Saturday, November 26, 2011

Treadmill workout for Mippa

I cannot take credit for this workout. I saw it on Coach Troy's blog from earlier in November, and I thought of my friend, Mippa, who has a Treadmill at home. I often share workouts with her - either ones that I've created myself or share workouts that I've found online.  This one looks great, and I can't wait to give it a try!  Personally, I have many workout days that consist of high incline treadmill walking, especially when I am trying to get lean.  I thought Coach Troy put a really interesting twist on it.  Let me know if any of you give this one a try!

Coach Troy Jacobson's High Intensity Treadmill Workout
This workout will crank your heart rate and make you work muscles you never knew you had. It's simple, tortuous and soooo effective. Try it, but only if you have an AED nearby!

1. Set the treadmill incline at 15% grade and the speed at 3.5-4.0 mph or at a fairly comfortable pace. Walk uphill for .5 mile.

2. Raise the speed to 4.5 - 5.5 mph (Depending on your fitness) and start to 'jog' with short steps. Drive with your arms up the hill. Go for .5 miles.

3. Increase the speed to the top of your limits for .2 miles while still at 15% grade. Hang in there and don't fall of the back!

4. Decrease the grade to 6-8% and the speed to 3.5-4.0 mph and walk the final .3 miles as a cooldown.

Hop off and collapse.

The entire workout will take around 20 minutes and you cover a total of 1.5 miles. Not much for the hardcore endurance athlete, right. Wrong! Try this workout next time you're in need for a strong hit of intensity and you'll get it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Training Update

So my training for the past month has been very solid.  I'm taking a class on Tues/Thursday nights for work, so that has put a glitch in my training plans. I am working around it though.  For instance, on class nights, I go to the gym right after work and get in a 45-minute workout before class, either lifting weights or cardio. Sometimes I do early morning cardio on class days, just in case I needed the hour in between class and work to do homework.  I also changed my work schedule from 7:30-4:30, which has really allowed me to balance better.  For the past month, I've also been boxing twice a week and lifting weights 2-3 times per week. I'll be moving that up to 4 days per week of boxing, lifting 3x per week, and at least 1 day of yoga.

I'm feeling really good.  I had a sleep study done, and finally discovered the root cause of my weight loss struggles as of late.  I'm under constant stress and am not getting restorative sleep. So, my doctor gave me some suggestions to change around my evening routine to improve my sleep quality, and I've dropped 6 pounds!  I've always known the importance of sleep and the impacts of sleep deprivation and stress. I knew that I've been under alot of stress, but I couldn't imagine that my sleep was being impacted that badly...but that is indeed the case.  I'm looking forward to making good changes and getting closer to my end of year goals.

Caio for now folks!!

Sharing Recipe: Fall Spinach Goat Cheese Bisque

I was really missing my girlfriend Mippa today, and I thought of how we enjoyed apple and goat cheese salads at Grand Luxe cafe around this time last year.  So, I decided to make a lovely bowl of spinach goat cheese bisque, which was really good!  I adapted the recipe from one that I saw in Eating Well magazine. 

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Salt, Pepper to taste
1 tsp dried dill/thyme
1 medium Yukon Gold Potato (peeled & diced)
1/8-1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp sherry cooking wine (or marsala)
2 Cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
1/2 clamshell baby organic spinach
1 T light butter
1/2 cup light goat cheese crumbles
croutons for garnish

Cooking Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until onions start to brown.
2. Add minced garlic cloves to the onions.
3. Reduce heat under onions, add 2 T water, dill, and thyme. Cover onions and cook for about 20-25 minutes to caramelize.  Stir often, but make sure to return the cover afterwards.
4. In a pot, heat 2 cups of water, add 1/4 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Add the potato and cook 12-15 minutes until potato is very soft and most of the water has evaporated. Do not drain potato.
5. Add nutmeg and sherry to the caramelized onions and cook for a few minutes longer.
6. To the cooked potato pot, add the caramelized onion mixture, vegetable stock, and spinach.  Bring to a slow boil and heat until the spinach withers down but is still bright green in color.
7. Transfer the contents from the pot into a Vitamix blender (or you can use an immersion blender).  Add the butter and goat cheese and blend until smooth and bright green in color.
8. Return to the pot and add salt & pepper to taste as needed.
9. Serve in soup bowls with croutons and a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese.
Soup should keep for about 3 days refrigerated.

This was very filling, flavorful, and made a lovely dinner on a chilly autumn evening.
Sorry - I gobbled mine up before I could take a picture :-). I borrowed the one from Eating Well magazine.  My soup was blended a more smoothly. The flavor was really incredible.

Approximate Nutritional Breakdown:
Per serving: 147 calories; 7 g fat ( 3 g sat , 3 g mono ); 11 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 447 mg sodium; 514 mg potassium.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

I will persist until I succeed

I will persist until I succeed.

I was not delivered into this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins.
I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd.
I am a lion. And I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep.
The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny.

I will persist until I succeed.
--excerpt from Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman in the World

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes & Apples

After my workout, I was famished.  I had my Coconut Milk Pumpkin Soup with Ginger Garlic Sea Scallops for dinner.  Before I headed out to the gym, I prepared a recipe for 'sweet potatoes and apples' in my slow cooker with the intention of enjoying it in the evening with dinner.  Well, my goodness, it was absolutely devine!  My picture does not do it justice :-)
Here is the recipe.  I hope that you give it a try sometime!  I modified this recipe from the Fix-It and Forget-It Slow Cooker Cookbook.  I had two bowls of it - LOL.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes & Apples
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 larget tart and firm apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 tsp Himalayn sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp light, soft tub butter, melted (I use Land O'Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil)
2 Tbsp Carey's Sugar-Free Syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brown sugar
toasted pecans for topping

1. Place half of the sweet potatoes in the slow cooker. Layer half of the apple slices on top.
2. Mix together dry seasonsings. Sprinkle half over apples.
3. Mix butter, sugar-free syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Spoon half overtop of the apples.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the remaining sweet potatoes and apples.
5. Cover. Cook on Low 6-8 hours or until potatoes are soft, stirring occassionally.
6. To add a bit of crunch, sprinkle with toased pecans when serving.
7. Serve with pork, poultry, or seafood.

Finally Found...

Well, in my last post, I mentioned how I was having a hard time finding a gym nearby that had the atmosphere that I have been missing.  Well, I finally found it.  I toured Lifetime Fitness, which I have belonged to in the past.  It is very close to my home and has a ton of classes and amenities.  My personal experience with Lifetime Fitness, though, is that I always felt it was "too nice".  Meaning, whenever I'd go there to lift weights or exercise, I felt like people weren't really working hard and that it was too nice of a gym to really focus on the "down and dirty" exercise.  I loved Lifetime for its amenities. I definitely found myself going to enjoy the spa and the sauna more than my regular workouts. It was also so big that I felt overwhelmed there.  Anyway, I got the same feeling when I toured the gym again.  So, I decided that wasn't going to be the one for me.

I revisited the new gym that opened about 2 miles from my house - Champion Fitness - which I toured a few weeks ago.  I'd been dreaming about that place and had an instant energy on my first visit.  The cost of the gym was about the same as Lifetime, and I think that they are both on the pricey side.  However, I was so apprehensive about joining due to the administration cost, enrollment cost and monthly fee.  Yesterday they had their grand opening, and I went..with the full intention of enrolling.  I did just that and got a workout in while I was there.  To my surprise, they had an awesome special on opening day AND a discounted membership due to my corporate affiliation.  So, I felt very happy getting the membership down to a reasonable rate..still on the high end, but justifiable in my monthly budget.  The gym is brand spanking new, as is all of their equipment.  This made me very happy!  Yesterday, I did 30 mins of cardio on the new Precors and some of the Kinesis strength circuit equipment.  It was all so awesome. The gym is just the right size, and I am looking forward to more workouts there!  Today I rode my bike over to the gym, did 15 mins on the Precor AMT, did an hour of a full body circuit, and finished with some stretching.  I finally feel like I've found the right place for me. Yippeeee!!!

BTW - I decided NOT to join the running club after all.  Instead, I decided to use the money for the gym membership, which I thought would be more long-lasting.  In addition, my accupuncturist mentioned that she thought I needed a back adjustment. I thought the running might exacerbate the issue.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


"Be consistently consistent and results will come." -- Greg McCoy, Owner, Metroflex Gym of Plano


I was over on Marcus Martinez's blog and found a poem that a friend had written for him. I liked it, so I decided to post it here for everyone else to read as well.  I think it's fitting given the post that I just wrote regarding my own challenges to be consistent with my eating and training. It all boils down to making actions & behaviors become habits.  Enjoy! Thanks, Marcus!

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
And after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin;
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me
And I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?


I needed some extra motivation this weekend. I find myself struggling to follow my eating plan.  I run out of energy, work too long, don't prepare in advance..blah blah blah....all excuses.  My life is no busier or more full now than when I would work 70 hours per week at IBM while attending grad school and still competing and teaching.  However, I was still able to fit it all in.  Now that I am older, I realize that entire period was really unhealthy for my body. I was trying to do too much..pushing myself to the limits time and time again.  But I wasn't having this mental hurdle that I seem to be facing right now. 

Anyway, I decided to go back and look at my training journals from the time in my life when I felt that I was in the best shape.  Not so surprisingly, my struggles are the same.  I struggled with early morning cardio..struggled with making sure that I prepared my meals in advance and ate them..struggled with giving in to cravings.  However, I found myself smiling because I could remember every emotion and my mindset when I wrote in my journals then (the curse of having an amazing ability to remember events in my life).  And, I realize that if I could do it then, then I can do it now.  There will be ups and downs...highs and altering events..but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to what I can control in my day and what I cannot.  I find myself falling into my workaholic trap.  At least I recognize it now, and am trying to be proactive about not letting work or my love of learning new things get in the way of balance.  Right now, I am all about living a balanced, peaceful, low-stress life. My motto is that anything (or anyone) who causes me adverse stress gets cut questions asked.  Life is a gift, and I have a responsiblity to take good care of my body - inside and outside.  I feel happy, even though I struggle with my fitness goals.  I just try to do the best that I can with the time that I have.  However, I also try to note the areas where I'm not giving it my best effort and improve.

I had my bloodwork done, and my thyroid is finally back in balance.  My fasting glucose is still slightly elevated, which is the reason why weight loss is so challenging for me right now.  However, I can overcome that by training and eating clean CONSISTENTLY.  Right now, being consistent is my obstacle.  I'll do a good job for a week or two, then I will fall off for a few days..It's been a cycle.  One that can be overcome by better planning and setting better limits for myself.  I took some time yesterday really thinking about what motivates me.  I came to the realization that while having a kick a$$ home gym is amazing, I thrive when I am around other people. I need to go to a public setting, be in a gym, take some group exercise classes. I draw energy from others, especially those working hard to meet goals such as myself.  When I drag my butt out of bed in the morning to do my morning cardio, I am still half asleep and not working as diligently as I should.  I have tried a few gyms locally, but haven't quite found "the one" yet.  I enjoy LifeTime Fitness, but moreso for the amenities.  I never felt like I really got a good, focused workout there.  I've tried a gym similar to Anytime Fitness, but the atmosphere wasn't calling me.  I LOVE training at Metroflex Gym, but it's so far from my house that I only go there to lift. There is a new gym opening here that I toured and loved. It had the energy, tools, equipment, and the "it" factor that I'm looking for. It's kind of pricey, but I plan to give it a go through the end of the year.  My doctor said that there is no reason why I shouldn't be losing 2 pounds per week on my eating plan, even despite having elevated blood sugar levels.  So, as long as I am CONSISTENT with everything the results should manifest.

Anyway, that's my pep talk (to myself) for the day.  I'm not giving up. I will not get discouraged. I will transform. I will be honest with myself and admit my own shortcomings.

I am not afraid to be great.

Now let's go get a *bleep* *bleep* snack! (ode to Rex Ryan)

Return of the FitBit!

Man, how I have missed my little FitBit!!  I think that I mentioned that I had a little mishap with mine earlier this year.  Well, I went to Best Buy today and treated myself to a new one.  I really love that thing.  It helps keep me moving, since I have a tendancy to get tunnel vision at work and sit for hours on end.  I also love the free, online tools provided by FitBit.  I like to have the ability to easily enter in my daily food meals and see how closely I've been following my eating plan.  Granted, I could have kept using the tools without the FitBit, but I didn't....

More importantly, I really wanted to track my training during my time in the 9-weeks-to-5K program.  Our first session will be Sat, Oct 1st.  The only down side is that our weekly group runs are at 7AM on Saturdays.  Anybody who knows me knows that early morning cardio is really difficult for me.  Oh's just 9 weeks, and the focused cardio will do me good!

Welcome back FitBit!!  Now..if I could just find my Sony wireless headphones, it would be all good. I think that I lost them when I was at the library last Sunday.  I went back to see if they were in the lost & found, but no such luck...If anybody found those, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be a Good Samaratin.  I'll keep searching for another week or so before I break down and buy a new pair...

Decided to join a running group..Again...

Well, before the weather gets too cold, I decided to join the 9-weeks-to-5K program at my local Luke's Locker.  BF has decided to join with me.  The culminating event will be the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K event, which is perfect.  I try to do the Turkey Trot every other year, more if the weather is nice during that time of year.  Last year I participated and it was FREEZING. However, this year, I thought it would be nice to actually train properly for it and see how I do. 

This should be exciting!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mission 2 - 5K

Well, I admittedly did not train at all for the 5K event. My plan was to just walk it.  However, BF and I just alternated jogging and walking. We tried to break it up into 1/4 mile each.  It took 50 minutes to complete 3 miles, which for me is fantastic!

What's next....?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mission Accomplished! - My first bike race

Today has been a great day so far!  This morning was my 15k bike race, which was my first organized bike event ever.  I only made the decision to participate in the race about 3 weeks ago.  My very short training plan was to just ride my bike every weekend (sat or sunday) leading up to the event.  I kept striving to complete more than the distance of the course with each training session.

For this first time, I wasn't as concerned about my time. I just wanted to give it my best shot.  Going into this event, my goals were very simple:
1) to just feel comfortable on my bike, maneuvering it, shifting gears, etc
2) to simply finish the race
3) not finish last

That being said, I was so nervous leading up to today.  I even considered not doing the event all together.  All sorts of things were going through my mind last night, such as:
  • I should have tried the course so I would know what to expect.
  • I should have practiced more hills.
  • What if I have to get off my bike on a hill and walk it up?
  • I've only been training for the past 3 weekends.  What if that wasn't enough?
  • What if it's windy like it was the last time I rode? I don't do well with wind resistance.
  • What if I run out of energy?
  • I've never done the entire 9 miles many times will i have to stop?
  • What if my cycle starts?
  • blah blah blah blah...
However, I somewhat reluctantly woke up bright and early, had a nice breakfast per my training eating plan, packed up my car, and made my way over to the University of Texas at Dallas.  The weather was just fantastic!  It was kind of cool as I packed up my car, but once the race started, we were comfortably in the 80's without alot of headwind, and the sun was shining but not blazing hot. 

There were so many participants at the venue.  I was very happy to have received my cycling jersey, as they weren't going to be given to us until race day.  Actually, when I checked in, I learned that some of the jerseys had been delivered to the wrong location and thus weren't available on race day.  My jersey of course was in that batch. However, a few of our team riders didn't show up, so I was able to wear one of theirs. The jerseys were gorgeous, and it really made me feel like I was part of the team.  Keep in mind that this was a company event, and all anyone who wanted to participate did was sign up. Today was the first day meeting any of the other riders and getting the jerseys. So, seeing the rest of the team made me realize that I wasn't in it alone.  I had major butterflies in my stomach and just began to get excited as we were waiting to line up to start the race.  As a team, only 4 of our riders would qualify for our overall team time. The rest of the us would earn our team participation points as long as we completed the race. At that point, all of the pressure was off.  I was still a bit fearful of the unknown course, so I asked some of the riders who had participated in previous years. I was informed that there were 2 hills on the course and cautioned not to start off too fast.  Riders who were going to ride for participation points only were instructed to start in the last heap, which was fine by me. The overall group taking off together was pretty large (about 75 riders).  My co-workers and I (6 of us) grouped together and started the pack off. That was a great feeling. I didn't feel as nervous since I didn't see people in front of me. I knew there were alot of people back there behind me, but I didn't want to take a peek and get intimidated.  Anyway, the announcer said "make you way up to the starting line.."  and then "this heap will take off in 45 seconds...30 seconds...15 seconds... and GOOO!!!"

I took off at a strong pace, but not too aggressive. I actually kept pace with one of my co-workers for the first mile or so. She and I had a chance to get to know each other, and we seemed to be able to pace each other pretty well.  I think that she noticed that I could probably handle more, and she said "If you need to ride ahead of me, go for it."  After she made that comment, we hit the first "hill" and had to part ways.  I wanted to ride a bit more aggressively, especially up the "hill" to get it over with.  I put in my earbuds and begin my journey.  I felt great because the "hill" that I'd been so anxious about was no big deal.  It was a gradual incline, but I was able to stay seated the entire time and maintained a good pace. I saw someone get off and walk their bike up. I was envisioning a super steep hill, and I was worked up about nothing.  The course was a good mix of flats and gradual inclines.  I felt great up to mile 6.  Then, the last "hill" presented itself, which was steeper than the first but I still conquerored it like a champion.  However, when I got to the top, I started to feel my energy plummet a bit.  I didn't wear my camel back today, and I had my water bottle in a hip pack. So, I felt very clumsy when I would reach for my water and fumble to put it back. Not wearing my camelback was the only mis-step of the day.  Anyway, when I got to the top of the "hill", I decided to coast a bit to catch my breath and get my 2nd wind.  That was a good move because I was able to raise my gears and really get an aggressive cadence for the last 2.5 miles. At one point I even clocked 92 RPM on my bike computer, which was fantastic.  I was almost brought to tears when I saw the "University of Texas at Dallas" sign because I knew that the finish line was right around the corner at that point.  I coasted in a bit because I wanted the photogs to get some good 'action shots' of me, and I took my time crossing the finish line because one of our company reps was there taking pictures of each one of our employees as we crossed.  It was such a wonderful feeling! I can't wait for the next race!

Now that it's all over, I am so glad that I did not back out of my commitment!! I am very proud of myself for going through with it. It was alot of fun, and I surprised myself along the way.  During my training, I often made stops to grab water, catch my breath, etc.  Today, I kept moving for the entire race - no stopping.  When I crossed the finish line, my HRM clocked in about 35 minutes.  I probably could have done it in 32 minutes if I hadn't been talking and leisurely riding with my co-worker initially. However, that built my confidence and then the competitor came out.  Regardless, completing the course in 35ish minutes was the most suprising accomplishment of all. During my few practice rides, I rode 11.5 miles (75 mins), 13.5 miles (50 mins), 10.2 miles (45 mins), and 4.2 miles (25 mins - very windy day). The last time I was on my bike was on Labor Day.  I didn't ride yesterday because I wanted to be fresh.  I am great at indoor cycling/spinning, but I am so happy to have completed an outdoor course.  I accomplished ALL of the goals that I set forward for myself.

Next weekend will be the 5K, which will be yet another challenge.  At least it won't be my first 5K. However, I am de-conditioned for running (and haven't really trained for the event at all), so my plan will be to jog/walk as best I can.  I only put in 2 miles of track work last weekend, and it was ugly - LOL.  I'll post back to let you know how next Sunday goes.  This was a long post, but I want to remember every moment of today and how it made me feel :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

A New Challenge

Well, we have a corporate health challenge going on at work for the next 6 weeks.  I signed up to participate in 2 events - the 9 mile bike race and the 5K.  I'm looking forward to both events. I am a bit nervous, but it's nice to have an end goal and event in mind.  I also decided to pick two events at which I am somewhat apprehensive. Might as well use this is as a chance to conqueror a little internal obstacle while improving my functional fitness.  I've been wanting to participate in an organized bike event for quite some time. I figured this distance wouldn't be too bad to start out with.  I signed up for the 5K to see if I can try to find some enjoyment in jogging.  I will do a mixture of walking and jogging, but I'm still kind of excited about it.

In addition to these things, I've started working out at Metroflex again.  I'm focusing on my own training & development for the last part of this year.  I feel like things are finally coming together for my personal goals, and the chronic stress has subsided.  I feel happy, balanced, and mentally focused.  Now is my time.  Let's see what the next 5 months will bring...dedicated training, consistent eating, and nothing will get in my way.

Long-term goal is Figure 2012...Bring. It. On.  :-)

Anyway, today's training consisted of:
Early Morning/Empty Stomach Cardio (30 mins)
Evening Resistance Training: Legs

I'll start my new (updated) diet tomorrow.  I am not eating enough, hence my lack of weight loss progress. Time to get focused and eat like a competitor.

Yesterday marked a huge milestone for me. I actually rode 11.5 miles on my bike. I was nervous because I did the whole thing on the road.  However, I went early in the morning, and I LOVED every minute of it. It's so much different than my spin bike. I was tired, but happy. In the evening, I did some jogging on my treadmill (2.2 miles).  I have 4 weeks until the bike race, 5 weeks until the 5K, and I'm giving myself 16 weeks to see how close I can come to my personal goals.

Fitgirl is back with a vengence...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Another Round of Bikes & Bells

Wow - I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted!  Anyway, wanted to share tonight's Bikes & Bells was another good one! It's similar to a workout that we've done in the past, but we kept things flowing and pushed our limits with each round.  Sadly, this doesn't look as exciting on paper, but the energy in the room, adrenaline, and a kick a$$ playlist really rocked this class out. I give it a 10!

You'll need your Gym Boss for this workout.  I used my iPhone to time the 5:00 bike rounds and the Gym Boss to time the bells rounds.   I set my Gym Boss up as follows:
Set it for 2 Auto Rounds
This way, it counts my 2:00 kettlebell rounds and allows me to transition every 30 seconds for rounds that call for that protocol.

Here's the workout:

Warm-up: 7:00 Bike
Rounds: 5:00 Bike + 1:00 Bike Recovery + 2:00 Bells

Round Details:
Bike 1: Seated Flat @ 90 RPM, Aggressive Resistance @ 5:00.
Bells 1: Swings - 2H, 1HL, 1HR, H2H @ 0:30/hand positions

Bike 2: Standing Climb @ 70 RPM, Heavy Resistance for 3:00, Seated Climb @ 65 RPM for 1:00, Sprint on Flat 0:30, Recover. 
Bells 2: Dead Clean Ladders 1/side, 2/side,.., 5/side..then work your way back down if time

Bike 3: Seated Flat Aggressive 4:00, conclude with 1 strong 0:30 sprint
Bells 3: Snatch Ladders: 5/side, 4/side, 3/side, ..then work your way back up if time

Bike 4: 3:00 seated flat, 1:00 standing flat, 4 sprints (0:20 work/0:10 recover)
Bells 4: Presses @ 0:30/side

--- We concluded here after 50 mins (included transition time, water breaks, etc).  If desired, keep going and add in any of the following rounds: ---

Bells 5: Windmill/OH Squat
Bells 6: KB Racked Squat 0:30, Mountain Climbers 0:30. Repeat both, leading with opposite side.
Bells 7: TGU's (1/side for 2:00 time)

In a rare occurrence, here is my playlist as well:
1. Tiesto - "Walking on Clouds" ... 7:18
2. Opus 3 - "It's a Fine Day (Remix)" ... 6:27 - I can't remember where I got this remix from, so here is a shorter ATB version that I've used in previous classes -
3. Kira - "I'll Be Your Angel" ... 4:25
4. Novy - "Touch Me (Radio Edit) ft. Abigail Bailey"... 4:56  - this is an awesome cover of Rui DiSilva's original version
5. Moby - "Lift Me Up" ... 3:06 - this is one of my favorite songs to climb to!
6. Sharam - "Be The Change" ... 6:58 (off of iTunes, Album: "Get Wild Special Limited Edition Bonus Track Version", Song: "Be The Change ft Ahousheh Khalili - track #1). The link i've provided isn't the actual version that I used but it will at least give you an idea for the song :-)
7. Daniel Bovie - "Love Me" ... 6:14
8. Origene - "Sanctuary Ivan Gough Remix" ... 9:17
9. Syke N' Sugarstarr - "No Love Lost Extended Mix" ... 7:17 (played this twice!)
--- Cool Down & Stretch with the remaining tracks ---
10. Telepopmusik - "Breathe Chunk Bass Mix" ... 7:17 here's a link to a similar (shorter) version in youtube -
11. Jay-Z - "Run This Town (Radio Edit)" ... 4:35
12. Lady Gaga - "Poker Face (Acoustic Music Live version)" ... 3:38
13. D: Fuse - "Living the Dream (Chill Version)" ... 5:53


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

20/10 Maddness

I've had alot of really great changes happening over the past few weeks, which is the reason for the delayed postings.  Anyway, I wanted to share a workout that was BRUTAL from tonight's bikes & bells class. It was a tough workout!!  Pull out your GymBoss timers for this one, folks!

I put both of my classes through this workout tonight. One group made it through 5 rounds; the other to 4. We scaled appropriately. For those of you warriors, take it up to the next level by completing all 8 rounds.


FitGirl's 20/10 Maddness Workout

Warm-Up: 5:00 bike

Circuit Rounds:
Complete as many rounds as you can from round 1 up to 8. Use your Gym Boss timer to seamlessly execute the 0:20/0:10 rounds.
* 2:00 Bike
* 0:20 work/0:10 rest for 8 rounds of the given exercise listed below

Cool-Down: 5:00 Easy Pedaling or Walking

Round 1: Swings {Try doing 1H swings, switching sides for each 0:20 work period}
Round 2: Push-Ups (if 8 consecutive rounds of push-ups is too advanced, do 4 rounds push-ups, 4 rounds planks)
Round 3: Mountain Climbers
Round 4: Snatches or {Dead Clean & Press, switching sides for each 0:20 work period}
Round 5: Body Weight Squats
If you make it this far, you're entering warrior zone!!
Round 6: Tricep Dips
Round 7: Shoulder Presses
Round 8: Swings

Notice that I did not call the "off-bike" sessions Tabata drills. They are based on the same time intervals as Tabata (20 seconds work, 10 seconds active rest for 8 rounds [4:00 total] ), but a true tabatata is done at 100% effort.  If we were doing true Tabata drills, we'd only pick 1 of the 8 drills to complete.  So, this workout would be more appropriately coined metabolic conditioning.  Anyway, no matter what category you give it, I call this workout HARD (in all caps)! :-D

Let me know if you give it a shot!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Not So Bad...

I took a group conditioning class on Saturday, my first one in about 2 years actually. It was so nice to be the student instead of the teacher. I absolutely loved it!  Anyway, I actually caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror during the session.  I was actually NOT disgusted by what I saw. I realized that I am probably my own worst critic.  Even though I mentally thought that I was out of shape and de-conditioned, I still kept up well with the rest of the class and even exceeded most. I also realized that I still have very beautiful, full muscles. When I caught that glimpse, I didn't see what I thought I looked like in the mirror (i.e. carrying excess body fat with no visible evidence of being a consistent exerciser). Instead, I saw a strong, athletic woman...I didn't see all of the flaws that I see when I look in the mirror at home.  I had an "a-ha" moment and realized that I am my own worst critic. Yes, there are still areas that I want to improve, but the current state ain't that bad!  I know that I'll reach my other goals with consistency and dedication. I just need something from time to time to encourage me to keep going.

Anyway, I share this because if any of you deal with body image issues, realize that you are probably your own worst critic.  I encourage you to really try to look at your best features and (mentally) play to those.  Every person is beautiful, and I encourage you to find your own inner beauty and let that eminate on the outside. You will be much happier and the little things/negative thoughts will be defeated.

Anyway, I hope that eveyone is doing well and enjoying the festivities of the 4th of July holiday weekend!  I just focused on my own exercise and diet for the weekend (i.e. getting the kitchen cleaned, meals prepared, exercise routines on the books, etc). Honestly, when I'm working out and/or planning for my workouts, I feel that I'm my happiest.  The weather has been gorgeous, and all I've wanted to do is go out, enjoy the weather, soak in the sun, and just be H-A-P-P-Y!

Looking forward to tomorrow's workout.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another great workout!

Tonight I diversified my bikes & bells class slightly...It was a great workout!

Warm-Up: Bike 5-10 mins

Circuit Workout
Complete 3 Rounds of the following:
Cardio (Bike/Treadmill/Elliptical): 10:00
Corresponding Bells Round

Bells Round 1
Mixed KB Swings x 100
KB Snatches x 10/side
Mountain Climbers x 30

Bells Round 2
Mixed KB Swings x 50

TRX Squats x 15
KB Dead Clean & Push Press x 10/side

Bells Round 3
Mixed KB Swings x 50
KB Lunge & Press x 5/side
KB Squats x 10

Round 1 was my favorite bells round, hands down!  I had everybody mix up their work in each bells round. Meaning, instead of doing 100 swings consecutively, do as many as you feel comfortable doing, then do 5 snatches per side, resume swings, then do 15 mountain climbers, etc..  It was pretty great! We didn't use the timer in the bells rounds, and focused on everybody being creative and getting the work done as quickly as possible, but safely.  Loved it!

Coming Fall 2011: P90X2 (aka P90X:MC2)

Get ready, people.  P90X2 is coming this fall.  I am so ready!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recipe Post: Sunday Morning Primal Pancakes

Oh. My. Goodness.  I made primal pancakes for breakfast this morning. They were so fantastic. I modified a recipe that I found on Mark's Daily Apple. 

Fitgirl's Sunday Morning Primal Pancake Recipe
1 small ripe banana
1/3 cup almond flour
Splash almond milk (unsweetened)
Dash cinnamon
Capful vanilla extract
Sugar-Free Syrup (I like Carey's)
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
4-5 pecans

1. Preheat griddle to 400 degrees.
2. Mash 1/2 of the ripe banana in a bowl.
3. Add cinnamon & vanilla to the mashed banana, and stir together until well incorporated.
4. Add almond flour and mix together.
5. Put splash of coconut oil or PAM onto hot griddle.
6. Pour pancake batter onto hot griddle.  It is best to keep pancakes small in size so that they cook well.
7. Wait until the pancake edges turn brown in color and then flip the pancakes.
8. Top with butter, sugar-free syrup, remaining 1/2 banana, blueberries, and 4 crushed pecans.

The original recipe called for 1 egg, which I omitted since I already had a side of scrambled eggs ready to go with breakfast. I was in heaven eating this breakfast! My batter yielded 2 small pancakes. I also used the wrong measuring cup for my blueberries, and wound up topping with 1/3 cup instead of 1/4 cup.  Oh well :-).  My batter seemed to need to cook for quite some time in order to cook fully (maybe because of the missing egg) and were kind of dense.  Next time, I will try to add an egg white, beaten to stiff peaks to try to make them more fluffy.  My nephews are visiting for the summer, and I can't wait to give these a try for them.

If you are interested in the original recipe, follow this link to see the original recipe & article from Mark's Daily Apple :


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bikes & Bells - Hill Circuits

Tonight's Bikes & Bells class was alot of fun (as they all are).  I was pretty tired going into it, and I wasn't quite sure that I'd have the energy tonight. However, once we got on the bike and started spinning, it was all good!  After a 5-minute warmup, the rounds were designed as 5:00 on the bike and 2:00 on the bells. Tonight's bike portion was focused on hill climbs. We pushed heavy resistance and even hit a few breakaways, which were left us winded and working anaerobically for short periods of time.

Warm-up: 5:00 Bike

Round 1
5:00 Bike - Seated Climb
2:00 KB 1H Swings (0:30 L, 0:30 R, 0:30 L, 0:30 R)

Round 2
5:00 Bike - Standing Climb
2:00 OH Squats (0:30 L, 0:30 R, 0:30 L, 0:30 R)

Round 3
5:00 Bike - Run with resistance; Jumps on Hill
2:00 KB Snatches (0:30 L, 0:30 R, 0:30 L, 0:30 R)

Round 4
5:00 Bike - Breakaways
2:00 Racked KB Squat/Presses (1:00 L, 1:00 R)

Round 5
5:00 Bike - Sprints on Hill
2:00 Dead Cleans (0:30 L, 0:30 R, 0:30 L, 0:30 R)

Round 6
5:00 Bike - Freeform Climb
2:00 High Pulls (0:30 L, 0:30 R, 0:30 L, 0:30 R)

Cool-Down: 5:00 Bike


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Awesomely Difficult...

The title of this post is how I describe tonight's workout. It was incredible!  Our objective was to complete as many rounds as possible in the 45-minute class period.  It was fantastic! We did substitute one Bike segment with Treadmill walking, as my clients felt they were reaching anaerobic segments.

Warm-Up & Cardio 1: 13:00 Bike

Main Workout: 5:00 Bike followed by Bells Circuit (as outlined below)

Bells Circuit
0:45/exercise (per side side), 0:20 rest
Racked KB Squat & Kick
KB High Pull or Snatch
1H KB Swing
Racked KB Lunge & Press
KB Dead Cleans


Our timings weren't exactly precise, so we completed 2.5 Rounds total. We also used the last cardio round as a 5-minute cool-down. This was TOUGH and fantastic all at the same time!! If you give this a shot, make sure to emphasize quality over quantity. If the 0:45 seconds per exercise per side is too aggressive, drop it down to 0:30 seconds per exercise per side. If you need more rest in between exercises, take it!  We put in extra rest before each Lunge & Press.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Tonight's Workout

Tonight's workout was somewhat Grok-like.  We got outside to follow our primal instincts and "play" in the sun :-).  I actually did the workout with my clients for a couple of reasons:
1. I wanted to push them a bit, and since a large portion of the workout was outside, I wanted to be with them "in the trenches" pushing them along
2. One of my members had her first night back after about 2 weeks off, so I wanted to keep her encouraged. I expected that she would have a bit of a challenge in front of her tonight.
3. I wanted to get my own workout done while there was still energy in my body. I get very motivated exercising around/with others, and I do push myself harder than I would working out alone. Other than the cardio conditioning classes, I typically don't work out with my clients often, but I think that it is appropriate at times.

Here's the workout:

Complete at many rounds as possible in 40 minutes
Outdoor Jog/Run - 1/4 Mile
Body Weight Squats x 15
TRX Rows x 15
Push Ups x 15
DB Bicep Curl & Shoulder Press x 15

We completed 4 rounds as a group. I personally could have gotten in at least 1 more round, but I had to keep things paced for my clients. They did a great job!!  Nobody in our group is fond of running (including me), so this was a good confidence booster. We jogged/ran the first half of the loop and power walked back for most rounds.  I'm very proud of us for pushing through, even in spite of the hot Texas sun (which I happen to love!!). We were getting cheers from passerbys in their cars saying that we were doing a great job! :-)

50 Heavy KB Swings

I dialed down the rest of the workout for them. We did an abbreviated finisher and skipped the abs/core work. We did take an 8-minute stretch at the end, which was good.  Here's the originally planned finisher & core work.

Originally Planned Finisher (1x):
200 KB Swings with mixed weight & grip
200 Walk-Ups "Step-Test" (each step up is counted as "1" rep. This is similar to the traditional 3-Minute Fitness Step Test. Used a 12" step.)

Originally Planned Core Work (2x):
Complete each exercise for 0:30
SB/Floor Crunches
TRX Plank
TRX Suspended Crunch
Floor/TRX Side Plank

Tomorrow night we have a Bikes & Bells Class....Looking forward to it!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Relaxing Walk - Active Rest

When it cooled off, Max and I took a 2.2 mile walk in the later part of the evening.  We didn't run or jog, but just decided to enjoy the scenery and the outdoors. Max really enjoys his walks. He is so little though, that I am afraid to run or jog with him.  He's a very picky little dog, and is finicky about eating and drinking.  He gets so excited on outdoor walks that he pants for what seems like forever. I always bring water but he drinks very little of it during our walks. I'm trying to be more Grok-like in my activities, and I thought walking outside would be a good way to support that effort.

Anyway, I'm thinking that tomorrow (Sunday) will be a rest day.

Refreshing Summer Drink...Strawberry Mango Crush

Okay, so it isn't officially summer for another 3 weeks, but the weather has been so fantastic that I enjoyed a lovely drink this evening on the porch.  I call this recipe a Strawberry Mango Crush. I made mine without alcohol, but I'm sure this would be equally refreshing with a splash of Vodka or Malibu Rum.  Here's the super simple recipe.  Add a cute little umbrella and enjoy!

FitGirl's Strawberry Mango Crush
Ice Cubes
Fresh Strawberries (3-4 depending on size)
Flesh of 1 Mango
Stevia (my stevia has a measuring spoon, so I used 1 spoonful)
Lemon Juice (approx 1-2 tsp)
Water (about 1-2 oz)

I simply added all ingredients to my Vitamix in the order listed and let it blend for about a minute. I'd suggest starting with just a tiny bit of water and adding more as needed, depending upon how juicy your fruits are.  It was such a delicious drink!!  Forgive my picture. I was almost finished with my drink when I realized that I hadn't snapped a picture - LOL!

I'm sure it would be great with any fresh fruit combination. I'll try it with raspberries and lime juice next time!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Look Like a Sweaty Water Bottle...

Tonight's Bikes & Bells Class was another good one!  The humidity was pretty high and the temperature outside was about 95 degrees. The gym was hot and sauna-like, just the way I prefer it.  I was full of energy and ready to rock it out tonight!  We kept class very simple, but it was a really good time.  This week was our designated recovery week, so we tried to keep our session relatively simple and short.  We worked for about 50 mins and had 15 mins of well-deserved stretching. 

The funniest comment of the night was when my client said that I looked like a sweaty water bottle.  We laughed sooo hard!!  I love it!  I was retaining a ton of water, so the perspiration defintiely helped. I actually lost 5.5 pounds during the workout - HA!


Cheers folks!  Sweat it out!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!!

I was traveling for most of the latter part of last week, so I didn't get my planned workouts in.  I was tied up with school, work, and getting ready for my trips.  It was a productive trip AND I had a chance to hang out with one of my closest girlfriends (yah Mippa!!).  So, it was time well spent :-).  I got home late Saturday night, and I used yesterday (Sunday) as a full day of rest. I was exhausted from all of the driving.  Anyway, today I was finally rested and got a great workout in. I also pulled out my dragging sled and did a few drills.  I completely forgot how effective that piece of equipment is!

Anyway, here was tonight's workout; took me about 35-40 mins:
Circuit 1 (2x)
Flat Bench Press with 25# DB's x 15
KB Squats @ 16kg x 15
DB Flyes 20# on Stability Ball x 15
Front/Lateral Lunges w/ 20# DBs x 5/side

Circuit 2 (1x)
Seated Military Press with 20# DBs x 15
Seated DB OH Tricep Extension w/ 25# DB x 15

Circuit 3 (1x)
BW Prisoner Squats x 25
Alt Front Lunge x 25
Treadmill x 8:00
KB Swings @ 16kg x 25
TRX Rows x 25
Push-Ups x 25
SB Crunches x 25

Sled Dragging @ 25#

Happy Memorial Day to all of our U.S. Military!!  Thank you for keeping us safe!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bikes & Bells

Tonight's Bikes & Bells class was outstanding!!  We did rounds of 7:00 on the bike followed by 3-5 mins on the bells.  We did the following KB circuit 3 times: 1 Dead Clean, 3 Presses, 3 Windmills, 3 OH Squats, 3 1H Swings, repeat other side.  We then finished up with 5:00 of swings, circle style. It was pretty awesome.  I didn't wear my HRM, but I know that I was soaking wet by the time I was finished.  My class also enjoyed the workout, and their endurance is improving all around. It's great!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Outdoor Walk - 3 miles

I got up early this morning and decided to go for a walk before it got too hot. I did about 3 miles. I was lucky because later in the day, the storm clouds rolled in and that was all she wrote :-)

How was your day?!?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Morning's Workout: 5x5 Kettlebell Cardio Circuit

I designed this workout a few days ago. My clients did it last night (completed rounds 1-4 in about 65 mins). Since I was too exhausted, I did it this morning in its entirety.  It builds upon the Bikes & Bells Workout we did on Tuesday, but has longer strength circuit rounds.  I called it "5 x 5" (5-by-5) because it consists of 5 minutes of cardio followed by 5 minutes of strength conditioning.  It took me 75 minutes to complete the workout, and I burned approx 780 calories.  I did all of my cardio rounds on the treadmill so that I could get my 2 miles in for the day.  I exceeded the target slightly and completed 2.07 miles total.  The cardio rounds were a little longer than 5 minutes to allow for transition time and ramp-up. The objective, though, was to have 5 minutes of active working time in the cardio round, followed or preceeded by up to 1:00 of walking/jogging to get prepared.  Enjoy!

Warm-up: Treadmill 5:00

Cardio 1: Treadmill 5:00
Circuit 1 (5:00)
KB Swings  (Cycled through ~0:30 on the 16kg, 20kg, 24kg for the 5:00 time)

Cardio 2: Treadmill 5:00
Circuit 2 (5:00)
Alt Front Lunges with KB x 5/side (10 total reps)
KB Squat & Kick x 10/side
Step-ups x 10/side

Cardio 3: Treadmill 5:00
Circuit 3 (5:00)
Turkish Getups (2R, 2L, then alternate 1/side to finish out the clock)

Cardio 4: Treadmill 5:00
Circuit 4 (5:00)
Complete as many rounds as you can in the 5:00 time
KB Dead Clean x 5L
KB 1H Swing x 5L
KB Snatch x 5L
Repeat all on the opposite side

Cardio 5: Treadmill (5:00)
Circuit 5 (5:00)
Complete as many rounds as you can in the 5:00 time
TRX Squat x 10
TRX Row x 10
TRX Chest Press x 10
TRX OH Tricep Press x 10

Later this evening, I will have a 30-minute endurance cycling class with my clients. It should be relaxing. My objective between now and then is to fuel my body properly and to hydrate. I woke up this morning pretty dehydrated, so I need to work on replenishing myself today. I was also drenched after this morning's workout, so I'm sure that my trace minerals are completely gone.

Until later....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sharing Recipe: Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Sea Scallops

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm striving to go on more of a paleo diet for the next 30 days. I am actually trying to follow and learn about Mark Sisson's Primal Diet.  Well, tonight I made a coconut pumpkin soup with sea scallops for dinner. Oh my goodness, it was simply outstanding, not to mention so quick and easy to make.  I was literally licking my bowl as I ate my dinner - lol.  If this is eating primal, then where have you been all of my life??!!  Side Note: I made a pizza for my BF's dinner. I tasted a small slice, and it did not hold the same level of satisfaction that it once did. It didn't even taste good to me anymore, which is remarkable because the pizza that I cooked actually used to be my favorite.  It's only been a few days of eating "primal," and my palate has already noticeably changed. I actually find my primal meals to be so much more satisfying and filling than when I often enjoyed and craved pasta, breads, and rice.  The sugar cravings are also going away. I find comfort knowing that I can have a bit of fresh almond butter and dark chocolate to fight the cravings. A small serving is all that it takes.  Anyway, I wanted to share the recipe for the soup.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like coconut milk or coconut-anything, as I'm not a fan of coconut, but it was very tasty!

Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Ginger-Garlic Sea Scallops
1/2 lb sea scallops
1 small can Canned Pumpkin (organic if you can. My grocery store only had Libby brand)
3/4 can Coconut Milk (I used Taste of Thai brand Lite Coconut Milk)
3 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1T fresh ginger, chopped
Coconut oil and/or EVOO
Sea Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Handful of Blanched & Slivered Almonds, toasted (I only had whole, raw almonds. I crushed them and toasted.)
Fresh Basil & Cilantro for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
2. Rinse and pat dry scallops. Put them in a shallow dish and coat with EVOO. Season lightly with salt & pepper. I added a salt-free garlic & herb seasoning that I created as well. Top with garlic and ginger. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes to marinate.  (This marinade made the scallops burst with flavor! Simply outstanding!)
3. While the scallops are marinating, prepare the soup base.  Pour the canned pumpkin and coconut milk in a saucepan. Heat slowly to a simmer. Season lightly with salt & pepper to taste. Do not let the coconut milk come to a boil, as it will separate.  Allow to warm while you prepare the rest of the meal.
4. Line a cookie sheet or baking dish with parchment paper. Add the almonds to the pan and place into the hot oven to toast/warm. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn.
5. Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add scallops and all of the yummy ginger-garlic marinade. Cook the scallops 3-4 minutes per side, depending upon the size of the scallops.
6. Prepare soup bowls by adding soup base and 3-4 scallops per bowl (get some of that yummy ginger-garlic in that bowl as well).  Top with almonds, fresh basil, and fresh cilantro.

Sit down, kick back, and Enjoy!!

I did not think that I would be full after eating a bowl of this, but I was.  I even had enough leftover for another bowl.  I'll plan to eat it for lunch tomorrow.

On another note, I found myself feeling really tired today. I didn't sleep well, and I was hungry for a large part of the day. I kept putting off my workout, and I was simply exhausted and unable to perform when my clients left tonight.  I'll get a good night's sleep tonight and come back refreshed for tomorrow. I had a really great workout planned, too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So Inspired...

I've commented a few times about how inspired I feel every time that I watch this season of the Biggest Loser.  I've only actively and consistently watched 2 very recent seasons (season 10 and season 12), which are both the Couples version of the show.  I really like the comraderie and the genuine good nature of the teams on these two casts. Anyway, I think that the women on this season have done an incredible job with their weight loss, especially Irene.  I thought she was such a beautiful woman (inside & outside) before her weight loss, and she looks absolutely amazing now!  I especially love to see the transformation emotionally that the contestants have. I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be to psychologically change as quickly as the body has physically changed. That's probably a much more lengthy process.  I'm always excited to see the finale, though I do think that they don't spend enough time on the winner at the end. It's like the live show is crunched for time and they go "okay, the winner is ...blah..." end of show...LOL.

I say all of this because these people lose hundreds of pounds in the span of 4-5 short months, and then even more for the finale.  I gain inspiration because my desired weight loss of 35 pounds is no where near as much of an obstacle as what they've gone through. If they can do it, then so can I.  I sometimes use the show as my weighing in each week and competing against them in my own way.  I know it's silly, but I'm like if so-and-so lost 8 pounds this week, then why can't I?  HAAA :-)  I do realize that it is TV and their "weeks" may not be exactly 7 days, but the point is that it's kind of fun to try to keep up (even though I fell behind in my losses long ago - lol).  I get frustrated with my progress. I am actually still at a plateau, and am working hard to get through it.  I sometimes feel like throwing in the towel and accepting that this must be my new reality. Then, I see how they've changed, and I realize that it is most certainly NOT the end of the road and giving up is NOT an option.  Changing the game and getting more focused on my goal is the ONLY option. 

Hold steadfast to those goals, people. Keep progressing toward them every day, no matter how many plateaus or roadblocks that you face.  It can be done, and you will be so much stronger for having weathered the journey.  When you feel sad or frustrated, think about how far you've come and celebrate that progress. It helps making the next step much easier.  Lastly, try to enjoy the journey and try not to put undue pressure or stress on yourself.  I never understood what the phrase "be kind to yourself" really meant or how impactful it can be on your personal progress until I actually started to live those words.

Good night, all..... :-)

Tonight's Workout: FitGirl's Bikes & Bells Class

Tonight, I have my "Bikes & Bells" class with my clients. I've been feeling out of it for the past 2 days. All I've wanted to do is sleep, and I have been feeling incredibly (unusually) dizzy all day today. I'm not sure if I have a touch of food poisoning.  I made some korean style short ribs last night, but I bought the meat on Friday night. It may have sat too long in the fridge.  Anyway, I hope to make it through my workout tonight. I'll post back with the

ETA: This workout was JUST what I needed!!  It was kick a$$ and FANTASTIC!!  The body of our workout was right at 60 minutes, with about 7 minutes of stretching and post-workout chatter :-). 

I set my GymBoss in manual mode with 2 intervals (5:00 and 3:30 to allow 30-seconds to transition off the bike to the bells).  This was one tough workout!!  Here's how we broke it down:

Warm-up: 5:00 on bike
Bike: 5:00 speed drills
Bells: 3:00 Swings @ 24kg (even did some 1H swings...a first for me!)
Bike: 5:00 Jumps on Hill
Bells: 3:00 Snatches (alt 3/side) @ 16kg
Bike: 5:00 Hills (4:00 at Standing Climb)
Bells: 3:00 Alternate between 5 Squats & 5 Alt. Lunges @ 16kg
Bike: 5:00 Sprints (4-0:30 sprints, mixed with recovery on flat)
Bells: 3:00 Triple Threat with Squat used 12kg and 16kg -- was really tough to curl 16kg
Bike: 5:00 Breakaways x 3
Cool-Down: 5:00 on bike

I burned about 740 calories with this workout (and my HRM is calibrated per my resting heart rate and limits are set using the Karvonean formula, so it's relatively accurate as far as estimated calorie expenditure is concerned.) 

Anyway, give this workout a shot if you have an indoor cycling bike at home!

Sharing Recipe: Gluten-Free Dessert Crepes

In my discussion with my nutrition coach on Friday, he suggested that I may have an issue with wheat/gluten sensitivity and intolerance. This is not the first time this has been suggested to me. He actually recommended that I start following either a gluten-free diet or a paleo diet.  I decided to give it a shot.  Anyway, I was craving dessert last night, and I came up with this dessert crepe creation. 

I actually used to treat myself by going to a dessert crepe shop and getting a strawberry-banana dessert crepe with ice cream and nutella. I came up with a much healther option, without the sugar, fat, or gluten!  It was a nice treat. Let me know if you try it!

FitGirl's Dessert Crepe Recipe
1 Gluten-Free Tortilla (I used Food-For-Life's Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tortilla)
Strawberries (3-4 depending on size), sliced
Almond Nut Butter (just enough to lightly spread on tortilla)
Frozen Cool-Whip Lite (or Rediwhip)
Optional: 1 square of dark chocolate, broken into smaller pieces (99% would be great, but 80% at least, to cut down on the sugar...and just 1 square :-)!! I used World Market's 99% Dark Chocolate Bar)
Optional: Banana slices (I used 1/4 of a small banana)

1. Warm the tortilla in the microwave. I used about 30 seconds, and the toritlla was frozen.
2. Spread nut butter on the tortilla. I used just enough to cover about 3/4 of the tortilla.
3. Add sliced strawberries. If you're eating bananas, add those next. (I must admit that I used 1/4 of a small banana...couldn't resist!)
4. Put dollops of frozen Cool-Whip on the tortilla. (I used 2 dollups, approx 2.5 teaspoons.) I also think that Rediwhip could work, but it won't have the same consistency as frozen lite cool whip. I compared the two to see if they were similar in terms of sugar, calories, etc.
5. If using dark chocolate, sprinkle it on top or strategically position your chocolate pieces.
6. Fold and eat!

This was so yummy. It actually made quite a large (and filling) dessert. I recommend half as a single serving size, and sharing the other half. Alternatively, you could just use half of the tortilla for a single serving.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Tonight's Workout: Skogg Intervals L3

Tonight, I did Skogg Intervals L3. It was AWESOME!  I used the 12kg for rounds 1 & 3, and the 16kg for round 2.  That workout is tough, but I love it!!  I finished up with about 10 minutes on my cycling bike.

I also had an excellent check-point meeting with my nutrition coach. He offered some sound advice and suggestions. He also reminded me to keep my OCD in check and offered hints for conquering some bad habits.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tonight's Workout: Endurance Cycling

Tonight, my clients and I did a 40-minute endurance indoor cycling class. It was really outstanding. I can't rave enough about how much I love endurance workouts.  When I first started taking indoor cycling classes, endurance was my absolute least favorite. However, now that I've learned to concentrate and focus on the ride, it is actually my favorite. My endorphins were on high for the next 2 days after that workout!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tonight's Workout - Circuit Training

Tonight's workout was just fantastic!  I'm getting so much energy and endurance back. The eating plan for the 60-day challenge is working. I'm seeing noticeable results, feeling good about myself, and all of that encourages me to push harder & longer during my workouts and eat clean outside of the gym.  I put together a really fun workout tonight. I just loved it, and I pushed myself to the limits once again.

Warm-up (5 mins): 5:00 on the elliptical + light stretching

Circuit Workout (40 mins):
Complete the following circuit as many times as possible in 40 minutes:
2H KB Swings x 20
KB OH Squat x 5/side
TRX Rows x 10
Push-ups x 10
Treadmill x 2:00-3:00 (take a few seconds to warm-up, jog or run for 2:00, take another few seconds to come down)

Cool-Down (15 mins):  5:00 treadmill walking, 10:00 spin bike

My Results: I made it through 6 complete rounds in 40 minutes, and I was going HEAVY on those swings. I really focused on getting a good bend in my knees, creating a powerful hip snap, and "hiking" the bell through my legs on the decent.  I was drenched in sweat after this workout. I put my clients through the same main circuit tonight; they alternated between the bike and treadmill on the cardio segment. They did great, and made it through 4 rounds plus final 1:30 of treadmill/bike.

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Round 6
2H KB Swings
(5-2H, 5-1HL, 5-1HR, 5-2H)!!
KB OH Squats
TRX Rows
Alt Leg Lifts - 5L, 5R
Alt Leg Lifts - 5L, 5R
Low Row
Low Row
Low Row
on knees!
Push Ups
On Toes
On Toes
Alt leg up - 5L, 5R
Spider PushUps
On Toes
On Toes
On Toes
On Knees
Slow & Deep

Oh, and I burned about 750 calories during this workout! AWESOME!

MB45 Advanced DVD - Pre-Order now available!

I posted a few weeks ago raving about the MB45 Essentials workout.  It's actually one of the 2 DVDs that I have in my workout rotation for this month in conjunction with Skogg System workouts.  I mentioned that an Advanced version of MB45 is in the works. Well, I received the announcement today that the pre-sale for the new Advanced DVD is here!!  I think the DVD will ship sometime in early June, but don't quote me on that. You can find the MB45 Advanced workout in the MBody store. If you don't yet have a copy of MB45 Essentials, I also suggest that you pick that up too; you need it in your life :-) (and keep in mind that Essentials does not mean any stretch of the imagination - lol). 

Bottom line: I am very impressed with MBody Strength. The way they train in their gym is the way that I like to train myself. I enjoy their articles, videos, and training programs alot.  Keep doing good work, MBody team!!!

Disclaimer Note: I am not being remunerated for my endorsement of this or any MBody strength product. I simply really loved the Essentials DVD and have been excited about the release of the Advanced version. I plan to add it to my DVD library and can't wait to do so!

Here's a description of the MB45 Advanced workout (from the product page at the MBody store):

The long awaited sequel to the MB45 Essentials is finally on its way!

The MB45 Advanced Workout is going to take your strength and conditioning to a whole new level with tougher exercises, combinations and sets then the MB45 Essentials.

The MB45 Advanced Plan is geared to drop serious body-fat and gain some serious strength!

You'll need two Kettlebells for this barrel of fun!
With exercises like:
-Double Snatches
-Double Swings
-Gorilla Cleans
-Outside the Leg Cleans
-Alternating Floor Press
-See Saw Press
-And much more!

With the MB45 Advanced you will get:
-Three full-body workouts that will take under 50 minutes and tons of cool new exercises. These workouts ain't yo momma's kettlebell workouts. These are the real deal! A killer combination of strength and conditioning.

-A short core workout that will take under 20 minutes. This is a great workout to loosen up from a tough week while giving your core a great workout.

-Full instructional section

-Full nutrition plan designed from our in-house nutrition specialist and trainer, Sam. She's not gonna just throw some crazy eating plan at you. This is based off of her years of research and studies.

-Full schedule that will give you the BEST results from this plan.


As with all plans from MBody, this program was and is still being used by groups at the MBody Training Center with our clients getting great results as well as a handful of Secret Service agents.
The consensus has been the same all around…

This workout is BRUTAL!

However, if you don't feel ready for something that intense don't fret. There are ways to make it easier which are fully explained during each session so there is a workout for everyone.

Of course, anytime you have questions you can contact us at and we will be more than happy to help!

A great way to get results and show us that the plan is working for you is to take before and after pics. We love to see the results people get. They can truly be life-changing!

If you're convinced then scroll on up and hit the order button. You will not be disappointed! If you are we'll be more than happy to send your money back. That's how confident we are in this program.

Don't delay! It's time to get you into fighting shape and get your body to it's ultimate potential.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Tonight's Workout - Circuit Training

Tonight's workout was another good one!  I did my workout immediately after my client left. One person in the group didn't show up, so I actually did part of the workout with the person who came.  Anyway, the main circuit was loosely inspired by a workout that I saw in Men's Health Magazine.  Of course, I made my own modifications and substitutions to change the overall flow of the drills and account for the ability level of my class.
After class, I completed another round of the main circuit, but instead of taking the 0:30 of rest, I did treadmill work anywhere from 0:45 to 2:00 of jogging/running. I trended on the longer end of 2:00 treadmill rounds once I got the hang of it. Once I reached a mile, I did steep, slow incline walking during the transition periods. I was definitely on a mission as I completed it.  As I've mentioned before, I just despise running/jogging of any type.  However, tonight I was just focused on meeting the goal.  I was so proud of myself. The workout was tough on its own, and the treadmill work just made it all that more demanding. I finished with 1 round of bonus circuit 1. It took me about 45 minutes. I was DRENCHED at the end of my workout!
Circuit (2-3x)
Perform each exercise for 1:00, with 0:30 rest in between.
More advanced exercisers can either do jogging sets during the rest periods or shorten the rest to 0:20.
DB Goblet Squats
Mountain Climbers/Glute Bridges (can be done on the floor, stability ball, TRX)
2H KB Swings
TRX Chest Press (could sub with Push-Ups or T-Pushups)
Jumping Jacks/High Knees (0:30 per exercise)
1-Arm DB Rows (0:30/side)
3-Way DB Lunges - Front, Side, Back (use bodyweight if DB's are too challenging)
DB Matrix: Bicep Curl into OH Press into RDL (this is a very slow, deliberate exercise)
Rest 2:00

Bonus Circuit 1
Advanced exercisers should double the reps on all exercises
KB Squat (hold bell by belly) x 5
KB Squat & Push Press (hold bell by belly) x 5
Rack KB Squat & Kick x 5/side
KB Squat & Push Press (hold bell by belly) x 5
KB OH Back Lunge x 5 (if back lunges are too tough, change it to a front lunge)
KB Squat & Push Press (hold bell by belly) x 5
2H KB Swings x 10
KB Squat & Push Press (hold bell by belly) x 5
BW Squats x 10

Bonus Circuit 2
Beginners should complete 2 times (L, R).
Intermediate exercisers should complete 4 times (L, R, L, R).
Advanced exercisers should count one time on the Left and one time on the Right as 1 time through the circuit and do 5 total rounds.
TGU x 2L
OH Squat x 2L
Windmill x 2L
2H Swing x 10

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Interesting Observation about Swings

Over the past few months, I've come to the realization that my body has become incredibly efficient at performing the kettlebell swing.... almost too efficient.  What say you?? Too efficient?? How can this be?!?

Let me be very clear about my statement. I did NOT say that the kettlebell swing is by any means easy or ineffective.  I simply said that after many years of swinging, my body has become used to the movement and very efficient at performing it.  I do not feel the key activation in my posterior chain as much as I used to. 

My efficiency with the swing really became prevalent to me when I was watching Skogg 101 - the instructional DVD of the Skogg System (yes, I do like to revisit basics time and time) and again when I taught a kettlebell orientation to my newest group of clients about 2 months ago.  My training partner also commented that she could tell that I was used to high rep swings and snatches, which is true.  I also recall an old AOS Minute of Strenth video (#162 - embedded below) that addressed this very issue.  I actually perform my swings much like Collin demonstrates in the first part of the video. 

I don't have a Bulldog Collar (shown in the video) to help make my body overcome the complacency in the movement.  However, I do have a simple solution that I've been practicing on my own, and I find that it's working for me (and, like Anthony says, using a heavier bell hasn't always been the answer for this one). 

My Solution: I am actually bending my knees a more and forcing ("football hiking") the bell back farther through my legs. BUT, there is a marked difference between bending my knees more to perform the swing and squatting. I am not squatting at all (nor should you).  I am placing the emphasis on loading my hamstrings, using a powerful hip drive/snap, and creating the crease/fold at the top of my hips to execute the swing.  Thus far, increasing the bend in my knees is accomplishing several things for me during my swing:
1) I am re-loading my hamstrings more with each repetition
2) my hip snap is powerful and more pronounced
3) my heart rate is getting up higher and feeling more like it did when I picked up the bell the very first time (and was sucking wind when I tried to do a 2 consecutive minutes of - memories!)

I'll keep practicing, with variations of swings and kettlebell sizes, and see if this helps my body see the swing as a new exercise again.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for today.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there!


The break down continued from art of strength on Vimeo.