Weekly Workout Rundown

Thursday, May 30, 2013

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  • 35 min AM run, 2.5 miles
  • 20 min circuit-training at lunch
  • 30 min casual walk at lunch
  • 18 min, 3 rounds of Island Bikini in PM
  • 45 min Bikini Cardio in the AM, 3.5 miles
  • 20 min circuit-training at lunch
  • 40 min AM run, 3 miles
  • 30 min Bikini Sculpt on the Beach Babe DVD
  • 40 min Insanity Plyo Cardio workout in AM
  • 20 min circuit-training at lunch
  • 60 min walking
  • Rest
This was what my workout schedule looked like last week. I took a little fitness break over Memorial Day weekend. That 60 minutes of walking on Saturday was figured in for rummage saling. I was too busy soaking up the glorious long weekend and what all comes along with it: parks, grill-outs, parades, shopping, playing catch-up, etc. Plus, my body just needed a break. I noticed that the break helped my back heal quite a bit. Sometimes it's good to listen to your body, as long as you get back on the right track after your break.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of my grandpa's passing, so all the ladies in my family got together for a little luncheon and chat in his honor. It was so nice to be together on a holiday that we would normally have celebrated with a backyard barbecue hosted by the man himself.
I got a lot of projects that I've been sitting on for awhile done over the weekend along with copious amounts of studying. I took my Peanut to the park and let him ride his Hot Wheel tractor until the batteries ran out, all the while studying the components and functions of the heart.
We did well this weekend, I think.

Fitness Printable Roundup

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today, I'm bringing you a few awesome printable charts that other people have made, so we can all share in the wealth. I like that the following charts can be printed on regular computer paper, not cutting and pasting involved.

This one was from Rila's post last year, but works just as well for this year's bikini series. I like how you can plot out your meals and your workouts. I have been taking K and K's weekly emails and jotting the workouts onto this sheet so they're easy to see right away in the morning.

For everyone participating in the Tone It Up Bikini Series!
I made this weekly organizer/progress chart for the Bikini Series! I’ll be using it to help me stay on task and motivated!
It includes spots for:
Morning Bootycalls (all you Tone It Up Girls know what those are!)
Daily Workouts
Mini Meal Plan (spaced into 5 separate meals) 
I know this will help me, so if anyone else thinks it will help them too…feel free to use it! Good luck everyone :)

This meal planner is handy too. I like how minimalistic it is as well. She offers a sneak peek into a few days' worth of meals on the TIU nutrition plan. When I was trying to decide whether or not to buy the plan, I would've loved to have come across something like this.

This fitness printable set has pretty much everything included, such as goal sheets and workout charts. If you have an insatiable urge to organize, take notes, record and color-code things like I sometimes do, you'll appreciate this li'l roundup.

Free Fitness, Exercise, Workout Printables

This goal-setter chart gets down to the real nitty-gritty. Plot out an entire year's worth of fitness goals. I like this idea of short-term planning to get to long-term goals. You could really use this for any goal, fitness or otherwise.


If you haven't checked out my free printables for the Tone it Up Bikini Series yet, follow these links:

Any other ideas for printables that you'd like that you don't see here? I'm always open to design suggestions. Yep, that's right, I'm offering to do all the work for you:)

My Superfood Garden

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The term "superfood" sometimes carries a stigma of being too overly-trendy or of-the-moment, gone-tomorrow variety since it's been used with such abandon. This week it's acai berry, next week it's chia seeds. While some of those foods definitely live up to the criteria of superfoods (whatever those criteria actually are), I think that there are some truly miraculous unsung heroes of the backyard garden variety.


This week, Peanut and I got dirty and planted a garden in our little plot of land on this earth. My mom likes to buy my garden plants for me as my birthday present--the perfect gift for a health-loving lady. Peanut likes to help plant, but mostly he gets distracted by trying to find as many worms as possible while I'm digging.

Here's a rundown of what we'll be harvesting this year and the corresponding health benefits from one of my favorite books, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

Healthiest Foods on Earth, Diet books

Bok choy: contains indoles which have been linked to a lower cancer risk. For a whopping one cup of the shredded vegetable (9 calories), you get loaded up with calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamin A.

Green pepper: Loaded with vitamins C, A, K and potassium.

Lettuce: not listed

Broccoli: contains isothiocyanates which shut down carcinogens, helping to prevent various cancers from lung to esophageal cancer. It can also inhibit the growth of some tumors, including mammary tumors. Lutein and zeaxanthin in broccoli have been shown to prevent macular degeneration. There are also other antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals that are scientifically proven to fight all sorts of cancers. It tops all experts' top 10 lists of healthy foods.

Cucumber: not listed

Onion: Onion is hands-down a prime cancer-fighting food. The effects of onions on three cancers studied include stomach, prostate and esophageal cancers. They also help build stronger bones and significantly reduce mortality rates from coronary heart disease. Onions are highly anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral. Sulfides in onions also may help lower blood lipid levels and blood pressure.

Beans: Offers about 10% of the RDI of folate in a prime ratio of folate to amino acids that allows it to be absorbed properly by the body. One cup will give you about 4g of fiber and a bunch of vitamins and minerals: calcium, vitamin A, potassium, manganese, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Tomatoes: tomatoes are of course rich in lycopene, which has shown to be a strong proponent against prostate cancer. Other strong evidence points to lycopene's effects on stomach, lung, pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast and cervical cancers. It's also a heart-healthy vegetable, reducing heart attack risk, slowing the thickening o arteries, and reducing blood pressure. Lutein in tomatoes is a protector of eyesight. Not only that, but they are also packed with other beneficial vitamins.

Acorn squash: a fiber powerhouse, packing 9g of fiber per cup. In other words, they are highly filling for a very low calorie budget (115 calories). High fiber diets themselves protect against heart disease and cancer. It also is overflowing with potassium and even contains some iron.


And I didn't plant just any ole tomatoes. This "Health Kick" variety definitely had my name written all over it. 50% more lycopene? Sign me up!

I also had Peanut help me plant a small backyard herb garden--just about the only garden I haven't overloaded yet.

Parsley: now, if I were going to invent some weird new-age cleanse diet, I would definitely add parsley to the mix. All kidding aside, the often "optional" herb is actually a strong detoxifier and deodorizer. The chlorophyll also helps to stop bacterial growth and counter toxins. The mild diuretic properties aid in kidney function. Diabetics may benefit from the herb's ability to reduce blood glucose levels.

Basil: not listed.

Oregano: Rich in a whole assortment of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A and niacin. It has an impressively high antioxidant content--more than most fruits and vegetables. Compounds in oregano have anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can actually inhibit the growth of at least 10 microbes.

We also have a few beds around the garage for our perennial edibles, including asparagus, rhubarb, chives and mint. I could break those down for you too, but I'll leave that research up to you. They're all amazing powerhouses, I assure you.

Now, you may be thinking that you need to own a 3-acre plot of land to grow this stuff. My garden is just 8' x 11' . Admittedly, I somehow tend to overpopulate my garden every year (at the nursery, my eyes are way bigger than my garden), but this small plot is definitely sufficient for your standard-issue salad fixings with all the health benefits.

And let's be clear, gardening isn't just for cute retired grammies. It's also for anyone from the hip, urbanite to the low-income family. If you're ready celebrate the marvelous miracle of regular veggies, you're ready for a garden.

See, and he's only four!

What are you planting this year?

Now, go get those pretty little hands dirty!

Elevate the Everyday

Thursday, May 23, 2013

There's a whole world of difference between eating your lunch alone in your cubicle and having your husband call you up to split a cupcake.

See, what he really likes to do is to take these little "riding" dates, with me on my moped and him on his motorcycle. I'm pretty sure driving on two wheels has brought our hearts a little closer.

Little dates in the middle of the work week are pretty special.

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This cupcake lived up to its name: "Lick the Spoon"

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"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes
and that's kind of the same thing." Exactly!

We are lucky enough to have a little a la carte cupcake boutique in our town where you can get the most mind-blowing cupcakes ever. The owner is quite the award-worthy confectionery artiste! To boot, every single flavorful cupcake is filled with something delicious, whether it's berry jelly, flavored pudding or butter cream frosting. Even fitness fanatics like me have been known to fall hard for this place (hence why Hubster offered to "split one" with me). I know for a fact that I'm not the only one;)

I think occasionally visiting a place like this or lying in the grass by the river with Hubster on my lunch break is something worth celebrating. I am all about elevating the everyday, and this is such a simple way to create a meaningful experience where there normally wouldn't be one.

Do something unexpected on your lunch break today, just for me, ok?

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, May 20, 2013

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  • 40 min AM run, 3 miles
  • 35 min AM run, 2.5 miles
  • 22 min PM Bridal Babe + Sunkissed Abs workouts
  • 45 min Bikini Cardio AM run, 3.7 miles
  • 30 min Surfer Babe DVD in PM
  • Rest
  • 40 min AM run, 3 miles
  • 45 min PM Surfer's Paradise + Cowabunga workouts, 3 rounds each
  • 60 min run, 5 miles
  • 35 min run, 3 miles
This week, we're starting to tally up our miles until the first day of summer. As of this morning, I am at 22.5 miles for #100bySummer. My workouts are pretty much on-pace with the #BikiniSeries schedule for the week. Links to all workouts can be found in this post. Oh, and I reached a number on the scale this week that I haven't seen in a very long time, thanks to this Bikini Series. The numbers crept up a little over the weekend, but the downward trend seems to be sticking. I just really want to get into the "healthy weight" zone. Right now, I just fall into the "overweight" category, but I'm so close that I can taste it.

Holy sore-ness! I've got a lower back and shoulder thing going on this week that are pestering me, but not restricting my workouts in any way. I won't do any moves that will worsen my aches, but I can still run and do pretty much everything. I just look like a 90-year-old lady when I try to bend at the waist and get up from my chair. I'm a tummy sleeper, so I've been sleeping with a pillow under my pelvis and that really helps take the pressure off my lower back. I may or may not be secretly using Ben-Gay. I'm not! I kid...

Our weekend was spent almost entirely outside due to the amazing weather we're having in Wisconsin finally! I did some yard work, studied for my NASM exam in a lawn chair, took a 5k run around the neighborhood, accidentally crashed a cookout, went on a 'coon hunt in the middle of the city, picked up veggie plants for the garden, and took a scooter ride. Peanut did some of this stuff with us, but he had a special sleepover and fishing trip of his own to attend. I'm feeling a cold coming on, but this warm summery weather sure seems to be tempering the effects.

Here's our little neighborhood friend. Pretty docile for a wild animal. Hubster live-trapped and relocated her. Peanut has a weird fear of raccoons of all things, but he was all-too-eager to help his Da hunt her down.

How excited are you for the upcoming three-day weekend? I am! I am! We always hit up the city-wide rummage sales in the town where my husband grew up and put flowers on his grandpa's grave while we're there. It's kinda a tradition now. We're going to try and find this place again. And in two weekends, we're heading to Chicago for a little family trip, centered around my NASM personal trainer workshop. This summer is going to be so good...

What trips do you have planned already for the summer?

Looking Fear in the Eye

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I have a confession to make. I worry. Like, a lot. I'm a mom and I'm getting older, I guess, so it seems there are more things to fear than ever. I can sometimes be a bit of a WebMD-induced hypochondriac and see myself splattered all over the highway whenever I ride behind my husband on his motorcycle. Whenever my son climbs on the railings at the park, my stomach flops thinking about him falling. Most people can probably relate. In fact, I don't like to talk about it much, but around Labor Day last year, I was diagnosed with an anxiety-related thang by my doctor. Severe anxiety is a regular part of my life, so I have to make a conscious effort to relieve or prevent that anxiety on a daily basis.

However, part of the prevention process of anxiety is facing your fears, as contradictory as it sounds. I think, in life, the more you face your fears, the more resilient you become. You take more chances in other areas of your life and push beyond your perceived limits. If you're not a little fearful at times, you might not be living up to your full potential, imho.

Buying my new moped is one of the small ways in which I'm facing my fears. At first, I was pretty reluctant to drive around solo--I once dumped a small motorcycle and it wasn't pretty. In fact, just yesterday, I rode the moped to work and did indeed almost get hit by a car. (Please don't text and drive people, it's truly terrifying!!!) The moped also stalled at an intersection and I had to react fast to avoid a traffic situation behind me. Though those experiences were a bit stressful, and the idea of riding around in an open-air vehicle makes me feel extremely vulnerable, I am actually happy that I made the purchase and pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.

Whether it's driving a moped or hiking a mountain, I can feel myself growing with each new experience. I find myself much more capable of things that I didn't even realize. It's confidence-building and anxiety-busting. Some days, it just makes me happy to still be alive. It makes the feeling of being alive a little sharper, especially when you're riding in the open air. Go do something today that scares you, ok?

Please leave a comment and let me know what you've done lately that has scared you to pieces?

Weekly Workout Rundown

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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  • 45 min Bikini Cardio in the AM
  • 30 min Abs + 3 rounds of Surfer's Paradise in PM
  • 30 min Booty Shorts Cardio in the AM
  • 30 min brisk solo walk at lunch
  • 18 min 3 rounds of Love Your Arms in PM
  • 30 min 2 rounds of Sunseeker + 2 rounds of Surfer's Paradise in PM
  • 45 min run in the AM
  • 35 Grab a Friend Workout in the AM (performed solo)
  • Rest
*See last week's Tone It Up schedule to see the workouts listed above.

Sunday was the only day that I deviated from the Bikini Series a little bit. I was supposed to work on my buns for Sunday Bumday, but I didn't. I don't like excuses, so I try not to use them myself, but I needed a rest day. I'm having some lower back issues, but I'm determined to not let it interfere with my progress.

This week we're starting to track our mileage for #100bySummer. We have 6 weeks until summer officially starts, and it's time to kick the mileage into high gear. I have no doubt that I will accomplish just that. I accomplished #100byVDay earlier in the year, those first 6 weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. So, 100 miles by summer should be completely doable.

In other news, I have my CPR/AED training coming up really soon. Next month, I'll be attending the NASM personal training workshop in Chicago and then it will be test time. I plan to hit the books hard for the next month-and-a-half to make sure I have my personal training certification in-hand by July. And that, my friends, is how I like to...Make it Happen!

How are you doing on the Bikini Series?

A Peek into my Daily Planner

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today I am giving you a sneak peek into my real-life planner to show you how I plan out everything from blog posts to workouts to family events.

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I originally intended to create my own planner in Microsoft Publisher or some other program, but it was getting too tedious and, as I decided, unnecessary. The problem is that I wanted to track too many things in one place and that got a little bit out of hand.

All the things I'd like to track:
  • Blog posts
  • Family events
  • Birthdays and special occasions
  • Workouts: time, type, calories, miles
  • Daily gratitudes
  • Bill due dates
  • Work-specific projects
  • My son's milestones/memorable moments
  • Weekly menu planning
  • Daily to-do list
  • Bible reading plan/notes
  • Goal-tracking
Ok, so you can see how this might get a little overwhelming. Taking a step back, I thought about how I could get all of these onto one page or how I could narrow down all of these trackers a little bit. The answer came to me from inside a little bag from a vendor here at work. Colored gel pens!

With that, I grabbed a leather-like journal cover I had, a 2013 planner already in my possession (cut down just a bit to fit inside the journal), and a few sheaths of paper and got to work.

Instead of tracking everything separately, now I track everything together, just in different colors. That way, it's easy to see what's what and to see everything at the same time. Also, it helps prevent me from lugging a giant-sized planner with me everywhere. I really didn't want something else to lug around. I'm a mom, so that's a constant concern of mine.

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Here's my color key:
  • Orange=special dates
  • Purple=workouts
  • Green=blog topics
  • Blue=family events
  • Red=work-related items
On each date block, I record all things listed in my color key above. I try to keep family events and birthday reminders toward the top, blog post topics in the middle and workouts toward the bottom. That way, I have a nice consistent structure. I just write out workouts as you can see below, with miles and calories listed if I'm tracking them. Simple enough!

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I then record milestones and memorable occasions in the little "notes" section. I transfer those dates and events to a yellow sheet tucked in the back of the journal. This way, when the year is over, I can recycle the planner right away but still keep a record of important moments throughout the year. Sometimes I'll use these dates for scrapbooks or memory books. It's just nice to have a list of each year's accomplishments, even if they aren't put into a scrapbook. We all know how hard it is to remember when you took that amazing vacation or which day your toddler learned how to form a sentence. I've been doing this since my son was a baby, and I can tell you for certain that had I not written his first steps, first tooth, first haircut in my planner, I never would have remembered when they happened. It's also neat to be able to go back over these sheets each year and see what you were able to accomplish.

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Isn't this just the cutest?
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My entire planner stays on my desk at work so I don't have to cart yet another thing around on my poor shoulders. Sometimes I take the planner home on the weekends if we have a particularly full weekend planned. However, I do sometimes get into trouble when people ask me what I'm doing three weekends from now and I don't have the planner in front of me, but oh well.

Grocery lists and meal plans, I'm keeping on separate sheets. I just use a printable like this to plan out my meals and what ingredients I'll need to pick up. Then, I hang the list from the fridge and reference it throughout the week. This way, I don't have to lug around a separate food journal and I can simply recycle the sheet at the end of the week. Plus no one ever asks what we have to eat in the house/for dinner. The act of actually eating healthy is strongly dependent upon a healthy meal planning system--fail to plan, plan to fail. If I'm tracking my food calorie for calorie (I do so occasionally to make sure I'm on track), I use the online calculator on SparkPeople.

Daily to-do lists I'm also keeping separate in a teeny little Tone it Up journal from the Cyber Monday deal. I may insert a post-it here and there to remember this or that without wasting pages. I keep the journal in my purse to stay on task each day. This is where my goals are broken down into steps and phone numbers are written down for those I need to contact--that sort of thing.

I have another separate notebook, divided by subject, that I keep blog brainstorms and tips of the trade in. I also jot down helpful blog layout tutorials and traffic-building ideas in there. This notebook usually stays at home next to my computer and I only reference it or transfer ideas into it when needed. It's not something that I need to worry about keeping track of on a daily basis, because my blog post ideas are usually spread out over the week in my planner already.
I've decided to go with a gratitude journal app on my phone instead of keeping paper copies of that too. I do like to look back on these (i.e. don't want to throw them away), but I don't want to keep a paper notebook of them (more clutter). So, I'm recording these digitally, only when I feel I need a boost or have something really special to record. Yes, I do think a gratitude journal is important enough to not exclude. There is so much research out there that correlates gratitude journals to happiness. They help change thought patterns to the positive, encourage you to embrace what is going right, remind you of all that you have, and help you feel fulfilled (just Google it). I ain't giving that up!

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So there you have it, a glimpse into the real-life planning system of a regular momma, writer, and fitness fanatic. Doable right? How do you keep everything straight?

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, May 6, 2013

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  • 30 min interval run in AM
  • 7 min Sunkissed Abs + 14 min Sunseeker x2 in PM
  • 20 min Cocktail Dress WO at lunch
  • 15 min Cocktail Dress + 10 min Bikini Booty in PM
  • 35 min Itty Bitty Bikini Cardio in AM
  • 30 min Under the Sea x3 in PM
  • 35 min run in AM
  • 18 min Malibooty x2 in PM
  • 45 min Zumba in AM
  • 20 min casual evening walk
  • Rest
To see all the Tone it Up workouts from last week (Australia Week), check here. All workout videos, printable workouts and challenges are linked up in the weekly workout schedule. To get an idea of what I'm already doing this week for New Zealand Week, check here.

This past weekend, I went on a retreat with my mom's church. We actually had a Zumba instructor in attendance, which was really handy. Sunday was not Sunday Runday for me. I just couldn't fit it in between checking out of our motel, attending a morning session, driving home, stopping for lunch, and on and on. I'm not an excuse person whatsoever, but even I am willing to admit that it doesn't always work out and that's ok.

I did somehow manage to gain some poundage this weekend despite NOT eating copious amounts of food. No really, one of the meals they provided was fish and I don't eat fish. So, I'm just hoping that this was a temporary weight influx that will go away fast. Before the weekend, I noticed that the TIU nutrition plan was making my weight drop a bit which is a huge accomplishment for me. I swear, my metabolism is more sluggish than a sluggity-slug itself.

Otherwise, I pretty much followed the Bikini Series schedule to a "T" last week. I'm enjoying finally being able to follow along with the Nutrition Plan this year. Together, the workouts and nutrition are a force to be reckoned with--and it's working.

Happy Monday!

Healthy Creamy Cucumber Recipe

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring reminds me most of cookouts in my grandparent's backyard where they always served creamy cucumber salad--along with corn-on-the-cob and hamburgers of course. Creamy cucumber salad is one of my all-time favorite things about summer. As cucumbers come into season, creamy cucumbers become part of the regular meal rotation.

This week, I'm enjoying an extremely healthy take on the dish. This was an experiment for me, but after testing it for several day, I have to say it's quite amazing, especially after marinating in its own juices for several days. I'm happy to say that this experiment was a success and I'll be using this recipe in place of the old mayo-loaded standby. Healthy, easy and clean are always my style.

Healthy Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, sliced
1 sm carton plain Greek yogurt
1 can chickpeas
3Tbs vinegar
1tsp sugar
1tsp dill
1/4 Tbs onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

You may choose to peel your cucumbers first, but I feel like it amounts to throwing away valuable nutrients, so I leave my peels on. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl. This recipe makes about 5 servings.

I like how the onion powder adds taste to the Greek yogurt. I'm normally not a fan of subbing Greek yogurt for mayo, but the onion powder makes the swap perfectly acceptable to me. That's just what it took to give the yogurt extra flavoring without all the fat. And of course the Greek yogurt has so much more nutritional value than mayo.

Bon appetite!