stopping, and I did 60 today for the first time. What an accomplishment! I never thought I'd be able to do even 20 of them on my toes.
I don't consider myself to be an athletic person, but I am a good example of the fact that a little work goes a long way. Even if you can barely do a full push-up right now, I am living proof that you can do 100. Just take baby steps, and you will do it!
Hi friends! I was trying very hard to blog yesterday, but I couldn't get my host site to work. Every other site was working on my computer except for Weebly, and I eventually just had to give up.
I've been having lots of fun since recovering from my gum surgery (I got the rest of my stitches out on Friday and can now eat whatever I want) thanks to the arrival of my friend Irene and family birthdays. Irene is going to graduate school in Boston, and she's on a break this week. She got into Chicago at 7 pm and was dropped off straight at our friend Andi's apartment to hang out with us. That's how much she loves us.
We boogied down at Old Town Social. Cold weather + no standing in line = happy me!
Our friend JJ from high school and college also met us there. I thought that he was living in New York, but he moved back to Chicago a few months ago for law school. I was so surprised and happy to see him. Here's a fun fact: we "dated" for a few weeks in sixth grade. I think he met me once (we went to separate junior highs) and then asked me to be his girlfriend in an e-mail. We went on two dates that involved his dad picking me up and dropping us off at the movie theater. He bought me popcorn, and I apparently hogged it all. It wasn't really working out, so one of us "dumped" the other. I honestly can't remember who did it.
I drove back to the suburbs yesterday morning so that I could get lots of homework done before going to dinner for the March Birthday Club. I call it the March Birthday Club, because my mom, dad and grandma almost have the same exact birthdays. Funnily enough, the same situation exists in Alastair's family. I talked about here last year.
We went to Wildfire, which is always good without fail. We started with bread rolls and butter (not pictured), and then we all got chopped salads. Their signature salad comes with chicken, avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, scallions, corn, tortilla strips and lime vinaigrette already mixed into the salad. I always request my dressing on the side, but this salad was very lightly dressed. It was perfect.
I haven't been to Wildfire in years, but I used to always order the Cedar Planked Salmon with brown sugar glaze. I knew I would enjoy it this time too, so I ordered that. At our table, it was pretty much all salmon and steaks.
You can choose whatever side you want with your main dish, so I went all out with the cheddar double stuffed potato. I think it was four times the size of a regular baked potato.
Since we had three birthdays at the table, we also had a lot of dessert! I had a few bites of the chocolate cake with the ice cream.
My meal also was a wonderful lunch today. I wasn't willing to throw away more than half of my potato last night!
My Friday Leg Routine
Last night's meal is indeed not the best way to get toned legs. With a combination of moves from P90X and other exercises that I know from experience, I made my favorite leg workout yet. This is what I do on Fridays:
Normal squats (toes pointed forward) with weights
Sumo squats (wider stance, toes pointed out) with weights
Alternating curtsy squats
60-second wall sit
Balance lunge with foot on chair
Walking lunges with weights
Side lunges with weights
Back lunges with weights
Calf raises with weights (feet facing out/forward/in)
Side leg lift on floor
90-degree leg lift on floor
The crab (lie on side, bend knees at 90 degrees, keep toes together and lift knee to work inner thighs)
Leg circles on side
Get on hands and knees, straighten one leg and pulse up using glutes
Same routine as above, but bend knee so that the heel is facing the ceiling. You will feel it in your glutes.
Let me know if you need better explanations of these. If I was really good, I'd be posting pictures of myself doing them (but I'm not always that good!).
I don't want to rub it in, but it's very nice in Australia right now. I'm prancing around in a sundresses and thongs (....or flip-flops), and the sun is out until 9 pm. I have zero complaints here.
I've been working hard to keep in shape over the past couple of months with my P90X workouts, and I don't want to lose my fitness abilities while I'm overseas for more than three weeks. Like many people, I have the tendency to get into "vacation mode" and stuff my face silly. Unfortunately, you gain just as much weight with "vacation food" as you do with "normal food". I've only been here for a few days, but here are some things I'm trying to do in order to avoid extra holiday pounds:
1. Eat smart at the airport/on the airplanes (especially when you're traveling for 24+ hours)
Call me lucky or cursed, but airplane food makes me physically ill. As a result, I really try to limit what I eat while I'm in the air. When you're on an airplane for more than half of a day, one of the last things that you want is an upset stomach. In order to keep myself happy, I avoid any food that could trigger any sort of sickness (such as the mystery meat and creamy foods). I don't always clear my plate, but I'd rather get off the plane feeling slightly hungry than gravely ill. Plus, when you're not moving much for that many hours, you don't want to to be eating too much.
Flying is also another excuse to avoid any fried or heavy food several hours before getting on a plane. If I need to get something from the airport, I need to eat light and healthy foods and avoid beer. I want everything to sit well in my stomach.
2. If you have a kitchen at your accommodation, use it.
Alastair hardly has any food at his apartment. Luckily, I packed some Annie's macaroni and cheese just for that reason. I stopped at the grocery store for frozen green beans and milk, and I made myself a delicious and healthy meal that lasted two lunches. It was cheaper than going out for lunch, and I'm sure that it was healthier.
I know that we're going to eat a lot of our meals in restaurants, but we'll make sure to use the kitchen as well. Cooking healthy meals in the kitchen is a guaranteed way to avoid weight gain on your holidays!
Despite having a gaping blister on my right foot and a broken sandal (already!), I can say without hesitation that I love walking around Melbourne. Walking, of course, is one of the best ways to fit in exercise while away from home.
Alastair works in the city, and his apartment is about a 45-minute walk from there. A few days ago, I walked into town so that I could meet him after work. I got great views of the skyline for most of the way.
Along the river, I passed the sporting complex.
Melbourne has a lot of Christmas spirit!
They have Christmas windows, just like Chicago (and plenty of other cities!).
We went to TGI Fridays that night, although that really doesn't have anything to do with anything here. I was just surprised that their food tasted better than any TGI Friday's I've been to in the States. That's all.
Yesterday, we walked from Al's apartment to St Kilda, which is one of my favorite spots in Melbourne. There were so many people at the beach.
Walking is the best way to explore a new city. Unless the weather is terrible, your shoes are uncomfortable, or you have too much to carry, you have no excuse to NOT do some strolling. Your body will thank you, too.
4. Exercise. A little.
It's so easy for me to throw my exercise routine out the window when I travel. However, I don't want to lose my ability to do 25+ push-ups on my toes at once and do many crazy yoga poses that I was never able to do before I started P90X. While I'm not going to follow the program exactly, I'm still doing exercises as much as I can. Here is what I have done so far:
Do it at your own risk.
Yesterday and today, I completed workouts from my P90X DVD booklet. I did Cardio X yesterday, and I did Legs and Back today. Instead of using my power chords to "mock" chin-ups, I used that time during the video to do push-ups and triceps dips.
I actually bought a travel toga mat from Amazon.com. I highly recommend this one. It weighs one pound, it folds up easily in my suitcase, and it works very well as a yoga mat. I also brought my resistance bands.
I go to Adelaide tomorrow, and I'm not expecting to do any workout videos while I'm there. I do plan on running outside, doing my push-ups, and using my resistance bands.
If I don't see you before Christmas, then have a great holiday! Also, happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends!
Happy Monday, friends! I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend. I had a great one myself, and my dad's dinner from Sunday night was one of the reasons I liked it so much.
On the menu:
Oven roasted grouper with chopped apples and onions
Trader Joe's Multigrain Pilaf (with a few extra additions)
Steamed broccoli with melted cheese
When I move out of the house, one of the things that I will miss the most is my dad's healthy cooking. Interestingly, my mom also started cooking once a week. She hasn't cooked a meal for us since I was a wee little girl. My dad enjoyed taking responsibility for the cooking, and my mom liked baking. I wasn't a deprived child. Anyway, my mom's cooking has been a great success! She made bread from scratch twice, and I always think it's very impressive when people do that. She even kneaded the dough by herself, since we don't have a bread maker.
New Gym Equipment: Goodies or Baddies?
Since I started P90X, I've been using a resistance band (roped around our elliptical machine) to "mock" my pull ups/chin up, etc. If you don't have a pull up bar, they show you how to work the same muscles with a band. It's not as big of a challenge, but it still works. I never really considered trying a pull up bar until my mom came home from the store with one from Iron Gym today.
Being my impulsive little self, I immediately ripped it out of the box and assembled it. After looking around the basement, my mom and I realized that the only place we could use it in our basement was over the door of our utility room.
It doesn't look welcoming at all (I am actually scared of utility rooms and still somewhat believe that monsters live in there), but I figured that it should be fine. If I disappeared in the basement for more than a few hours, hopefully my parents would figure out by then that a monster probably grabbed me and gobbled me up in the crawl space. Then, they would have wished that they believed me about mythical creatures down there.
My mom also bought a Body Fit mat to cushion my joints. I've wanted one of these for a while, because I worry about jumping up and down on our concrete basement floor. I used it to run in place during my warm up tonight, and I didn't feel any pain in my shins at all. This mat is a keeper. I'm looking forward to using it for plyometrics tomorrow.
As for the other purchase, I'm not sure if we're going to keep it. I did a few rounds of chin ups/pull ups during my workout today (assisted by a chair), and then it slid off the ledge while I was dangling on it. Then, it happened again. I'm lucky that I didn't get hurt. I'm thinking that it's not on there correctly, so I'll play around with it this week. I'd really like to use it to improve my strength, but I also don't want to break any of my bones.
I also don't (really) believe that monsters live in my utility room. I am, however, afraid of pipes. That might be a story for another time.
It's nearly winter, which of course means that it's Soup Season! We had Cedar Lane Chopped Vegetable and Barley Soup in our fridge, so I heated it up and tried it. It's wonderful! The soup is so thick and full of veggies, which I love. It was actually so thick that I added some vegetable broth to it. I also sprinkled on parmesan cheese and devoured the bowl. If you live near a Costco and have a membership, you should take this home with you!
Sweet dreams, friends!
My dog Mickey is a hoot. Our yard is surrounded by prairie, and Mickey runs into it when he's not wearing his electric collar since the plants are past the boundaries of our property. We always know when he went too far, because his long and thick fur always attracts burrs and seeds and other native flora. This time, he came back with a stick stuck in his tail.
He's so cute, that I can only laugh when he comes back covered in plants. How can you not snicker when your dog is trying to act innocent but has a branch attached to him?
Another amusement is that my dad bought me gnocchi (since he knows how to make me happy) and didn't even know that the food expires on my wedding day. Out of all of the days it could expire, who would have thunk that it would be then?
Naturally, I expected this to be magical gnocchi.
I made a batch last night and mixed in salmon from Sunday night's dinner. The salmon was good, but the overall meal was very unimpressive.
For lunch today, I combined the plain leftover gnocchi with broccoli, pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. It may be the only way that I ever make it, but it's ALWAYS good!
I also have to share that it's eggnog season. If your tummy doesn't agree with regular eggnog, you can buy soy eggnog. I'm sure this is nothing new, but I've been out of the country for a few years. Cut me some slack.
I woke up early this morning and did my Plyo X workout, which is my norm for Tuesdays since I started P90X. Plyo X is about 60 minutes (including warming up and cooling down) of nonstop movement. I was initially very scared of attempting this, because plyometrics can be very hard on your body. Too much jumping up and down could add stress on the knees and back. I experienced this when I did Zumba at my last gym. My knees were okay, but I always woke up the next morning with a sore back and leg (my right thigh that usually aches).
One of the things that I really like about Plyo X is that you can modify everything. If they do an exercise such as a jumping squat, you don't have to do the high-impact version. You can do the squat without a jump. Usually, somebody will show you how to do the modified move. Tony Horton, the P90X instructor, also explains how to lessen your chance of injury while doing a high-impact move (land like a cat!) and stresses good shoes and a shock-absorbing mat. Once I learned that there wasn't a 100% chance of injuring myself, my attitude towards Plyo X changed.
I started running two times per week at the same time that I started the program, but I soon realized that I was putting too much stress on my body. I wasn't a consistent runner, so my body wasn't used to that impact either. I may have been able to put up with it, but my right shin began to hurt when I walked. I stopped the running, and I used two yoga mats(one of top of the other) for extra coverage under my feet. Our basement floor is carpeted, but it's a very thin layer on top of a concrete floor. I'm sure that was one of the reasons that my shin ached.
Since I "padded up", I've had a great time with Plyo X. I am huffing and puffing more than I am in any of the other workouts, because it's all cardio. We do a ton of different squats and lunges, so it's also very good for the lower body. I only need my mats and a towel (and WATER) for this, so it doesn't require as much equipment as some of the other DVDs.
This morning, I was so exhausted towards the end of it that I literally wanted to curl up on the basement floor and go to sleep. I've never been that tired from this. I guzzled all of my water and then went upstairs for a recovery smoothie.
I drank it while I got ready for class. Do you like my thumb nail, by the way? It's a Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strip. They come in all sorts of crazy patterns. You just buy the strips, which are real nail polish, and put them on your nail like a sticker. You press them down on your nail and then use a nail filer that they give you to file off the excess part of the strip that hangs over your nail. Mine are starting to chip, so my flower child pattern is coming off soon.
Bye bye for now!
Editor's note: The workout is called "Plyometrics X". I'm not really sure why I've been abbreviating it!
Hi friends! I'm now on my sixth week of P90X. I think it's about time to talk about it!
As I mentioned before, I was getting bored with my workout routine a few months ago and wanted to do something more challenging for my body. I found The Butt Bible on Exercise TV. I followed the workout religiously for six weeks, and I was very pleased with the results. I went from only being able to do about four push ups to fourteen on the toes (which was a huge deal for me), and my whole body felt tighter. Once I finished the program, I decided that I wanted to do something more ambitious.
I started P90X the next week (I got the program at half price on Amazon.com!), and I haven't regretted it for a second. Here's what I can tell you about it: you cannot NOT get into better shape (double negative= SUPER positive=you WILL get into better shape). The program comes with a variety of workouts, each on its own DVD. Each workout is approximately an hour (some are longer), and you do six workouts per week. You must have the flexibility in your schedule to accommodate them, because you are not supposed to skip them. If you have to wake up 90 minutes earlier than usual (I often do), so be it.
P90X takes 90 days to complete if you stick to the schedule and don't skip days. You never have to do the same routine two days in a row, and you rarely repeat a routine in a given week. As a result, you don't get bored, and your muscles don't get bored.
Here's what an average week looks like:
Day 1: Chest and Back (with Ab Ripper X, which is a 15-minute ab workout)
Day 2: Plyometrics X
Day 3: Shoulders and Arms (with Ab Ripper X)
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs and Back (with Ab Ripper X)
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: Rest or Stretch X
Other than Ab Ripper X, you never have to repeat in the same week! That's nice, right? You follow this schedule for three weeks, and then you change it.
Five weeks into P90X, I can do more than 20 push ups at once (I do WAY more than that throughout the duration of one workout). I see definition in my stomach and arms that I have never seen before in my life. I don't look like a crazy muscle woman, but I can't help but notice that I'm getting more toned. I look healthier. I love it. I'm pushing my body to incredible heights, and I'm going to keep at it! ANYBODY can look better from this.
I'll talk more about specific workouts as I blog. I'd overwhelm you if I went into detail about each and every one.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!
What a grand Sunday. I don't have to go anywhere, my leg doesn't hurt, and I've finished whatever homework I need to do. I also haven't mentioned this all week for obvious reasons, but my parents have been out of town since Tuesday and get home tonight. I've been by myself all week watching the pups, and we've had a wonderful time. They are so considerate and let me sleep as late as I want. I make sure to return the favor by rubbing their bellies, feeding them, giving them yummy treats, walking them, and scratching their butt. Dogs totally dig that.
I got a small pang of hunger in between meals yesterday, so I made up a very amusing snack. Lately, I've been taking Triscuits and dipping them in cottage cheese. I like them both, and putting them together works well for me.
I was feeling more innovative yesterday, so I filled the surface of small plate with the crackers and then broke apart a couple of baby spinach leaves and placed a piece on each cracker. I put a small spoonful of cottage cheese on top of that, and then topped it with either cheddar or mozzarella shredded cheese.
I melted it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It came out looking like a complete cheesy mess (I laughed out loud when I saw it), but it didn't do anything bad for the taste. I liked it so much that I made it again today.
Dinner and Blackhawks
Last night, I went to my friend Kate and her boyfriend Dan's new apartment. Kate cooked dinner, Dan taught me everything I needed to know about watching a Chicago Blackhawks game, and I brought the beer.
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale and some regular Bud Lite.
Kate grilled burgers, chicken and potato slices. She also made a great salad.
Dessert: A chocolate meringue cake from Trader Joe's and chopped pineapple and mangoes.
I never really ate mangoes until I met Kate. Now, they are one of my favorite fruits. There is nothing to not like about them, except for burning acid holes in your mouth from eating too many of them. I guess I can blame Kate for that.
The game (see the creepy witch troll watching the game on the couch?)
My first time wearing a Blackhawks jersey. Thanks for showing me how to hold the hockey stick, Dan! Apparently, I was holding it the same way that I would sweep the floor before he corrected me.
Probably the wrong way to hold it....
I had another almost-rotten banana sitting around, so I made it into another smoothie this morning. My smoothie contained:
I used to be so disgusted when I first read about food bloggers putting spinach in their smoothies. Here's the honest truth about it: you can't taste it at all! I put a whole handful in there, and look at my smoothie. Do you see anything green floating around in there? Heck no!
It's such a great way to sneak greenery into your food. You'll never know it's there, but you're still getting the nutrients. My only regret was the oats. They made my drink too chewy. Next time, I'll add cooked oats or omit them all together.
The Butt Bible
I feel like I've been sneaking around on you guys for discovering such a great workout and not telling you about it! I realized several weeks ago (we're talking about right after I finished summer school) that I needed to find a better way to work my lower body. I wasn't challenging myself enough, and I wanted to tone up down there. I found "The Butt Bible" on Xfinity (on demand TV workouts for people who have Comcast) and did the Lower Body Level 1 workout a few times. Then I went to San Francisco and had my exercise-free time while Alastair was in town. When he left, I decided to seriously commit to this workout.
The Butt Bible is six "badass" workouts created by Pauline Nordin that work the entire body. There are three levels of intensity, and each level has an upper body and a lower body workout. Each workout ranges from 20 minutes (level I) to about 40 minutes (level III). If you decide to do the whole thing, then you finish all of them over six weeks. You do one level for two weeks, and then you move to the next one. Xfinity pulled the majority of the workouts when I was on week six (they do that from time to time), so I'm so lucky that I was able to do the whole series for no additional charge. Since it's no longer there in its entirety, though, you can download her workout or buy it online.
I was shocked at how well my body responded to the Butt Bible. On most weeks, I did the lower body workouts twice a week and the upper body three times a week. I started seeing results almost instantly, especially in my lower body. While the workouts aren't very long, Pauline had me working my ass off (no pun intended) the whole time. The lower body workouts ranged from normal squats and lunges to using chairs to floor exercises. For upper body, we used both weights and body weight. I could only do about 5-ish push ups on my toes before I started the program, and now I can do 20. I'd say that's a big improvement. She also incorporates abdominal work into the upper body workouts.
Not only did The Butt Bible tone my body, but Pauline Nordin is great entertainment. I laughed so much throughout the program because of her. She has a very silly sense of humor, and she uses that to make the time pass faster. I wish that there were either more workouts of hers or that I could recruit her as my friend. I like her that much.
The other good thing is that you barely need any equipment. You'll probably need two sets of weights (I used five pounds, eight pounds and sometimes ten pounds) and a chair. If you want a new workout program, then I highly, highly recommend getting your hands on this! I was in a rut before this and really dreaded exercising for a while. When I did this program, I was always excited to get down to the basement and do it.
I just started P90X (I'm one week in), so I'll be sure to give it a starting review in the next couple of days.
Oh, what a shame to rise from bed at 5 am. Have I mentioned that I am only doing this four times a week?
My workout this morning looked something like this:
3 sets of 15 alternating chest press and fly on bench (12 pounds)
3 sets of 15 standing row (12 pounds)
120 tricep dips (20 at a time in between sets, using body weight)
3 sets of 15 military shoulder presses (10 pounds)
3 sets of 15 bicep curls (8 pounds)
I don't switch up my bicep and shoulder exercises very much.
For the lower body, I did:
2 sets of 10 single-legged squats, holding onto a chair for balance
20 alternating walking lunges
20 regular squats
20 sumo squats
20 side lifts on floor on each leg
I didn't use weight on any of these lower body exercises, and I didn't want to work my legs too hard. Just as I was getting ready for bed last night, the pain set into my right leg from running. I didn't feel discomfort while running or after, which makes this whole situation even more frustrating. I'm not in a lot of pain, but it's still uncomfortable to do things like put on a pair of jeans or walk down stairs. The real no-no is lifting my knee up to my chest. My muscle fires up every time that I do it. It could be sore from the long run yesterday, but I know well enough that my leg still isn't healed.
The exercises I did today, like the single-legged squats and the forward lunges, are exercises that my mom's personal trainer told me to do in order to strengthen my sartorius muscle. When I did them this morning, it felt amazing. I felt like I was stretching the muscles and not irritating them. I also just started doing a new stretch that she told me to do a few months ago (but I of course ignored her advice). I'm also rolling on the Grid two times a day on my outer and inner thigh. I'll start stretching twice a day as well as using heating at night and before long runs and ice after exercise. I just want this stupid leg to get better. Is that too much to ask?
For now, I am still running the half marathon. I'll probably see my mom's personal trainer a few times during my training. If she tells me not to run it, then I won't. She did fix my mom's bad IT band and hamstring while she was training for the Chicago Marathon, though, so I'm hoping she can help me.
Getting Ready for School
During my biology lecture last Friday, I was falling asleep. I find my class to be fascinating, and my teacher (who is an M.D.) is one of those smart people you can listen to for hours. I wasn't tired because I was bored; I was tired since I was up at 5 am. This morning, I had some extra time to make tea. I figured I could make a double black tea, and I would be wide awake during my lecture.
WRONG. I still almost nodded off. I tried to find coffee during my break, but no luck. I'm going to have to start brewing coffee every morning and bringing it in a big mug. I haven't done that in so long.
Now, going back to earlier this morning, making tea in my house is something that always makes me laugh. For one thing, we have never owned a kettle. I didn't understand the importance of one of those until I had roommates in college who loved tea. As a result of not having a kettle, I use the microwave to heat up my water. In addition to having to microwave our tea water, we don't drink tap water in our house. Most suburbs of Chicago have lake water, meaning that they have purified tap water from Lake Michigan running through their pipes. In my home growing up, I always drank straight from the taps. Then, we moved to a new suburb that uses well water. We have to use water softener, which removes the calcium and magnesium (which could clog the pipes and also may prevent soap from lathering with mixed with the water) through reverse osmosis. While the water is perfectly drinkable, it has a bitter taste to it. Therefore, we only drink bottled water. I hope you enjoyed that explanation :)
To make my tea, I open up a cold bottle of water, pour it into a mug and heat it for one minute in the microwave.
It's not any more work than using a kettle to boil water, but it's still funny that my process for making tea is so different.
I ate another wholegrain bagel with regular cream cheese while drinking my tea. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that bagels don't do anything to fill you up. I was hungry about an hour later.
I also found Mickey hanging out in his typical spot in the laundry room. I wasn't surprised to find him there, but I was surprised to see that he was hoarding biscuits. He's such a funny dog. Unlike the other ones in the house, he doesn't like those biscuits that you see below. When any of us give him one, he'll take it in his mouth but not eat it. He walks away with it and keeps it near him so that none of the other dogs can take it. I'm not sure if he ends up eating them or not. I'm also not sure how he ended up with five of them this morning!
Lunch and Dinner
I love being able to come home for lunch, because I can whip up whatever I want. I also don't have to pack anything to take with me. For lunch today, I ate a Trader Joe's Southwest Salad. I love making my own salads, but pre-made salads can be a lot of fun.
This salad came with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, red peppers, cabbage, a corn salsa (with black beans) and some yummy dressing on the side.
I always prefer to dip my salad in dressing on the side rather than pour it on. As a result, I always lose things in my dressing! The salad didn't blow my socks off, but I really enjoyed the barbecue ranch dressing. It's hard to not enjoy it!
I still wanted to much on something before my second class, so I chopped up a Pink Lady apple. I discovered this kind of apple in Australia, and it's now my favorite. I was so happy when I found out that we have them here!
I made the sliced apple even more exciting with some almond butter. I've actually never had it before, and I am now shocked that I've been alive this long and never experienced it. It's amazing! It's so much better than peanut butter. I would have licked the whole jar clean, but then I remembered that it's smart to eat this stuff in moderation.
After a rather stressful day in chemistry, I came home to make myself even more stressed. I have quizzes in both of my classes tomorrow. I planned on studying over the weekend, but then I didn't do it. The stuff is pretty easy, but I'm still worried that I don't know the material well enough. I still have more homework due tomorrow, and I have to study for the quizzes. AND it's 10 pm! I'm supposed to be up in 7 hours. Strong coffee tomorrow morning, yes? So if I post something tomorrow night that seems completely incoherent, you will know why!
Dinner, like lunch, had a Southwestern theme. We made black bean quesadillas, which we make all the time in our house. My dad makes the filling by heating and mixing corn, tomatoes and black beans in a pan. We then make our own quesadillas.
I added shredded cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. I've never added the Greek yogurt before, but I certainly will in the future. The quesadilla was delicious, despite the fact that it looks very boring on my plate.
Ok, well I am going to get ready for bed and then study until I cry or pass out. We'll have to see. Biology should be fine, but chemistry doesn't come very easily to me. I'll have to work extra hard if I want to get a good grade!
I already can't wait for my coffee tomorrow. Have a great night!
ABOUT jennifer Martin, MS, RD, LDN
I am a Chicago-based Registered Dietitian working primarily in Acute Clinical Care. I started this blog in 2010, before I even knew that I wanted to be an RD! Now, as an active dietitian, this blog will become part of my life again. Read about my current healthy habits, but please peruse my old posts (from 2014 and before) to read about life as an RD student and my previous years in Australia!