Fun Gifts for the Fitness Enthusiast!

Greetings!

I cannot describe how much I am LOVING bumming around these days. I typically love to stay busy and keep myself occupied with work (or school in previous instances!), but right now, I can’t seem to get enough of reading, knitting and watching Full House. (<—Who said that?)

I wanted to share some fun fitness-related gifts that I received for Christmas!

The first one, is a Fitbit! I have seen these reviewed on a couple of different shows and advertised in a few fitness magazines, but I didn’t quite understand what they did until recently. It is a very cool little gadget! 

photo-134This version of it can do a bunch of different things including: track your sleep (I wore it to bed last night and evidently, my sleep was 98% efficient! Additionally it also took me eight minutes to fall asleep. Fascinating, eh?), count your steps and stairs, help you maintain a caloric goal, and track your calories in!

It is super easy to set-up and includes a nifty little wireless hub that you plug into your computer for easy-syncing capabilities. Fitbit also has an app for smartphones and a super easy-to-use dashboard online. I am very excited to test out all of it’s different functions, but for now I’ve only used the sleep tracker but when I opened up the dashboard this morning, it looked like this:

fitbit screenshot(Don’t ask why that says 2:57 am. I swear I never do that!!! Heh. Vacation, anyone?)

I will let you know what other cool things I discover about it as I figure it out a little better!

Next up, my brother-in-law gave me a participant registration ticket for a 5k in the spring! I am so excited and the timing is just perfect to jump start my year of racing that I have planned. I thought that was a very cool gift and very unique! It’s not something that

Looks like crazy-jungle-woman-5k-racer will be back again!!

5k pic

 

2013 is going to be a big year for running! I am very excited to have you guys follow along with the running mayhem throughout the new year! Even though I have what may be the EPITOME of a love-hate relationship with running, it makes me feel great when I’m doing it regularly. It clears my mind and it improves my mood for the whole day. An added bonus, I felt great about the way I looked when I was running regularly in the summer and fall. Unlike when I started to hit the strength training hard, I felt like running was hitting ALL of the “trouble zones.”

 

Until next time!!

 

 

CONQUERED.

Alright guys, hold on to your hats! This is going to be a long one. (With lots of pictures!)

It has finally come and gone. The day we’ve all been waiting for. The 5k day!

The amount of energy I had before the race was unreal. Katie thought I was a nut job! (Not that she didn’t think that already 😉 ). I am 100% hooked. For anyone who “hates running” or has never tried a race before, I can’t recommend it enough. (If you’re able to, that is. Remember, I have absolutely no licensed or certified reason to give anyone fitness or exercise advice!) I was flying on nerves up until we got to the race site and once we landed there, there was SO much positive energy that it was impossible NOT to be happy and excited!

It all started bright and early this morning when I  headed out to pick up Katie and Josh, my running companions!

First we headed to Starbucks to fuel up!

(To fuel up AND get our fight faces on. Naturally.)

Next it was off to pick up Joshua!

Josh, who I might add is in the process of training for a triathlon so he is an old pro at all of this. He was very good about NOT showing off the fact that he could quite literally run circles around me ;-). ALSO, I have to take back everything I said last night about how a crane would probably be necessary to drag him out of bed! He texted ME and asked if I was there yet! Nuttiness!

So after a series of the world’s most ridiculous parking lot warmups and blasting pre-race songs at the top of my poor little car’s volume, it was go time!

 (I was actually the only one doing any ridiculous parking lot warm-ups. Josh was busy making fun of my jumping jacks, push-ups, high knees AND lunges and Katie was capturing it all on camera 😉 )

Next came the run!

For some unexplained reason, it turns out that self-shots taken a) on an iPhone b) in reverse camera mode c) in the middle of a race and d) IN MOTION don’t turn out particularly well, so I’ll spare you those shots 😛

I must say, it was quite a bit harder than I thought it was going to be, but I loved every minute of it and finished in under 30 minutes. I was definitely happy with my time and it was SO much fun! The music and paint and friends made it 100% worth it. It’s so funny to think that after a whole summer of waiting for this one day to come, it’s over! I think I may have caught the running bug, because I can’t wait to find my next race. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be until next spring, but that means that I better make it a good one! It was such a feeling of accomplishment.

In another post sometime soon, I will talk more about the actual training and technical aspects of the whole thing. Today’s post was more of a chronicling of just today. What I will say right now is that if you DO plan to run a race, or try to start training, pick a race and REGISTER for it. Having a specific date in mind served as a great motivator for me. It was also nice to have a specific goal to work towards. Also, most importantly, make sure it’s a FUN one! This was a very short race so I knew that I’d be able to tackle the distance, but having fun while I was doing it was something I really didn’t expect! There were colors galore, people cheering and ringing bells and lots and lots of music at the finish line! It was like a giant party! Pick an event that will keep you moving through the whole thing. If the Color Vibe run comes to a city near you, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s 110% worth traveling for!

Not to sound too cheesy, but I was cruising on that elusive runner’s high all day long. The pictures with friends from today make me so, so happy when I see them. My family even came to the finish line to see me which was great! People who weren’t actually there made it even more special with texts before and after wishing me luck and asking how it went. Even though it certainly wasn’t any marathon or triathlon I plowed through today, it was VERY important to me and they all knew that. I am definitely very lucky!

I told my mom that getting me to change my clothes/ wash that color off would be like trying to make a little kid wipe away a painted face before bed. I’d wear that outfit for days if I could! (Don’t worry, I know I can’t. 😛 )

Now it’s time to head back to work. I’ve actually missed it these last few days!!

Thanks for reading!

Pretend it’s Yesterday…

(This is the post that was supposed to happen yesterday. Thanks internet 😉 )

Written 8/31.

HOLY ANNOYED.

For those of you who didn’t catch last night’s 11:30 pm post (which I ultimately created on my IPHONE after HOURS of struggling with this ridiculous internet/router/wi-fi/Ethernet/electronic voo-doo situation.) Of course the NIGHT BEFORE THE 5k my internet would decide to crap out! Nonsense. I tried everything you could imagine! Unplugging things, re-wiring things, re-starting things… nothing worked. Grrrrrr.

Anyway, the show must go on! So I’m writing this gem as a Word document and I’ll just upload it tomorrow! There’s LOTS of business to cover today!

First thing’s first. Tomorrow happens to be one of my very best friend’s 23rd birthday!

Happy birthday Chloe!!

I can’t BELIEVE my friends are starting to turn 23! It seems like yesterday we couldn’t believe we were turning 16 and could finally learn how to drive. It’s so crazy how time flies!

In other news, I have finally returned from my adventure (part 2!) One of the first things that I did when I got back this afternoon was turning in my Boot Camp registration! That’s right friends, starting next week, I’ll be taking a Boot Camp fitness class once a week! Very, very early in the morning. I’m so psyched! All I can think about is that scene from Bridesmaids where Annie and Lillian are crashing that terrifying boot camp that suddenly turns into interpretive dancing in the park. Gosh I love that movie. (Probably shouldn’t admit that…)

Anyway, here I am. Happy as clam with my registration form! I’m ready to pump the iron!

And now, for the big deal.

Tonight I swung by the packet pickup for the BIG DAY. 5k DAY!

I got a t-shirt, some nifty sunglasses and (drum roll pleeeeeeeeaseeeeee) my FIRST EVER RACE BIB! The whole thing was actually quite anticlimactic, but that didn’t stop me from taking a couple of quick pics in the parking lot anyway 😉

Got my number!

I am so nervously excited I don’t know what to do with myself! Interestingly, it’s actually a very similar feeling to how I always felt the night before school started. It’s an anxious anticipation coupled with the compulsive need to get things ready! I’ve been collecting safety pins (somehow, I actually managed to find four. Yay for being able to attach my bib to my shirt!), setting out my outfit and planning what I’ll have for breakfast in the morning. It’s quite possible that I have actually managed to re-create that back-to-school excitement that I’ve so been missing!

As I briefly mentioned, I’m going to be running the race with two of my former roommates, so the plan for tomorrow morning is to head out bright and early to pick up Katie and fuel ourselves with my favorite thing ever: a cup of coffee. Then we’ll set out to find Josh! I fully anticipate the need for backup in actually dragging sir Joshua to the race. A lot of backup. Likely in the form of a crane that will be used to pry him from his bed and deposit him in my car!

I did find my way to the gym tonight and completed an easy run for about 15 minutes just to remind my body of what runningIS after several days without it! It was actually quite a struggle, but what are we gonna do? The time has come! No looking back!

Naturally, I’ll be back tomorrow! (Errr…later, at this point I suppose.) With pictures and stories and things like that. Still can’t believe how quickly September has crept up on me!

Goodnight Vacation, Goodnight Summer, Goodnight Moon.

I can NOT believe that it is August 30th already. The end of summer is near. I was lucky enough to take two different trips this summer and part two is nearly over! I’ve had a wonderful time (even though my running schedule was definitely thrown off just a tad. If the hills don’t kill you, the bears will!!) It’s almost time for me to face my first fall as a Real Person! I’m actually pretty excited that I don’t have to worry about school (OK, I’m sure these crazy swings between being totally bummed to NOT have school anymore and complete elation at FINALLY being DONE with classes will level off eventually 😛 )

I’m actually pretty excited to head back to work and dive back in to a new training schedule, but for tonight, it’s time to go spend one more vacation night with the fam., but first a couple of real quick updates.

Food

Dinner was a tasty little treat out tonight, a grilled chicken wrap (I don’t usually like lettuce-wrap-y-chicken-things, but this was delicious!) Healthy AND filling! It’s always rewarding when I manage to make a good decision at a restaurant 😉

In other exciting food-find news, I did manage to get my hands on some locally-grown HIMROD grapes. My very favorite EVER. (Yes, I’m obsessed.) I just can’t help myself when I see a farm market. Nothing like home, but it was as close as I was going to get for a few days!

Workout

Yes, I did manage to squeeze in a Jillian workout, no I did not go for a run (gah!!). Anyway, I’ll leave you with this. Not quite “Keep Calm and Carry On”, but close 😉

Back to regular postage tomorrow! (Can you use “postage” like that? I doubt it.)

SO. SOON.

Source: http://www.keepcalmprints.com/run-on-light-blue.html

Full Distance = TACKLED

Hello!

Workout : OK. First thing’s first. This morning, bright and early I tackled the full 3.1 (plus some!) for the first time! Granted, it was a treadmill and my pace was quite slow, but I DID IT! In exactly one week I will have a shiny new race bib and a 5k under my hat. Hellllooooooo Fitness Bucket List. What will be next !?

My motto today when I was convinced I was dying around mile 2.8? This little gem from Pinterest:

 

 

It’s quite interesting what a mantra and some feisty music can do for you!

I Want to Teach!! : Right now, I am in the process of figuring out the best way to go about getting certified to teach some fitness classes! Ultimately, I would love to get that personal training certification, but for the time being I think becoming a fitness instructor may be the most feasible option (both financially and time-wise!) From the looks of it, it seems like you can choose which classes you want to teach. There are cardio ones, dance ones, self-defense ones (stretching back to my dojo days!), strength ones….everything imaginable! Unfortunately you have to pay for each separate certification so this is an important decision! As it turns out, I also need to be re-certified in CPR (apparently that class I took in high school health class doesn’t last forever 😛 ). If I end up being chosen for the running program, they will cover the cost of the CPR/ first-aid class which would be very handy, but we will have to wait and see about that!

Recipe ChallengeAlright, I have a new plan to introduce! So far, I have been throwing a few recipes at you randomly whenever I saw it fitting. However, there was rarely any rhyme or reason to what I posted! To get some consistency going (and also to have a way of forcing myself to try some new recipes and also continuing to push myself to be a better cook), I will be starting monthly cooking themes. Every week (or more frequently, if things go well), I will be providing recipes that have some sort of cohesive theme! Maybe seasonal, maybe revolving around some kitchen tool (grill? blender?) or maybe something totally different that will come to me later! I’m thinking this will be on Sundays each week. So check back tomorrow for a random recipe, but also the introduction of next month’s theme! (Can you believe it’s already almost September!?!) So now, in addition to the random recipe posts throughout the week, you can also check out the sunday specialty!

Alright guys, I think that’s it for today! I will see you all tomorrow.

 

Will Power is Getting Stronger, Hopefully I am Too!

Today’s workout definitely wasn’t what I planned for it to be! Originally, I was going to head to the gym bright and early this morning to knock one more Couch-to-5k run off of the list, but that just didn’t happen! I had a million errands to run this morning before work, and I clearly didn’t get started early enough.

I did, however, make a return to one of my old faves this evening. Good ‘ole Jillian! It has actually been a very long time since I’ve popped in one of those DVDs, but by the time I got home tonight, it was just the right thing! I went for the No More Trouble Zones and did all of the circuits that worked arms and abs. It ended up being about 30 minutes when I was all done and I was feeling the burn 110%.

Somewhere around the Superman/Hollowman section of the workout, I realized something. Even though I often talk about never feeling sore or wondering if a workout has done any good at all, I have realized that my will power really is getting stronger. About three months ago, my go-to snack at work would be a cookie the size of plate covered in peanut butter cups. Now, I have pretty much re-wired my brain to go for a banana the second my inner-Cookie Monster creeps up on me. I definitely don’t make it to the gym seven days a week, but I’d say at least five is pretty typical. (The last time I bought a month pass for this gym, I used it exactly…zero times.)

I have gotten to a point where I totally trust my choices and I know that I won’t jump off the chicken-wing-and-easy-mac deep end again any time soon!

Today, I got an e-mail from the lovely people hosting the 5k (it’s just about a week away!) I actually made a goal for myself and stuck to it which doesn’t typically happen in my fitness world. I’m often a whole lot of talk and very rarely any action. So even though it’s only three miles, they’re three very symbolic miles and I couldn’t be more excited. Look out racers, here comes Brittany!

How This Time is Different!

Welcome back!

I have alluded to the fact that in the past, I’ve tried various diets/ workout routines/ health kicks that just haven’t stuck. Usually about 30 days is my limit, but this time things are different! Lots of people have asked me what has made this time around so different and I have a few ideas.

1. Workout Buddy Accountability 

So as I’ve mentioned, I’m really not a fan of solo workout sessions. Even if we just *go* to the gym together and split up once we get there, I’d always rather be with a friend! This summer, for the third year in a row my friend Jordan and I teamed up to get in shape and I must say, it made such a difference! Previous years, we were away every other week and keeping a routine was difficult, but this year seemed to be different. It is endlessly helpful (and WAY more fun) to have someone to talk to and keep you company and struggle right along with you 😉 Also, Jordan and I always have fun trying out new workouts and killing ourselves with new routines in the name of fitness! (Now that she’s away, looks like I’ll have to hold MYSELF accountable. We’ll see how that goes!)

2. Impending doom Glory 

I signed up for this infamous 5k at the beginning of the summer! I knew that having a specific goal for a specific date that *didn’t* involve the scale would be an excellent motivator. Even though the distance is teeny tiny, crossing the finish line will definitely be a major accomplishment for the girl who couldn’t run to gym lengths in high school 😉

3. Helpful Apps & Online Tools 

There are two main pieces to this one…

  • myfitnesspal.com: I have tried this once before and it just didn’t click with me. (That could be because I was still in school at the time and it was next to impossible to a) take the time to document everything I ate and b) find entries for all of the random stuff that I ate.) ANYWAY, this time, I’ve got it. According to my counter, I’ve logged in for almost 70 days in a  row and it’s been wonderfully helpful! I am NOT a fan of counting calories by ANY means at all. In fact, I think it can actually be sort of destructive if you get too caught up in numbers (I have friends who won’t eat fruit because it cuts into their calorie limit!) I do however, think this app is extremely helpful for a few reasons. It keeps you accountable (even if you’re not 100% accurate all day every day, you can still estimate!) Secondly, it’s also really nice to know how many calories you “technically” have in a day depending on what your goals are (you can set the goals to losing a pound, a pound and a half or two pounds per week, maintaining current weight or gaining). It makes it very easy to turn what would otherwise be a “too late to care” day into a recoverable day!
  • The famous “Couch-to-5k” program (coolrunning.com): I’ve already talked about this, but it’s very handy. There’s an iPhone app. which is wonderful. It builds your mileage slowly and gives you a concrete goal to work towards.

4. Fun Workout Gear 

Alright, this one probably sounds dumb, but I can’t say enough good things about these shoes I finally splurged on! They’re so comfortable, they’re ridiculously colorful (clearly) and make my runs totally pain-free which has never happened before! In previous years, anytime I’ve started running, my legs, back, feet, everything would be killing me and I’m pretty sure it was largely related to my bad shoes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get sized and have someone help you to pick the perfect pair of shoes for your stride! I got mine at a Fleet Feet store, but I’m sure there are plenty of other chains that do that as well! I love buying new workout clothes, I almost love it as much as I love buying Real Life Clothes and it really does make a difference for me. Having a cute workout outfit ready to hit the gym with is some sort of incentive for me to actually get my gears in motion! Hey, whatever works 😛

5. My Fitness Bucket List 

I already posted about this (check it out here!), but earlier this year, I made myself a “Fitness Bucket List.” Even though these things will take years to check off, it seems to be a good way to give myself goals that will keep me working towards something and working on getting fitter and stronger, instead of this yo-yoness (yes, that’s a real term. Except for not really.) that I seem to have been stuck in before!

6. Check-Ins 

So it might sound silly, but this time, I’ve told people my plan. I’ve told friends to keep me honest. Even this very blog! It all works to keep me honest and keep my on my a-game. Just knowing that people will be checking in on me, reading up on me and asking me what I’ve been up to in my workouts keeps me headed to the gym (almost) every day!

7. A Good Philosophy Can Make All of the Difference

There was a point at the end of my last semester where I had almost convinced myself that being happy and pleasantly plump might be just as much fun as being fit. That is actually a very scary thought because I think I probably could have convinced myself that it was true. I would never, ever, EVER want to make a conscious decision to NOT be healthy anymore, but after an extremely rough stretch of time in the spring and a crazy hectic schedule, it seemed appealing. Why bother counting calories when I could eat cookies instead? Anyway, NEEDLESS TO SAY, I turned that thought process around real fast and couldn’t possibly be happier. Sometimes, it seems like starting the first day of a workout routine is the hardest, but once you’ve been at it for a week or so, especially when you’re in the right mindset, it’s harder to turn back! Soon, I’ll post about this whole “new mindset” and “fit philosophy” idea, but that’ll be later!

Through future posts I’ll touch on all of this again, but that is all for now! Until tonight…