A Wrist Workout

First of all, for those of you who have suggested some new workout attire for me, thank you! I think it’s time to reinvest. A couple of new workout outfits are on my horizons.

Now, on to business!

Every once in a while, I come to realize that some things are worth dropping an extra dollar or two on. It is that simple. Take for example, fall squash.

One of my favorite fall foods is winter squash. I like just about every one that I’ve tried, but my favorites are butternut and acorn. Last weekend, I happened to pick up a butternut squash with intentions of testing out a creamy risotto-style fall squash dish which I finally got around to today!

In the end, it was very filling and quite delicious, but oh my goodness, the work it took to get there!

Let me tell you, if I have ever wished that I shelled out a couple of extra dollars for a convenience item, it was tonight! Those little packages of pre-cubed squash that are all peeled and washed and diced are genius. I fought a good fight today. And almost lost a finger or two!

Step one was cutting off the bottom of the thing so that it had a flat surface to stand on. Sounds easy enough, no? Well that took about 5 minutes.

Next, I peeled the beast:

Fifteen minutes later,  I was left with this and was juuuuuust about ready to order Chinese.

Miraculously, I was able to cut the thing in half. PROGRESS! 

After about three and a half hours of slicing, peeling, dicing and swearing, I was left with this:

SUCCESS! Plus, I still have all ten of my finger and no new band-aids 😉 I’m not sure what the deal is, but about two weeks ago, I cut my finger cutting a potato and ever since then, I have been a little sheepish about slicing things! (Also, for the record. This definitely did NOT take me three and a half hours…)

Anyway, I wish I could offer some fantastic tips for preparing squash, but all I have to say is be careful, and get ready for quite the wrist workout!

In the end I ended up with a delicious batch of the faux-sitto if you will (Faux-Risotto? Get it? Ha. Not funny, I know.)

With less than a tablespoon of olive oil in the whole dish, it was a healthy and filling dinner that I had along with one of my very favorite non-meat staples:

MorningStar “Chick Patties Original” can’t be beat. One has just 140 calories and they taste just like chicken nuggets! The only difference is: with these you know exactly what you’re eating– no mystery meat here! I am definitely not a vegetarian and I don’t think that I could ever go totally vegetarian (though I’ve done it before for Lent!), but I love these alternatives anyway. I have about a dozen different healthy “staple” dishes that involve various MorningStar products!

Anyway, I wish that I could give you some helpful tips on preparing the impossible winter squash, but all I can offer is to BE CAREFUL.

Today’s workout was pretty simple and involved bits and pieces of my two favorite Jillian Michaels’ DVDs.

Tomorrow I plan to start the day off with a trip to the gym that will include my new favorite total body conditioning class! I also get to enjoy lunch and an afternoon outing with Katie! I love Mondays! (How many times do you hear that statement?)




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!

DVDs aren’t for everyone, but they might be for you!

When I was in sixth grade, we had a yoga unit in gym. The yoga craze was kind of just beginning back then and we in our 11-year-old-awkwardness were endlessly excited to be doing something RELAXING that didn’t involve dodge balls in gym! COME to find out, we (in our 11-year-old-awkwardness) couldn’t be responsible for displaying the level of maturity required to participate in a yoga class. Everyone was laughing and whispering and finding the random poses endlessly amusing. In a fit of frustration, our teacher cancelled the rest of the yoga unit right then and there and promised that our next class would be miserable (and it was, I still remember it to this day.) Point of this story is that I LOVED that one yoga day that we managed to squeeze in and that night at Target, I spent 14 of my hard-earned dollars on a Yoga VHS! (Holy cats, VHS. Do those even exist anymore!?) And so began my Era of Fitness Videos. About 8 years later, I stumbled upon Jillian Michaels’ in that very same Target aisle!

I must admit, I have strayed from good ‘ole Jillian, but not for long! Last summer, I actually bought p90x. Within the first month and a half, I had given it to a friend (who is 100% hooked now.) There were definitely good parts of that system, I love the ab ripper routines (even though I still SWEAR that the Jillian ones are more intense!) and the p90x cardio videos are excellent too. I just hate that you need all of those weights/ bands and it just never felt quite right for me! It’s hard to explain, but by the end of a p90x workout, I was almost ALWAYS more frustrated than I was invigorated and that didn’t fly. So, lo and behold. Jillian made a comeback.

These days, I’ve been much more adventurous with my workouts. I try to incorporate circuits and runs and gym equipment and weights, but I still love to throw in my Jillian DVDs every once in a while. Here are three of my favorites!

(IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING THIS POST, I DISCOVERED THAT ONE OF MY VERY. FAVORITE. VIDEOS IS MISSING! Missing in action. I will include links to the DVDs on Amazon Since I can’t include my own picture :’-( )

Anyway, on to the reviews!

Jillian’s Finest Work

1. No More Trouble Zones (check it out here ) — This one is one of my very favorites. It is broken up into circuits that focus on certain areas (arms, legs, core etc.) It’s FANTASTIC. You can do all of them for a CRAZY intense, full-body workout or you can pick and choose which sections you do for a focused and intense, yet extremely effective workout! This one requires small hand weights (I usually use between 3 and 5 lbs.)

2.  Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (This!) — The first time I tried this one was with my workout buddy, Jordan. Within 15 minutes, we were collapsed on her basement floor promising ourselves that we’d make it through the whole thing by the end of the summer! (Fortunately for us and our poor hearts, it didn’t take more than a week until we could power through.) This is a cardio-intensive video that includes plyometrics, classic cardio moves (like jumping jacks) and has ab work strewn in for fun! The whole thing is just over 40 minutes (I usually crop the warm-up and cool-down segments, but that’s just me!) This one will have you sweating for certain! Take it slow at first.

3. Ripped in 30(Right here!)– This is the newest addition to my collection. The DVD is meant to be split up into four weeks (hence the ripped in 30. Thirty days that is.) Each week, the workouts get progressively more difficult. Perhaps the best part of THIS video is that each workout is only 24 minutes long. So do-able! The four workouts are interval-style (3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs). Another fantastic, full-body workout that has you huffing and puffing. Even after just 25 minutes!

Even though I’m not quite as nutty about my Jillian DVDs anymore, I still keep them on standby and have recommended them to roughly 2 million people! Jillian Michaels has about a thousand different DVDs, but these there are my favorites! I’d love to hear about the best features in your workout libraries!