Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Trouble with Rest Days and I Hop on a Soap Box

According to those who supposedly know a thing or two about fitness, you should not workout every single day.  At least once a week should be a rest day, where you really do nothing at all.  Maybe a walk, maybe some stretching, but that's it.

I am not good with rest days.  First, in my world, no calorie burn = eating like a bird.  And I hate eating like a bird.  No treats, no drinks, just 3 small meals and a couple of small snacks. Not fun.

Next, if I don't workout, I can't sleep.  I can't fall asleep or I wake up at 2 am, for the day. I'm also very cranky if I don't work out.

Finally, the worst part, the day AFTER the rest day.  Rest day is awful, but for some reason, once I get past that one day off, my mind says, "hey, I like this lazy stuff.  Let's not work out today either".  I tell that little voice to shut up.  I can handle the "lets be lazy" argument.  So the little voice comes back with "well, you really should jut say home, because you are going to suck".  And for some unfathomable reason, I start to buy into this one.

Yes.  That's right, I get convinced some how that one day off means my muscles have atrophied, my resting heart rate has headed to the 80s and I'm going to need my inhaler every five minutes.

This makes absolutely no sense, but it's powerful.  It opens the door to many of my old excuses (you suck is always #1, sad, I know), like:

 "the house is a mess, you need to stay home and clean up!"
 "your kids need you, you work full time and THEN have the audacity to workout 7 hours a week,  how dare you!   If they are delinquents, it's all because you left them to workout",

"your husband needs help.  He works all day and then you leave him to care for kids/make dinner/pick up? How much of that is he going to take before he packs his bags?,

and the most ridiculous,  "you still have thank you cards to write from Mack being born! How can you think of working out?".  (Honestly, I am three years behind in thank you notes! I need to just let it go.)
My point is, after over four months of working out consistently, that self defeating voice is still there.  It almost makes me wonder how I ever got out the door in the first place?  Then I remember why I got out the door in the first place...for my kids and my husband.

I had cancer at 21.  My mom has had it three times (3 different cancers) and her mother died of cancer in her 50's. My husband had cancer at 33. 

It's not just cancer.  My dad had a heart attack at 55. His mom died of an  aneurysm her 50s.

Add that I didn't start having kids until my mid 30's, and you might see the issue. Simply put, I am not leaving my husband a widow or my kids orphans.  And if that means a messy house, quick dinners and a few hours away from them, so be it. 

My point is, I think I may never completely eradicate the self defeating voices in my head, but with every workout, I get stronger and I'm not talking muscle stronger, I mean emotionally stronger.  It takes less and less to overcome that voice, still, it's important that I always to remember why I started this and why I need to continue.  Really important.  In fact, I always had those thoughts in the back of my head, the thoughts that I need to take care of me for them, but until I actually said it. Until I wrote it down, shared that thought with others and repeated it to my self over and over, I didn't buy in 100%.  

I am sympathetic to those who are where I was four months ago.  Getting started is so hard. I was scared, intimidated and very unsure of myself.  But once I started, each workout was easier to start.  The self doubting voice gets quieter and weaker. Remember, you deserve this.  You deserve to be healthy, to feel good, to look good and to be proud of yourself.  You deserve the extra energy for now and the extra years you are giving to yourself and your family.  

Probably the biggest revelation was this: it's alright to care about myself more than anyone else. That is shocking, isn't it? A mother or a wife is not supposed to say she loves herself at least as much as she loves her family, but shouldn't she? Doesn't everyone benefit from a mother or wife who takes care of herself? What I am saying that it is alright to put yourself first when it matters.  It's not selfish to put my needs first.  If I don't take care of me, no one will.  In fact, I am doing a disservice to my family if I do not, first and foremost take care of me.

I'm not saying I go around and do whatever I want.  I am not talking wants or desires, but needs.  Time to myself is a need.  Exercise is a need.  Healthy eating is a need. I not only have a right to address my needs, but an obligation.

Don't get me wrong, I'd take a bullet for my kids, without a second thought.  But that doesn't mean I'll be fat, unhealthy, miserable and sloppy when I do it. 

What do you think of my position? Agree? Disagree?
What are the biggest challenges to you getting out the door? 
Why are you getting fit/being healthy/want to change? What's your motivation? 

And I hope you enjoyed the randomly placed pictures of my motivation!

Treadmill Racing and Sad News.

I went to Nth Degree on Wednesday and the class was pretty small.  About five minutes before class, it appeared that the class would only be half full.  This means everyone would start on the treadmills and no one would start on the floor (the weight training portion).  I looked up and down the treadmills and was disappointed.  You see, I always want to workout next to someone faster and stronger than me.  It motivates me and I try to keep up with them.  I usually know who is faster, and I didn't see any of the usuals at class.

Then classmate #11 came in.  I don't know his name, but he's a guy (many are faster than me- but not all) and he is a good 10-15 years younger. BINGO.  I'd run with him before and I knew he was fast.  But what to do?  If I leave my treadmill, will he take my spot and leave me to do the floor workout alone?

I decided to put it all out there.  "I'll work out with you, ok?".  He looked glad to not be alone, but I didn't want the poor kid to thing some woman in her late 30's was hot for him.  "Your fast", I said matter of factly. "I'll be faster if I work out next to you".  He seemed to understand and seemed a little relieved.

It was a smart decision.  We flew through the workout at "sprinter" speeds.  Nth Degree instructions give three speeds, "walker", "runner" and "sprinter".  I started as a "Walker Plus".  I moved on to a "Runner"  then a "Runner Plus".  I'm now a Sprinter.  I'm barely a sprinter, but still, I'm a sprinter.This is a huge deal to me.

I also liked working out with this kid because he lifts heavy, as do I.  It really is so much more enjoyable to work out near someone who is also pushing themselves, and this was certainly the case.

Our usual dinner plans for Wednesday fell through, so we headed to a favorite local brewery.  The one that we go to every Thursday.  So of course, several members of the staff stopped by to say "You know today's Wednesday, right?.  Yeah, yeah, ha, ha.

I ordered the secret Boca Burger (it's not on the menu) with broccoli and a chipotle mayo.  I ate the sandwich open faced with a little of the mayo.  Yum.  We also ordered a pitcher of something dark.  I think it was a porter.  Absent the beer, it was under 300 calories.

I was off of work on Thursday, but sent the kids to daycare.  This was so I could work on painting the dressers and work table for my craft room.  I was busy from sun up to sun down.  Boot camp was canceled because most of the people couldn't make it.  Between spring break and  it being opening day for the Detroit Tigers, only Jenny and I could have gone.  We talked about working out together, but it was kind of chilly. In the end, I skipped my workout all together.

This was not smart, since Thursday is another night at the Brewery.  We met our neighbors there and they gave us some terrible news.  They are moving.

To some people, this would be unfortunate news.  To us, it's devastating.  They are some of our dearest, closet friends.  We had always hoped our boys would grow up together and continue being best friends.

We can't blame them at all.  They have been given an amazing opportunity, a great Northern Michigan town, a great job, great schools- their dream life. So are sad, but very happy for them.  We pushed aside our disappointment and focused on being happy for our friends.  We spent the evening talking about vacations we will take together this summer and when we will go and visit.

All this talk meant more beer.  A total of four pitchers for four adults.  How on earth did that happen?

Friday morning came way too fast.  I got on the scale and was 2 pounds heavier than the morning before.  great. Not entirely surprising, since I exceeded my daily caloric intake by 50%.

I did the work thing- it was a half day so that's good.  Tom was off and daycare was closed, so he was home with the boys.  After I got home, we had an opportunity to work on the paining some more.  The fat quarter of fabric also arrived.  The colors are all a match. Phew!

Here's a before picture.  I have to find an after...

I think we pretty much are done with the painting.  Now we have to do the poly and let it all dry.  I'm pretty pleased with how everything looks so far.

I planned to do 5 miles of fartleks, but could not think of a 5 mile route that I wanted to run.  I decided to break it up a bit.  I warmed up for a half mile and then did fartleks for another .75 mile, until I arrived at the local track.  There I did 2.5 miles of straights and curves (hard on straight-aways, easy on turns).  I wrapped that up and ran home at a "tempo" run pace.

Our middle school track is pretty crappy.

I stayed in lane 3 to avoid the potholes.  I had to take a picture of it for Tommy, since his favorite number, like all 3 year-olds that I have ever met, is 3.

For the straights and curves, my heart rate got to 160/161 for the straights and I made sure it stayed above 140 for the curve. This workout burned just over 500 calories for 5 miles.

The run itself was great, but there were a few distractions.  First, I am absolutely done and finished with headphones.  They drove me nuts.  Second, I lost my Lululemon headband.  Serves me right for spending $16.00 on a headband.  I retraced my steps and it was gone.  Someone else is now sporting a used headband. Enjoy your new find thief and may someone choke you with it. 

Afterwards, we hung out with the neighbors again.  We had cocktails and ordered pizza.  I don't even want to think about how many calories I went over. Still, it was a great night. Here's Mackie on Jenny's lap.  He just adores her! And boy does he need a hair cut!

It was a gorgeous evening, so I couldn't help but take a ton of pictures.  Mack was trying on Jenny's gardening gloves.
 Tom even got out his guitar.He needs a haircut too!
 Tommy was trying out his new shades. Oh, and yeah- haircut needed.
 And finally, Mack kicking back in the bed of the play truck.
I took a bunch of pictures of the neighbors too, but keep forgetting (or am to embarrassed) to ask if it's alright to post them.     I asked- here they are:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mile Repeats with 8 min mile example

Mile Repeats-8 min Mile ex.
 with Speed Increase
Warm Up
800 meters
base -.4
Allow HR to get to apx 115
Repeat x4 or x 5
Cool Down

Follow the example and your miles should be just under 8 minutes each. 

Getting out the door is the first step

Lately I am having a hard time getting myself to work out.  Once I start, I'm usually great, but getting moving has been a challenge.  I really don't know why.  Is it that the weather's been colder than it had been lately? Because I have so many crafty things I want to do at home? Because I am getting so close to my goal weight? I think I'm going to have to figure this out.

To get through times like this, I try to employ the "fifteen minute rule". I tell myself, "just start, and if you want to quit after 15 minutes, you can". I've never quit once I started.

It took me over an hour to get myself out the door this past Sunday, but after about five minutes, I was fine.  I've been spending my Sunday mornings going on a nice easy longish run. My "Easy Like Sunday Morning Run"  I run around downtown Royal Oak and through some of my favorite neighborhoods. I particularly enjoy window shopping. I saw this cute BlueQ tote in the window at Shine.  I have to go back and grab it.  
Sunday was a 50 minute easy run, which only burned 350 calories.  I cannot remember the exact route I took (I always do a different route on Sundays), but I think it was about 4.5 miles.  It's a little too easy and next week I need to step it up a bit.  I think the problem was that I was listening to The Hunger Games on Audible.  I was so into it I was barely moving. 

I was running late and had not prepared breakfast.  I decided I'd try a Subway breakfast after the morning rush was done at work.  At about 10 am, things slowed down, so I ran to Subway.  I had never had their breakfast, so it was all new to me.  I liked it, but it was too much food.  I got a 6 in flat bread.  Next time I will get the English muffin or breakfast size flat bread. 

The size didn't stop me from eating it all.  I got the egg white, ham, turkey, salt, pepper, olives, spinach, tomato, banana pepper, cucumbers, bell peppers, light onion and provolone.  It was really good, but sat like a rock in my stomach.  Still, according to the website, it was just 350 calories.  I certainly will be getting breakfast there again. 

While I was disappointed in my super lazy run, my muscles were still fresh and ready for GoBarbell.   One of the owners, Jimmy, was the instructor. He usually does not teach the GoBarbell classes that I go to, so I was interested in how it would go. I have only been to his spin classes, and they are my favorite- so I expected this class would be good.  He did not disappoint.  One of the reasons I like his classes so much is he does NOT do the workout with you.  He will show you what to do, but he focuses on watching and teaching.  You can also hear him because he's not short of breath because he's trying to get his workout in too. I have some hearing loss, so I really appreciate being able to hear the instructor.

I know some people feel the opposite.  They don't respect the instructor if they are not doing the workout too.  Not an issue for me.  I figure, I'm paying you to train and teach me, work out on your own time. That sounds harsh.  I don't mean it to.  I have great classes when the instructor does the work out too, I just prefer it when they focus mostly on the student.  Anyway, it was a fun class. Two of my friends from work were there, I felt great and did well. It was April 1st and at one point Jimmy says, "50 push-ups- not on your knees". I'm like "what?".  I waited for the "April Fools". It never came.

He said we could take breaks if needed. I was surprised that I did 25, then 20, then the last 5.  Three months ago I could not do a single real push up. It feels really good to be where I am.  And I look forward to being able to do all 50 without a break.

GoBarbell burned 300 calories and the run was 350, so I had 650 for the day. 

I swung into Holiday Market for my usual Sunday Salad, but I felt like something else.  I ended up with Sunday Shrimp.  No, I did not chose it for the "S", but I do like getting shrimp when I am away from my kids.  Mack is allergic to shellfish so I don't eat it when he is at all near. I ordered grilled pesto shrimp with sides of asparagus and garlic string beans.  Very good.  And expensive.  Over $10.00.  Not sure if it's worth it or not.  I could have sworn I took a picture of it, but I don't see one.  Sorry. He's a picture of one of my crazy kids jumping on the sofa instead. Delish!

I was sore Monday, which was a good thing.  I took an easy 3 mile run for 250 calories and did some stretching.  Again, it was another super slow run while trying to finish up the Hunger Games.

Tuesday brought me back to GoBarbell's 5 am class. Lisa, the other owner, taught it and wow!  I knew from Sunday's class that I needed to increase my barbell weight.  I had used two tens and Tuesday I added a 2.5 to each side for a 5 lb increase.  The increased weight was tough and Lisa was super tough.  We went non-stop for 45 minutes.  No breaks.  300 calories burned, though I am sure my muscles kept burning for awhile.  

That afternoon I went to the gym and did my mile repeat workout.  I tweaked it so that each mile is done in under 8 minutes.  This kicked my butt, but I loved it.  I did a half mile warm up and half mile cool down, then four 1 mile repeats, with apx 3 min of walking in between.  Burned 540 calories. 

I've posted the workout on it's own post, right after this, so that it's easier to get to and pull up on a smart phone. 

I think I am going to quit listening to anything during my runs.  Books distract me and while music helps (I LOVE running to The Like), the headphones, cords, iPhone armband and all that drives me nuts! I'm constantly annoyed by a cord pulling or poking or getting in my way.  The benefit from the music just does not outweigh the annoyance.  Unless I can figure something else out, I'm done with it. 

Do you listen to anything when you work out?
Music or books?
How do you deal with the cords?
How many push ups can you do? 
Do your kids jump on your sofa too? How do you get them to stop, when it seems to fun? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coffee Love

Is this considered hoarding?

That's 8 weeks of Coffee right there. Think it's enough? 

I've been ordering my coffee with a bunch of "Mama Friends" (Ring of Fire's a big hit with this crowd, I think the name has something to do with it).  We place an order every month, but the organizing Mama is having a baby soon, so the co-op is going on a brief hiatus.  I never seem to order enough-even for just one month, so I wanted to be absolutely sure that I would last until her "baby-moon" concluded.  I put in a big order. Twelve pounds big.  I'm starting to think I may have over bought. 

We get the coffee from Dean's Beans.  It really is good coffee.  I also like that it's 100% organic and fair trade. Ever since Tom had cancer, I've been trying to be more careful about what type of pesticide exposure we get.  Sure, we were pretty concerned even before the cancer, but we are more so now. Especially with things that we consume a lot of.

We like good coffee, and end up paying a bit for it anyway- so going organic was not that big of a cost increase.  In fact, we are getting a great deal by ordering in a big group and are paying less.  Even if you order directly, on your own, it's less than ordering Starbucks from their website.  A pound of coffee at Dean's is $8.95 lb, but Starbucks cheapest pound (per their website) is $11.95- and that's not even organic. 

I am pretty sensitive to caffeine. If I have any after, say 12 noon, I won't sleep that night.  This is a problem since I love to drink coffee all day long.  The answer is obviously decaf, but I'm particular about that.  I only drink Swiss Water decaf coffee, which is the kind Dean's has.   At this point, you are probably wondering  "What's that" and "Who Cares".

Two reasons I only drink decaf if it's Swiss Process.
1) 99.9 % of caffeine is removed
2) Scary chemicals are used with other processes

The company that developed the process explains it pretty well:

"Decaffeinated coffee has come a long way since its invention in 1903. Unfortunately though, some of us are still drinking in the dark ages. You see, most decaffeination processes employ chemical solvents such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to strip caffeine molecules from the green coffee bean.
At Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company, we use water from the coast mountains of British Columbia to gently remove the caffeine until the coffee beans are 99.9% caffeine-free, while maintaining the bean's distinctive origin and flavor characteristics. If the decaf you’re consuming has our logo on it, you can be sure that no chemicals were used to remove the caffeine from the coffee."

I am sounding like an infomercial, so I'll move along.

Perk Up

At home, I use an electric coffee maker.  We never jumped on the whole pod thing.  We drink too much and are too picky about what coffee we drink.  We also prefer whole bean, so the pod thing just seems like a huge pain to us.
We do have a slightly fancy electric maker though.  We have one that you put whole beans in, the machine grinds them and brews the coffee. It's one of the Cuisinart Grind-n-Brew makers. 
It's got it's faults, but we are satisfied with it.

Tom makes coffee at work.  He has access to super hot water, so he bought a French Press.  He bought this one because it won't break. He says he is very happy with it. All of my friends use a french press at home, so I am thinking of getting one for the house too.

Cream or Sugar?

Tom takes his black, but I add some skim milk or almond breeze.  I used to pour in tons of those sugary, chemical creamers, but have weaned myself.  Every now and then I'll add some Stevia, but I don't need it.  Now the thought kind of turns my stomach.

Sometimes I mix my protein powder with coffee. Yum.

Coffee Heaven

I absolutely have a favorite mug. My friend Leah gave it to me three years ago and I think I use it every day.  It's big, sturdy and reminds me of her.  It got a chip in it about a year ago, but I have no plans on tossing it. 

I love how the light reflects off of my crappy 80's fake wood counter top and looks like my coffee has a halo.  Of is emitting sunshine. Both just might be true.

Solo or Sidekick? 

I'm usually alone when I drink coffee(I get up very early in the morning most days), but if there is one person that I drink it with more than anyone else, it's my friend Krista.  If you happen to be enjoying a cup of java right now, you should hop over to her blog, Thar She Sews (you know, like thar she blows, but it's sews...ha!) She is super crafty and is probably the single funniest person I know, so you are sure to find it a good read. She is celebrating her one year blogging anniversary and even mentioned me and Cook,Craft or Cardio in her most recent post!  Thanks Krista and congrats on accepting your status as a "blogger". 

Here's me (sans make up), gulping down what's left in my mug before I hit the door for work. Photo courtesy of TJ. (not great, but at least my head is in this one-unlike the first one he took).

So, tell me about what you drink.  
Coffee? Tea? 
How do you make it and how do you take it? 
Favorite mug? 
Favorite friend? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Protein Balls- with Allergy Friendly Option

I am in love with Oxygen Magazine and their Peanut Butter Protein Balls.  The first time I made them, I followed their recipe to the T, and they were great- but a little too sweet for me.  I decided I wanted to try to cut out some of the honey and also try to make some nut, dairy and soy free, so here it is.

For the standard PBP Balls, you will need: 
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter- I used Trader Joe's
  • 3 TBS Honey-used Organic Michigan Honey (Oxygen uses 1/4 c)
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder-Used Pure Protein brand
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed-Bob's Redmill
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips-Trader Joe's semi sweet
For the Nut, Soy and Dairy Free version:
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter- I used Trader Joe's
  • 3 TBS Honey-used Organic Michigan Honey
  • 1 scoop Life's Balance Plant Protein-chocolate (Highly recommend this stuff!)
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed-Bob's Redmill
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips-Trader Joe's semi sweet
From here on out, the instructions are the same.
Throw it all in a bowl. 

 Stir until it looks like play doh- this may take some effort, especially with the reduced amount on honey, but you'll get there.
 Form it into 14 balls.


 We've had some for 2 weeks and they are still fantastic.  The kids LOVE these things.  TJ requested some Nutella added to his and MJ gets the allergy free ones.  TJ eats two of these with his breakfast every day.  I then ship him to daycare with a sugar rush! Just kidding, they don't have that much sugar.

Here are the details. 

Regular (sans Nutella)                                  Allergy Friendly
81 calories                                                    84 calories
4 g fat                                                             4 g fat
8 carbs                                                           8 carbs
1 g fiber                                                         1 g fiber
5.5 g sugar                                                    6 g sugar
4 g protein                                                     3 g protein

Give them a try.  They are not pretty, but taste so much like a Reeses Peanut Butter cup that it's scary! Here's the nutritional info on those- even more scary.