Fitness Friday 08.18

It’s time to talk food again.  The love-hate we have with sweet, delicious, carby food.  Last Fitness Friday, I was talking a bit about falling off the rails, being a little less strict with my routine – the boundaries started to get looser and I needed to rain it in.  So within the last month or so, I’ve tightened up on my diet and I can see the difference on a daily basis.  Trust me, there are some days where I ask myself, what more could I possibly change? But when I really test the accountability factor – I quickly figure out what needs to go and what can stay, and it usually comes down to FOOD!
Fitness Friday 08.18 - the bee life
Here are five tricks I do when I need to crack down, and honestly after a week or two of being strict, these aren’t as much of a battle as it is at first!  The most important thing to keep in mind – is that these aren’t quick ‘do this for a week’ and you’ll loose 20-pounds, these are lifestyle changes that will help you achieve your fitness goals and love yourself even more!

Smart Snacking.  A great work perk that I have is having snacks around, the decision between a mini bag of Doritos or picking up a banana/handful of nuts is the pass or fail. Don’t want to be tempted at all of picking wrong? Stop snacking and drink water!  It’ll be tough at first, but your body will quickly adapt and you won’t be craving a snack at 3pm.

Less Carbs, More Protein. Especially at dinner, this is a time when B and I have been loading up on meat and skipping out on the extras or scary sides.  We also switch out the buns for lettuce wraps, which is just as tasty and looks fancy for a week night meal at home.

Smaller Portions.  With smarter snacking and eating more filling foods, portions in line get a bit smaller, allowing you to get full faster.  Those after dinner cravings for some sweats are often eliminated after a nice filling and healthy dinner.

Limit Alcohol. Alcohol and beverages in general can be a surprise at how much sugars/carbs are actually jammed into them – so be sure to check the labels before drinking, you’ll thank yourself later.  Alcohol choices can also impact negatively or help, for this I stick to the Keto Alcohol rules, no beer and opt for those bubbles! Red wine is also a good choice or pure spirits, but be sure to avoid those sugary mixtures.

Stop Eating Pizza! Yup, I said it – just stop eating pizza! Try it for a month, try it for two… you won’t miss it, I promise.  Pizza is an easy food to over indulge on and is full of carbs, some people have pizza every Friday night… and then there are probably leftovers for the next day… just cut it out – you’ll see a difference.

The true key to living a healthy lifestyle, making gains, and maintaining your goal weight, all boils down to not only exercise but the supporting cast of FOOD – it’s that balance of both that is the perfect formula.

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Hofbrauhaus Half Marathon – Recap

This past weekend marked our 7th half marathon and it’s incredible what a difference a year makes.  We… or I should say, I struggled through out last half marathon, the Mighty Niagara last September, and this year seemed like a breeze, well… mostly.

Let’s rewind a bit – we signed up for this race a little over 2-months ago, I saw the price was about to increase and thought, why not? I easily convinced B and a little while later our registration was secured.  I took a difference approach to half training this year, and it seemed to work out, as I definitely got a few more mid-size runs than I had anticipated.  We ran 10-miles last weekend – so we were feeling as ready as we’d ever be going into the half on Sunday morning.
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The start time for the race was 7am, which was good since it was going to warm up quickly and be pretty toasty by 9am, which would be just about finish time.  We started out at a good pace and keep in sync with each other, slowed down a little around mile 5 but then were cruising and feeling really good after mile 6, moving into miles 9 and 10.  The last three miles, were the longest and of course were straight pavement with the sun beating down on our backs.  Thankfully the first 10-miles were relatively covered, which helped immensely, or we definitely would’ve been screwed! But those last three were giving us flashbacks of last year’s struggle, but we didn’t stop, we kept running and we crossed that finish line together! I finished 12th out of 32 in my age division, (woah!) and we had a respectable time of 2:08:51 – it was a good run.
Hofbrahaus Half - the bee life (2)
We were covered in sweat when we crossed the finish line, and were happy to see the end.  The after party at Hofbrauhaus was a great atmosphere and the definition of a race-after party. In addition to the awesome metal all runners also got a beer and a brat, it was the perfect treat!  Live music was playing in the biergarten and there was a Starbucks truck sharing samples of their new coffee smoothies made with almond milk, yum!  It was an accomplishing start to our Sunday and good to check off another half.  As B said; “First half of 2018 and first one as a married couple. My run or die chick.”  ❤

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Image Source: Finish Line photo from Hermes Road Racing Cleveland

 

Fitness Friday 07.18

I’m not sure about you guys, but the 4th of July holiday really whooped my butt! With it being on a Wednesday, I regrettably didn’t take any time off directly before or after – I figured a holiday in the middle of the week would be no biggie, if anything a nice way to break up the week.  Well it definitely broke up the week and then derailed it completely – day drinking on a warm summer day, leading to a Thursday night happy hour with family, only to still have one day of work to wrap up.  The food, fun, friends and family continued through what seemed like a 5-day weekend (with some work thrown in) and I was not only exhausted, but feeling super unhealthy after over indulging on delicious cocktails and tasty eats the entire time!! Ick!!
Fitness Friday 07.18 - the bee life
This past week was a rough start, but also a time to reset, recharged and get back into a healthy routine of balance.  I told B, Sunday afternoon we were going to be ‘detoxing’ this week – and I think my version of detoxing is probably different than many others and I’ll tell you how.  My detox isn’t a juice cleanse, it isn’t eating celery sticks for 4-straight days, it’s simply cutting out the crap and getting back on track.  No sweets, no alcohol, no chips/snacks, no candy and low-to-no carbs.  My detox is making healthy choices, picking veggies over chips, salads over cookies, and no bagels/bread/rice/heavy carbs.

For me, when I know the balance has been lost, it’s better for me to be a bit tougher on myself, keeping myself accountable than letting a few more things slip through the cracks.  I maintain plenty of that balance – but it’s getting back into the mental state of making those smart choices and saying ‘no’ to the ones we often want to say ‘yes’ too.

I fought many temptations at the office this week and stuck to my guns when it came back to getting back into my balance, waking up and running or getting to the gym and then maintaining those healthy food choices (cheated with some bubbles one night!) throughout the day of what I put in my body.  How do you get back on track? Have questions, or need help – leave a comment below!

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Fitness Friday 06.18

Happy Friday! We’re halfway through the year… what?!  And I’m going to ask that annoying question that you may have been avoiding… how are you doing meeting your personal healthy and fitness goals so far?

I did some reflecting on my FF post from last June – and it started about the same way as this one, and too my surprise the rest of it was going to follow suit. I was just about to get ready to gear up for a half marathon.  And ironically, B and I just signed up for a half in a little less than 2-months – just spur of the moment decision on a Friday night.
Fitness Friday 06.18 - the bee life
The half we ran in September was really rough for me, but yet here we are again, giving it another shot. So I’d be a fool if I said this half was going to be a walk in the park, I’ve run enough races to know that all the training in the world isn’t going to help you kill a race, but also no training doesn’t help you either!  So my plan of attack for this half is simple:

  1. Continue my cross training classes
  2. Get in at least one 3-4 mile run each week until the race
  3. Go on 3-longer runs (6, 8, 10-miles)
  4. Don’t stress about it

I’m not out to beat any PRs, I just like the mental challenge as much as the physical challenge… and that feeling once you’ve accomplished both of those things after crossing the finish line is true euphoria.  Signing up for these longer races has always kept B and I motivated and running – it was the one thing that first things that connected us and that we’ve always enjoyed doing together!

Happy Training!

 

Catch up on past Fitness Friday’s;  March | April | May 

Fitness Friday 05.18

Since my workout routine consists of bootcamp classes with circuit, interval training any given day I do anywhere from 6 to 12 different exercises – so there is a lot of variety, but I admittedly have my favorites… and my not so favorites *smiles* so that is why I want to share with you my favorite exercises, how I learned to love them and why.
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So let’s get down to it, here are the exercises I never get sick of and always look forward to seeing in my fitness routine.

Squats.  The reason I love squats is because they build muscle throughout your entire leg hitting the hamstrings, quads and calves.  Not to mention they help with your upper body strength as well.  If you want some added cardio for squats try a pop squat or jump squat.

Bicep Curls.  These are an easy exercise, if you’re starting with a lighter weight or building up with a higher LB.  Plus your arms, no matter how strong you are, always look super ripped when your working this move!

Burpees.  These are a full body workout and sure to get your heart rate up.  It’s important to do burpees with good form, starting with wide feet and jumping back narrow then up wide again.  I used to hate burpees, but since I’ve been doing them more I learned to love the challenge and now they aren’t so tough anymore.

Sit-up Fighter. This exercise primarly works your abs and core, but it also is an arm exercise as well.  I like this ab workout because it eases on the strain of my lower back, as a person with chronic back pain, I have to be super sensitive of all the movements and adjusting appropriately.

Pull Ups. The real kind!  Since I’ve built my upper body strength, I’ve been able to do some real pull ups, using a larger bands I am able to help support myself and actually work on building more muscle.

What I really love about these exercises is they hit each of the main body parts.  It’s important to work all parts, even the ones that we might not be self conscious of, because we can always tone and build muscle.  Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite exercises are, and why!

TGIF!

 

10-Miler Recap – 2018

This past weekend we only really had one thing to do, and it was to run 10-miles at the annual race we partake in!  Last year’s run was a struggle for me, so I was looking forward to seeing how all the progress I’ve made this past year would improve this run for me (not to mention being down 15+ pounds).
10-Miler Recap - 2018 - the bee life
I started the race, as I often now do with my races… with no expectations. It was raining pretty decently when we woke up in the morning with a forecast of rain for the first hour or so of the race.  Walking up to the start line along the lake with the rain and chilly breeze wasn’t really inspiring me to run! But, we got started at good pace and kept it up throughout.

It wasn’t until we I saw the mile 6 sign that I started to get emotional, as I started to realize I’ve been able to run this entire time and I was still feeling good – last year I broke at mile 5. I pulled it together reminding myself the last few miles are always the toughest. But mile 8 came along and I felt those tears again.  It was that realization at how much I’ve accomplished this past year.  Going into the race last year I wasn’t in a great space physically and I was just getting out of a super stressful and toxic work environment (which I had let affect me physically – the weight gain, not being able to get out of bed, unhappy, stressed with constant added anxiety). Now a year at my new job, it’s a worlds difference how all that has shifted for the better – which started me with making some major changes.

Needless to say, this race was bitter sweet for me, it was a full circle of how far I’ve come, compared to where I was at this time last year and how much stronger and happier I am. B and I finished the race together and it felt so good to cross that finish line!

Fitness Friday 04.18

Happy Fitness Friday! Last month I was talking ALL about accountability, especially when it comes to your fitness routine and diet.  One of the biggest things that helped me get to some significant LB loss was changing the way I ate – and not by doing a fad diet, or being super super strict, but being healthy and aware.  Before this, I thought that getting back into a rigorous workout routine would cure my weight gain, but it didn’t.  So, I gave in and cut back on carbs, made better choices, portioned my meals better and said no to some things I would’ve said yes too.  But I still ate cheetos and had a few sweets now and then, but I said bye to pizza, bagels, rice, and french fries.
Fitness Friday 04.18 - the bee lifeFast-forward to today. I am not as strict… but I am still very aware – so aware in fact, I noticed that my new ‘strict’ was becoming less and less sometimes and I quickly had to adjust myself.  Yes, a few weeks ago I felt like I was falling off the rails and I wasn’t happy about it, especially since my workout routine has maintained (finally!) … it’s the damn food. I was feeling bummed about it, but also made a decision right then and there to do something about it and jump back on the wagon, continue to have balance but switching out and making healthy alternates and better portions.

My point in all of this is, as I’ve said many times before it’s all part of the journey, falling a bit to become stronger.  My goals have changed a bit from last year, but that doesn’t mean I can throw all the progress away.  Follow your heart always, but in these instances you must follow your head and go to the gym!

 

Fitness Friday 03.18

Happy Friday!  Today’s FF is hopefully going to help inspire and push you further towards accomplishing your goals and setting yourself up for success. So what’s next after you’ve determined your goals and the path to accomplishing them? I’ll tell you.
Fitness Friday 03.18 - the bee life
It’s keeping yourself ACCOUNTABLE! Being responsible for your actions, good and bad. And it’s one of the most important things in accomplishing your goals. It’s having those tough conversations with yourself, a friend, or support buddy that keep you honest and on track.  Here are some ways I keep myself accountable that you might be able to adapt for yourself.

Buddy System or Trainer. If you’ve got a workout partner or a friend that goes to the same gym, this is a great way to keep each other accountable – my trainer always asks; “Em, what’d you have for breakfast yesterday?” or  “Em, how’s your nutrition going?” and it’s really hard to lie to him!

Steaks the App. I’ve been using this app for awhile and it’s become part of my daily routine.  You can set-up weekly or daily goals for just about anything i.e. mine is set-up for Workouts to be Mon./Wed./Fri./Sat. – it reminds me every day if I haven’t completed and when you hold your task down to complete it’s super satisfying to have the circle filled in! Plus it keeps track at your streaks, so when you miss a day it’s a nice big X. Go download it!

Leave Yourself a Note. This is a way you can talk candidly to yourself with a note on the mirror for the morning or calendar reminder in your phone i.e.  “GET YOUR ASS TO THE GYM” or “no sweets today” all day you’ll have this voice inside your head reminding you of your goal for the day.

Remember. Remember the feeling and why you started this journey – remember how you felt not fitting into your jeans, or how good you feel after a workout when you’re thinking about skipping one. Remember you control you, and that is the first step in all of this.  Remember it’s OK to cheat with some food, but remember you better get your butt to the gym the next day. Remember what you’re comfortable with and what makes you feel good/bad.

Share It. Do you hate those people that post what they eat or the fact they’re up at 6AM working out while you slept in 10x past your snooze? Well, it might be their way of keeping themselves accountable – sharing their journey, or telling people they’re going to the gym or cutting out carbs. I do it, I tell friends/co-workers/family, “can’t stay out late, I need to workout in the morning” – sure you get snarky comments, but that’s the way I like to keep myself accountable, because if you go home early and they ask you if you went to the gym in the morning are you going to say ‘YES’ confidently or ‘No’ with shame?

This is a journey, it will have it’s ups and it’s downs – you’ll learn more about yourself as you continue to push yourself, as you see progress, as you fall out of progress, it’s all part of the journey. Embrace it, change it, push it. Keep yourself accountable towards your goals, towards feeling the best you!

Fitness Friday 02.18

As I reach my one-year anniversary this month of being back in the fitness game, I continue to feel more and more vested and determined to not only maintain all of my progress, but to continue to set new goals and reach them!  One aspect of our health and wellness that can often get overlooked is preventive care for our immune systems.  It unfortunately is the season of sick, and it’s important we not only stay fit and active but take care of ourselves to stay healthy!
Fitness Friday 02.18 - the bee life
Here are some ways that I like to keep a tap on my immune system, stay-in tune with my body and also work preventatively against getting sick!

Sleep: One of the most important ways to stay healthy is making sure you get enough rest. I’ve become more attuned to my body when it’s asking for this and have learned not to fight it anymore.  When the body needs sleep – give it sleep, it’s helping you store-up and fight off anything brewing within.

Daily Echinacea: This is a herbal natural supplement* that supports immune health and helps fight off illnesses.  I take echinacea daily for preventative, and multiple times a day (based off the label) when I am starting to feel not well. It has helped in many instances were I feel I’m coming down with something and I swear by it.*

Vitamin C: This is another supplement that I have in my daily routine on top of echinacea to help build up that immune system as preventative care.  When I’m starting to feel a tinge of something come on, I double up on Vitamin C.  Emergency-C packets are a great thing to have around the house in those situations to give an extra boost.*

Exercise. Yup! Regular exercise promotes general good health which in turn benefits your immune system health as well. On the flip side, just like sleep, I’ve learned to listen to my body when I need to take a break on exercise (for rest!) but I’ve also gauge when I can push myself and still exercise to release the toxins.  Maintaining this into your routine helps promote that healthy lifestyle.

There are many other factors that can affect your immune and general health like stress, your diet and eating the proper nutrient foods, and even alcohol intake. When working to maintain a healthy lifestyle and work towards fitness goals, it’s important to maintain your best self to reach those! This includes actively working towards your immune health daily and not just when you’re starting to feel sick.  Remember that if you’re sick all the time you won’t be hitting the gym or reaching any of those goals!

 

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and never will claim to be one, so please consult with yours on what would work best for you to help support your immune health on a daily basis.