Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Garage Gym Makeover

I have been so excited over the past week, as I found some great deals on gym equipment.  I can say that my masterpiece is almost complete. It's taken me 8 years to get the gym this far, and I'm so proud of what we've accomlished.  It's hard to imagine that in 2003, we started with an elliptical, a step, and a stability ball. My how we've grown! 

We've been feverishly working over the past several days to position our new equipment while making the gym functional.  Aside from the addition of one piece of equipment down the road, we have finished the process.  Welcome to the new look of the Underground!  If you want to come train with us, just fill out my contact form!  You can view our blog site anytime at

Here's a trip down memory lane.... :-)

September 2005

October 2007

April 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 22: Getting back in focus...

As I mentioned last week, I tore up my hands and had to back off of my kettlebell workouts.  I also hurt my wrist last Saturday when I was filling my Wavemaster with water and sand. I took some sand from my 50lb sandbag and used it to help fill the Wavemaster.  Well, the filler bag (with 50 pounds of sand) fell on my wrist.  It's been twingy all week. 

Anyway, my hands at least seem healed enough to resume L2 workouts again, so that will be my emphasis this week.  I'll take it easy with snatches and such to make sure my wrist is protected.  I also stopped by Academy on Friday night and got some new gloves. I tried using football gloves with full finger coverage, but they seemed to catch and generate friction to make my torn hands worse.  I found some Bionic Women's gloves at Academy.  They're kind of tight, but I wanted to see if they would help.  My friend, Lisa Shaffer, recommended them a while back so I decided to give them a try. They are pricer than what I like to spend on gloves, but if they help me get back into training faster and safer, then they'll be worth the investment IMO.

Focus for this week: I noticed that last week, I stopped planning and advance prep of my meals, so my nutrition is lagging behind.  My emphasis and focus this week will be on getting structure and routine back. I'll have a couple of time consuming events this week, so planning will be more imperative than ever.  I really want to do better about having my meals ready in advance. I do so much better about staying on track when I have them ready to go.  From an exercise point of view, I want to get 3-4 Skogg workouts in this week, along with cardio at least 5 out of 7 days this week.

Anyway, I'm off to grab breakfast, plan today's meals, and start cleaning the gym.. Yesterday's delivery was cancelled due to bad weather, and we will try again today.  While I am glad that they'll be coming today, it does mean that I'll be rushed this afternoon to get the gym back in order for my evening clients. It will be hectic for sure, so I better eat my Wheaties today!

I'll post back later....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 21: Happy Easter!!! (took day off)

Today was a good day.  Started it off with church and then came home to get ready for the gym delivery.  I took time to make phone calls to friends and family (which is meaningful as I don't enjoy talking on the phone).  I also decided to cook Easter dinner at the last minute. I hadn't planned on it at all, but it didn't feel like Easter without having Easter dinner.  As a result, I'm giving myself a full day off from my eating plan to enjoy the foods that I will prepare for dinner.  I'll keep it reasonable, but I do plan to have some ice cream for dessert. 

ETA: the gym delivery was cancelled due to heavy rain & winds...Dinner turned out well, and there are leftovers (none of which I'll be enjoying).  I had my ice cream for dessert, and made a banana pudding as well. I only tasted the pudding, as I didn't want to go overboard.  The rest will be taken to work tomorrow for office treats :-)  Whenever I get an urge to bake treats, I just send them to the office the next day by way of my bf. 

Anyway, tomorrow will mark me getting back on track. My hands have healed enough to probably do some short KB workouts, and I'm going to try to get motivated to do more cardio this week. Last week, I was bogged down emotionally with other things and there were many days where my schedule was just packed. I can't wait for my days to become more predictable. It makes sticking to a schedule alot easier.

Hope everyone had a happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 20: Gym Re-Organization Day!!

Well, I spent the better part of 5 hours today working in the gym. We got 3 new horse stall mats (from Tractor Supply Company) to complete the mat layout on the main workout floor.  If you've never moved a stall mat, they are heavy. I was sweating buckets. Luckily we had a very cool breeze today, which was nice!  In addition to installing the flooring (and sweeping, mopping, etc), we moved alot of equipment around to improve overall functionality.  Tomorrow the treadmill and bikes will be delivered.  We will finish placing everything once they arrive.  I sold a few pieces of equipment that I don't use much anymore to make room for the newer stuff.  Like I said yesterday, all that's left now will be to add the Versaclimber, a new rope, and a few new kettlebells once the renovation is complete.  It's looking good, but I'm exhausted now :-)

Time to take a hot shower and cuddle up with a movie of some sort.

This has been a better week!

My oh my how this week has flown by!  I just realized that it's now Saturday, and I haven't posted an update since Monday!  Even though last week was killer, this week was brand new, and I treated it as such! I was able to score some really great equipment for my garage gym at a deep, deep discount.  I am adding 3 indoor cycling bikes and a Woodway treadmill (been wanting one of those for several years!).  All that's left to make me happy will be my Versaclimber, a new rope, and a few more kettlebells...I know it's coming soon :-)  So, I am truly having a great week so far!  Next week will be even better, as my current group of clients are going to test drive my small group indoor cycling classes for 4 weeks before I launch them mainstream.

So, tomorrow I will be working on the gym and getting ready for the equipment delivery on Sunday afternoon.

Lastly, I just wanted to wish everyone who celebrates a Happy Easter.  This is the most holy of Christian holidays to me. I feel very blessed for the gift and celebration of life. I know sometimes it's hard to see the forest through the trees, but I'm learning that sometimes we aren't supposed to see it until someone else is ready for us to.  Be faithful and good servants... :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 15: Late Start, but Good Day

Today is a full day of work, clients, and other stuff. I'm going to do my best to keep the stress levels at bay and just enjoy getting things done one at a time.

I was a bit off schedule this morning.  I woke up, tended to a few things around the house, took my supplments, and immediately started working.  I'd fully intended on doing my morning workout, eating, and then starting my work day.  However, the minute I sit down at the computer to do something "quickly," I wind up spending time accomplishing other tasks on my to-do list.  Anyway, I was still able to get in my morning workout before continuing on with my day. However, my eating schedule has been somewhat compressed as a result.

Exercise Component
I wanted to get a treadmill workout in first thing to continue flushing the lactic acid and soreness from my body.  Boy, it was actually just what I needed!  I took a break around 9AM to get 45 minutes on the treadmill done. I mostly walked and jogged at various speeds and inclines.  I think that this week I will reintroduce more walking (either treadmill or outdoors) into my routine, striving for 20-30 minutes each day to supplement everything else that I'm doing.  The good thing is that the analgesic cream was still on my skin, and I felt my muscles warming and responding to it during and after my workout.

Later today, I still plan to get in a Skogg Flow workout, but I haven't quite decided which level to do.  I will more than likely lighten up the weight since I'm still pretty sore, probably to 12kg.  I want to get some additional stretching and foam rolling in at some point today as well, probably before I go to bed.

Updated to add: I did Skogg Flow at level 3 with the 12kg tonight.  However, I cut and filed my calluses over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I filed them too low, and they started to tear and blister slightly. So, I stopped the kettlebell portion of my workout early.  I made it up the ladder from rungs 1 to 5.  It felt great. I love Flow. It's my favorite workout in the series.  I can't wait to really tackle it with the 16kg. Anyway, until my hands heal, I'd better train smart and do short KB workouts with moderate weight.  I should know better than to have trimmed them so low; I was being somewhat vain and not wanting to have hard, rough calluses when shaking hands in a professional setting. 

Nutritrion Component 
As a result of my workout, I was kind of late eating my first meal. I'll do my best to get back on schedule throughout the day. Updated to Add: Mission accomplished. My eating today was rock solid and in 100% compliance. I recovered even after a late start. I also managed to get in all of my supplements as well.  I haven't felt hungry or had any sugar cravings today.  Yippeee!!  I also drank plenty of water and have generally felt good today (though still a bit sore).  BTW - I am sooo on a quinoa kick (as if you couldn't tell from the quinoa for breakfast recipe post earlier today). I can't wait to have some for breakfast tomorrow morning. I also had some for dinner tonight :-)  I love the fact that it counts as a carbohydrate/starch and has a substantial amount of protein as well.  I think that's why my main meals have been so filling today because of the protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrate combination.

Make it a great one, people!

Sharing: Quinoa for Breakfast Ideas

I always thought that I was limited to using quinoa in lunch or dinner dishes.  However, yesterday during an internet search about the origin of quinoa, I discovered that it can also be eaten as a breakfast dish.  Naturally, I had to try to find some palatable recipes.  I came across Cookie & Kate's blog, where they'd just posted a series of recipes and photographs for breakfast quinoa recipes, which I can't wait to try!  I wanted to share the information here as well.  I plan to try one of the recipes for breakfast after my cardio workout today, but will not prepare the recipes with milk. 

Here are a few pictures (with credits to the source) to futher entice you to give quinoa for breakfast a try:

Original Recipe from Joy the Baker
Recipe URL:

Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa from Heidi Swanson @ 101 Cookbooks
Recipe URL:

Cookie & Kate's Warm Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 14: Sunday is a good day

Well, today has been really good thus far.  I will preface by saying that I am indeed sore from yesterday's deck of cards workout (the squats for sure).  However, I have a positive attitude and have been operating according to schedule today.  I'm feeling good about how this day will finish up.

Nutrition Component
Today my supplementation, eating, and hydration have all been excellent.  I've been eating on schedule and am on track to get in all 5 meals today.  The same with the water intake.  I'll be well over 1 Gallon before the night is up.  I made a delicious lunch today after my cardio workout.  It was a homemade chicken salad over a bed of spinach, tomato, cucumber, and a few pieces of avocado.  It was filling and fantastic.  I plan to eat some bison, quinoa, and salad for dinner, post-workout #2.  I also started a new supplementation regimen today.  I am looking forward to how it will impact my results in a few weeks.

Exercise Component
I'd planned to get a cardio workout in this morning before church, but that didn't happen. So, I did my cardio this afternoon around 3PM.  I got in 35 minutes on the elliptical, and kept my heart rate pretty high the entire time. I did an interval style workout for the majority of the session.  My legs were a little sore, but I pushed through it.  I needed to flush out the lactic acid from yesterday's workout. I finished my day off by doing Asylum: Speed & Agility, followed by 15-minutes of Asylum: Relief.  Let me just say that Asylum is no joke!  It was so tough. I went at my own pace and have alot to work up to.  Adding the extra stretching at the end really helped my already sore muscles!!  I also did some foam rolling and applied analgesic cream (think: Icy Hot) before bed.

Plan for Tomorrow
Tomorrow will present a Skogg workout.  I want to do Level 3 Flow with my workout partner.  Though, I'm really sore right now, and I'll have to play it by ear.  It may behoove me to move my next kettlebell workout to Tuesday and get in cardio & stretching tomorrow instead. We will see what happens after a good night's rest....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 13: A better day, finally

Today has been really great so far.  I spent about an hour this morning finally filling my Wavemaster. I really wanted to use my bag later today for a kickboxing workout. Not to mention, I've been teaching my clients some shadow boxing, and I wanted to fill it for them to make some real contact with the bag.  It took me so long to fill that thing, and it was so messy.  I decided to fill it with sand and water this time around. Anyway, it's ready to rock now, so maybe I'll use it later tonight or tomorrow.  Anyway, I digress...

This afternoon, I had my best workout of the week so far thanks to my AWESOME accountability partner.  Today was our first workout together.  Her energy was so fantastic, and just what I needed. We are going to work well together. She really pushed me through one of my nemesis exercises (squats), and it was great!  For the record: Hoff, I want to look like you when I grow up :-)

Exercise Component: We did a deck of cards with all kettlebell movements.
Warm-up: 200 Swings (140 2H swings, 40 1H swings, 20 H2H swings)

Deck of Cards Workout: (all reps done on each side, except for squats)
Hearts: 1H Swings
Diamonds: Push Presses
Clubs: Snatch/High Pulls
Spades: Squats
Aces & Faces: 10 Reps
Jokers: REST

Cool-down: 200 Swings
I plan to get in some additional cardio later today.

Nutrition Component: My eating today has also been very good and back on track. My mood is still up & down, but at least for right now, I feel like I'm in a good place. 
Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 10: Full of disappointment

This has not been a good day.  I received many pieces of disappointing news. Most significantly, my Versaclimber had already been sold. They had one in stock, but it wasn't the model that I wanted. So, the search continues...DRAT!!  I might just have to consider buying one brand new...they usually have a sale around this time of year. If something big happens in my life, I'll do it...otherwise, the search continues...I will find you my beautiful Versaclimber!!

Today's Eating: Once again, my appetite has been gone. I had to force myself to eat today. I didn't eat enough.  And the disappointing news (more than just the Versaclimber) just increased my stress levels and made it even more impossible to eat. I'm baking a piece of fish and will try to eat it before bed.

Today's Workout: didn't happen.  I'd planned to workout before my clients arrived (and I had school tonight), but that's when I got the other disapointing news, which I won't post about.

This is turning out to be a really shi*ty week.  I'll try to improve my attitude.  I seriously don't see tomorrow being any better. I have another round of interviews from 1-5PM, then clients, then class from 6:30-9:30PM. I'm going to be exhausted, I already know it... I come...Tomorrow is a new day...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 9: A good day for a dinner party...

I was truly exhausted and slept in really late today. I didn't wake up until almost 11AM.  Then, I had to get the house and myself ready for a dinner party that I was hosting.  I didn't eat much today.  I had a protein drink shortly after getting up and then went shopping for my dinner party with my clients.  I had a late lunch which consisted of simply a salad.  I couldn't eat much...still feeling anxious waiting for a decision from yesterday..I really want the job...

Anyway, I invited my clients over to show them a few ways to prepare meals as part of their 60-day challenge plan. I cooked, hosted, and entertained for 2 hours. The problem with doing that is that I didn't eat any food myself.  I started the ladies off with a sample breakfast. We then had a snack, followed by lunch, dinner, and dessert.  I felt proud to share with them some of the ways that I've learned to make clean, healthy food taste delicious over the years.  They seemed to enjoy themselves and the food. Their smiles at the end made it all worth it to me.  When they left, I finally sat down to enjoy a meal.

In other news, I FINALLY FOUND a Versaclimber in the exact make and model that I've been wanting for the past 2 years.  I will finalize the sale tomorrow.  It's a bit premature, as I wanted to buy it only if the outcome of the interviews was positive and in my favor. However, this deal is so sweet that I'd be a fool to pass it up.  So, Versaclimber, here we come baby (FINALLY)!!!!  I am very AMPED about this. I don't want to get too excited, though, until the deal closes tomorrow :-)  All I know is that I've been looking for a Versaclimber in this exact model for the past 2 years. I've come close to getting one several times, but have fallen short each time. This is the strongest lead that I've had in 2 years (other than buying one at full retail price).  I am so excited I have butterflies.  I keep dreaming about my Versaclimber...could this finally be it?!?  Tomorrow will tell :-D

Well, I'm feeling tired still, so I'm going to bed early.  I did not work out today, and I don't see myself doing it now at 10PM. 

All in all, I really need to refocus this train and get on the right track for the rest of the week.  I'm learning alot about myself in that when I get really stressed out, I barely eat, and I also turn to the wrong things.  I felt so much better when I was eating the right foods that gave me energy and good health.  I'm going to say a prayer before bed that I make better choices tomorrow.

Good night, all....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 8: Skogg Flow Level 1

Man, today has been really tough to get myself on track.  I had a very important meeting/interview all morning.  I was under alot of stress getting myself ready for it.  When that happens, I have a hard time focusing on my eating.  We also had lunch as part of my interview today.  I ate sensibly, which I was proud of. However, afterwards, I felt the need to "treat" myself, and it went downhill from there.  I feel really lost today....lost in terms of focus. I'm making poor choices for no real reason.  Perhaps this is an emotional response to the stress that I've been under. No matter what, I have to get things in check....tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start again...I did get in a flow workout (my favorite), and it felt really nice tonight!
I am having some anxiety about the rest of the week.  I have class on Wed and Thursday night, which means several hours of sitting. I usually get somewhat stressed out on class nights because I am left trying to figure out how to squeeze my workout in. 

I am going to sleep early, as I feel completely drained from the stress of today.  I'm glad it's over (and it went VERY well), but I am so wiped out...

Nighty night all...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 7: Just took some time off

Sundays are usually the days that I rest & worship.  Today was no exception, and I did alot of running around in preparation for several important meetings/interviews throughout the week.

So, I took the day off from exercise.
Nutrition was pretty solid today, but I didn't do a good job of using my DietSnaps food journal.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Day 6: Definitely sore...but it's a beautiful day!

As I expected, I woke up with sore spots in my neck and shoulders, where those trigger points were activated during the massage last night -- which is a good thing for me!  I am happy about that because I finally got some relief.  I do still feel relaxed, and I slept well.  This morning I lounged in bed for a little while, and then I made a protein drink. I added a little ginseng to see if it'd give me an energy boost; I'm feeling sluggish. My energy is DRAINED due to mother nature

Anyway, as also expected, today is a BEAUTIFUL day, and I want to PLAY!  I'm so excited. I can't decide if I'm going to do my kettlebell work inside or outside.  I'm considering going to the track and doing Providence or Newport like I used to. That was my Saturday ritual during the summer of 2006.  I'd go to the track, do a kettlebell workout of some kind, and add in other metabolic drills..and sweat it out for an hour or so.  Those were the days when my kettlebell training was at its peak.  I want to get that back..and it's coming back slowly with the help of my regular use of the Skogg System.  There's nothing like the feeling of the sun warming my muscles and taking in the fresh air.  I also definitely want to get out on my bike for a ride.

I'll post back later with my activity report and review of Challenge Day 6.

Exercise Component
I was moved to go outside and workout today. So, I packed up my bells, a mat, and my Sony Wireless MP3 player and went out to the track.  I did the first 7 rounds of AOS Providence, and I did round 1-3 twice. So, I essentially did 10 rounds total.  My warmup consisted of 100 swings @ 16kg followed by 2 rounds of flow intervals performing cleans, presses, windmills, high pulls, and snatches with the 12kg (5 reps per exercise).  It was a great workout and took me about 45 minutes to the whole thing.  Later on I still hope to ride my bike and do another short KB workout.  Later in the day, I was even able to get out for a short bike ride (about 20 mins or so).  It was so windy that I cut my ride short.  Even still, it was such a lovely day.

Nutrition Component
Well, my day started off according to plan.  It is strange, though, I wasn't able to eat all of my food for each meal; I'm not quite sure why.  However, tonight for my dinner meal, I fell off track.  I ate bread with my shrimp-topped salad AND 2 cookies for dessert.  Once again, failing to plan, leads to a failed effort.....I accept full responsibility and will do a better job of staying on course tomorrow.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 5: No Workout + A Much Needed Massage

My stress levels have been through the roof lately.  Today was yet another long interview day (about 4 hours straight).  I was so exhausted when I got home, and I still had yet another interview pending yesterday (which never happened).  So, instead of exercising last night, I took some time off and got a long overdue massage.  The knots in my shoulders and neck were becoming unbearable.  The pain became especially prevalent the other night when I was doing snatches; my traps, neck, and shoulders were very tense and sore, and not from DOMS.  It literally felt like the knots and tension were so strong that there was no blood circulating through those areas of my body.  So, I took the night off and gave my body what it needed.  I'm positive that I'll be sore tomorrow - LOL - but it will be worth it.  I used to get massages twice a month to address these stress issues, but that was a few years ago when I could afford it regularly.

Anyway, good night all...tomorrow is a new day!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Day 4 - Has been a blur

I forgot to blog on Day 4, so I actually don't remember much of it. All I remember is that it was a non-stop day, and I was exhausted, bloated, and tired all day.  I had class tonight, and then had to come home to get ready for my interview in the morning. I have a feeling that tomorrow won't be much better....but at least it will be Friday :-)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Skogg 60-Day Challenge: Day 3 + Overcoming Plateaus

I've been getting to bed later than usual this week, and it's catching up with me.  Today I woke up feeling very tired, and I slept in a little later than usual. I haven't been resting that well (alot on my mind these days).  I'm also kind of sore today.  Anyway, here's my plan for the day, and I'll update at the end of the night with my results.   

Nutrition Component
I started my day off with a solid breakfast, and plan to get a workout in either at lunch time or after my clients; it all depends on how I feel energy-wise. I also plan to make another shrimp/avocado/spinach salad today!  YUMMY! :-)  ETA: I missed one of my evening meals due to spending time with my clients.  I didn't overdo it for my last meal to compensate, but I did eat it much later than usual (around 11PM).  My BF and I watched "Unstoppable" late last night, and I didn't get to bed until after 1AM.

Exercise Component
I plan to do a Skogg Intervals Level 2 workout today. I would also like to get in some cardio, and I've planned to either do a spinning workout or the elliptical.
ETA: I wound upon only getting in the Skogg workout today. I did Ladders at L2, but only made it through the first 3 rungs at 16kg.  I was so exhausted, so I stopped my workout there.  I actually got about 30 minutes in, as I did some swing and high pull drills before the DVD.  My hands were also killing me last night, so I just decided to stop early instead of risk injury or over-exertion.

Some Reading on Overcoming Plateaus
Last night before bed, I read a post that Marcus Martinez of MBody Strength wrote about plateaus.  He entitled it "Push or Be Pushed." For me, it was a very timely post, and I found some good inspiration from it.  I've been hitting plateaus left and right over the past 2 years, but I haven't given up.   In fact, today, I hit a major milestone. I dropped 5.4 pounds in the past 6 days from good clean eating, consistent exercise, and not giving up!

I also found last night's episode of The Biggest Loser to have been a good one. I can definitely relate to what Courtney is going through with her plateaus. Her positive attitude about it all is very refreshing, and she helped give me a pep talk too.   Here's a link to last night's episode (Week 14) on if you missed it. I have the utmost respect for the contestants on this show. They seem to really treasure the gift they've been given, and I really like the personalities of the people on the 'couples' show vs. the original. I also like the new trainers, Brett & Cara.

Have a great day, everyone!

Recipe Post: FitGirl's Sugar-Free Citrus Vinegrette Salad Dressing

Another great lunch!
I made another spinach shrimp & avocado salad for lunch today. However, I omitted a few things from the original recipe, added some other things, and designed a new salad dressing.  It was quite tasty, and I didn't use as much (healthy) fat today as compared to yesterday!!  I was full for several hours after eating it.  Today I used a spinach and romaine combination, added a few segments of fresh grapefruit & orange, and added some fresh raw corn off the cobb to the salad veggies.  I didn't use any olive oil or nuts in today's version of the meal.

I wanted to share the dressing recipe. I adapted it from a recipe that I saw Rachel Ray make on the Food Network. My version is sugar-free, citrus-based, and I think it's full of flavor. It also makes a nice marinade for chicken. Sometimes I add garlic to this recipe, but today I didn't.

FitGirl's Citrus Vinegrette Salad Dressing
This should make about 1.5 servings, depending upon how much juice you use. It was more than enough for my entire salad today.
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lime juice
fresh orange juice (I just used the juice from the piece of orange that I cut to zest)
1/2 teaspoon sugar-free apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 teaspoon grated shallot/onion...start with 1/4 & add to taste
black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
pinch of dried tarragon
orange zest (I used the zest of about 1/4 of a small orange. You can use more to taste.)
lemon zest (I used the zest of about 1/4 of a small lemon. You can use more to taste.)
sea salt to taste (I used only a dash of good quality sea salt)
1 Tablespoon flaxseed oil (or olive oil)

Putting it Together:
Put all ingredients, except for the flaxseed oil, into a small bowl and whisk together. After a quick taste, add any desired enhancements to taste (i.e. more zest, pepper, salt, grated shallot).  Once combined, continue whisking and slowly add in the flaxseed oil to emulsify.

I just love this recipe. I will warn you that the grated onion or shallot can be strong, depending on how strong the onion or shallot is. I always start off with about half of the recommended amount and add in more after everything is combined.  If you want to sweeten it, you can add some all-natural honey, agave nectar, or maybe even some stevia. I like it as-is, so I didn't add any sweetener.

Thanks for letting me share my creation.  I'm learning that healthy, homemade salad dressings can be very easy to make and add alot of guilt-free flavor to your meal. 


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Skogg Challenge - Day 2:60 and a Recipe to Share!

Today has been going well so far. I am feeling very positive about the challenge. I'm finding myself to be well fed and not feeling too hungry.  I also think that proper supplementation is helping me with my edema issues, energy levels, soreness.  Here's the recap for today, and I'll update this post throughout the remainder of the day with my progress.

Exercise Component
I have two workout sessions planned for today.  ETA: I didn't get to the evening session. This is a strange week because I have training sessions with my clients every night Mon-Friday. I usually only take clients on Mon and Wed evenings. I am making up for when I was sick. So, I knew that my personal training schedule would be impacted.  Anyway, after my clients, I was so busy trying to get 2 projects done that had deadlines of this morning.  So, I wasn't able to squeeze in my second session. I usually plan 2 workouts per day on most days (which is overkill). In reality, I am lucky if I get two or three days of 2-a-days in per week, which is just fine.
Morning Session: I did a short leg workout (about 35 mins - Supreme 90 Day Legs). It was effective and time efficient. 
Evening Session: After work, I plan to do Skogg Roots Level 2, along with some cardio. I haven't decided if I'll add another set of 200 swings. My hamstrings were a bit tender during this morning's leg workout, so I don't want to overtrain or exhaust them.

Nutrition Component
Today has been a good nutrition day so far. I started my day off by writing out my planned meals for today. Having it written down in advance really helps me stay on track.  In addition, my nutrition counselor provided some outstanding tips for battling the sweet tooth.  I'm on track for consuming 1 Gallon or more of water. ETA - I got in about 100oz today (almost a gallon).  I also didn't eat enough. My evening meals were really more like snacks. I'll focus more on getting the appropriate balance of food in, but at least I was eating and not skipping meals!

I wanted to share a great recipe that I found in this month's Oxygen Magazine.  I used it to base my lunch meal off of, though I didn't follow it exactly as written.  I made a homemade shrimp, avodaco, & spinach salad.  It was very good and filling (recipe to follow)!  I may have used a bit too much fat in the meal, so I'll tweak that a bit next time.  After lunch, I had a sweet craving, so I had a mouthful of (sugar free) RediWhip and that took care of the craving.  Yippee!!

Spinach Avocado Shrimp Salad Recipe
(originally printed in Oxygen Magazine, April 2011 edition, page 66) 
The original recipe makes 4 servings. I only made 1 serving for myself for lunch.  It was so good!

Salad Base Ingredients
12 large raw tiger shrimp, shell removed & deveined (I weighed 5oz raw, which was about 4oz cooked)
Olive oil (I omitted this an used PAM)
2 avocados, sliced (I used 1/4 of an avocado)
1 pomegranate, separated into seeds (I omitted this)
2 bunches fresh spinach, trimmed (I used a little more than 2 cups of organic baby spinach)
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts (I omitted this and used 6 walnut pieces instead)
In addition, I added 1 roma tomato, english cucumbers, and a handful of baby carrots to my salad.
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
4 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard (I used 1 tsp)
2 tsp fresh black pepper (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (I omitted this)
4 tbsp avocado oil (I omitted this and substituted 1T EVOO.)
Juice of 2 fresh lemons (I simply used bottled lemon juice, about 2.5Tablespoons)

Preparation Directions
1. Cook shrimp in a hot skillet or grill. I cooked 2 minutes per side.
2. Place avocado, spinach, and cooked shrimp in a salad bowl. Toss gently. (I also added my other salad ingredients - tomato, cucumber, carrots).
3. For the dressing, whisk together mustard, black pepper, pepper flakes, avocado oil (I used EVOO) and lemon juice until emulsified. Drizzle over the salad. (I had to toss to distribute through the salad)
4. Top sald with nuts and serve. (I topped my salad with 1T of flaxseed oil as well).


Monday, April 04, 2011

Skogg Challenge - Day 1:60 - Flow Workout

**Updated to document the rest of today...**

Well, today officially marks the START of the SKOGG 60-day challenge for me.

Nutrition Component
My eating thus far has been on schedule and clean.  Since I've had 2 weeks to 'test drive' the eating plan, I have identified where I have some personal shortcomings.  For me, preparation is going to be key to being successful. When I don't have my meals planned in advance, I tend to crave what I'm not supposed to be eating.  So, I'm realizing that preparation will be very instrumental to my success.  These are all basic things that I know, but there is always that 'a-ha' moment when you really understand what aspects of your own personal behavior are creating your success obstacles.  Lastly, journaling is also a motivator and a way to keep me on track. My Diet Snaps application has been great!  I still use it almost every day.  There's just something about logging your food and knowing that someone else will see it (or even just you will see it) to help keep you accountable.  I forgot to track my exact water consumption today, but I polished off about 3/4 of a gallon today.  I'll strive for the full gallon tomorrow. I got over a gallon of water in today.  I didn't measure each cup exactly, but I know made it through over a Gallon at home.  Today was pretty good.  Additionally, I also cooked the best dinner that I've made in a long time! I baked chicken in parchment paper with lemon juice, lime juice, Mrs. Dash, Paprika, pepper, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. I also roasted some grape tomatoes in parchment paper. I let the entire dinner bake while I did my cardio.  I finished it off with some crushed walnuts and about 2 cups of broccoli and carrots. YUMMY!!  I made enough chicken for tomorrow's lunch as well.

Exercise Component
Before my clients arrived, I did a Skogg Flow workout, and it felt great!  It was a good time to do it since I did Ladders on Saturday and Flow actually builds on Ladders.  Since it was my first time doing the workout, I used my 12kg bell on Level 1.  I definitely can increase next time, in both weight and duration.  This workout also did not include rests in between ladder rungs. It was continuous, and I loved it!  The workout was just long enough to get my heart rate accelerated, a good sweat going and then it was over just like that! I'll look forward to the next 3 days of Skogg this week. I will commit to moving up to level 2 now. Lastly, I want to comment that usually I'm a 45-60 minute workout person, and I didn't really think that shorter workouts would 'do it' for me. However, I find these shorter workouts to be quite refreshing. In addition, starting off with shorter workouts is also helping to protect my hands. I'll make my workouts longer over time, but I like the way that I've started off and trained for the past 2 weeks.  I am also fully aware and mentally prepared for intensity increases as the time duration increases.

Lesson Learned
    Slow workouts +  reasonable weights + focusing on basic movements = hand preservation (priceless) :-)

Anyway, I think that my experience with Skogg thus far has shown me that workouts don't have to be super long or push you to failure to be effective. Again - something that I've always known but never really "lived it" for myself.

Warmup - 3:00 (Divebomber & Hand Touch)

Flow Drill in Ladder Circuit @ 12kg
Performed Exercises 1-6 on the Left then 6-1 on the Right for the desired number of reps.
Max Rungs: 3
Rep Order:
   1, 2, 3
   3, 2, 1
Exercises: Skogg 6 (foundation moves)


What's Next?
Later tonight, after I work with my clients, I do plan to get in some additional cardio.  It's really windy today, so riding my bike outside is out of the picture. I'll either do some treadmill or my elliptical. I'm focusing on finishing today strong and getting ready to do it again tomorrow! Oh, I also think that it's worth mentioning, that I am noticing some definition in my shoulders and arms.  I noticed when I put on my riding gear on Saturday that my arms appeared to be more firm and starting to get some shape.

ETA: I did 40 minutes of interval work on my ellliptical and finished up with 200 kettlebell swings. It was pretty tough cardio, and there were times when I wanted to give up. I am proud of myself for gutting it out and going through it.  My swings looked like this (all 2H):
20kg @ 40 reps
24kg @ 30 reps, 15 reps
20kg @ 20 reps
24kg @ 20 reps
20kg @ 20 reps
24kg @ 20 reps
20kg @ 20 reps
24kg @ 15 reps
200 swings in about 5 minutes

After my workout, I ate my dinner and took some supplements to help with inflammation (CLA, Sorenzyme, Omega 3's, & Green Tea Capsules).  I also continued to polish off some more water throughout the night.  I'll try to get to bed between 11:45PM and midnight.  I want to plan my menu for tomorrow before going to bed, reflect on today, and then get some rest.

In closing, let me add that on Monday nights, I am going to be all over WWE Tough Enough.  I thought it was great!!!

Cheers all.

So Excited - I have a friend who will join me for the challenge!

I am soooo excited!!  I approched my friend Hoff about joining me as my workout partner for the 60-day challenge, and she accepted!!  We will start working out together after tax season (she's an accountant), around April 16th or so.  We have very similar fitness backgrounds and are seasoned recreational kettlebell lifters.  Hoff started her diet (one very similar to mine) 2 weeks ago, so she is ahead of me there.  We are going to strive to get our 4 workout days in together and push each other through this challenge.  So, my overall challenge will probably be around 75-90 days total.  I am so excited and glad that Hoff agreed to partner up with me. I KNOW that we are going to get great results and really rock this thing out!  Can't wait to get started, girl!  I'll use the next 10-11 days as my incubator period, and then we will get super agressive once we partner up.

See you soon, Hoff!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wake-up Workout: Skogg Ladders L1 + Turbo Fire

This morning I decided to do a Skogg Ladders workout.  This was my first time doing the Ladders workout, and I loved it!  Whenever I do a Skogg workout for the first time, I always try each workout first with a 12kg bell and at Level 1.  Next time, I'll try using my 16kg and move up to Level 2.  The workout is designed with the following maximum ladder rungs per level:
Beginner Level 1: 3 Max Rungs
Intermediate Level 2: 4 Max Rungs
Advanced Level 3: 5 Max Rungs
Warrior Level 4: 6 Max Rungs 

I used my 12kg bell. It felt heavy today, probably because I worked out first thing in the morning.  I worked up the ladder and took short breaks in between each rung. When I worked down the ladder, I worked straight through, with no breaks in between the rungs. It was great!

Warmup - 3:00

Ladder Circuit @ 12kg
Performed Reps Left then Right
Max Rungs: 3
Rep Order:
   1, 2, 3 (I took short breaks in between each rung)
   3, 2, 1  (I didn't take any breaks in between rungs, and moved smoothly through top to bottom)
Exercises: Skogg 6 (foundation moves)

Took a 10minute break then moved to Turbo Fire. I was needing some Chalene today! :-) I did the first 15 minutes of Fire 45 EZ. I wanted to finish the workout, but my stomach was screaming for breakfast!
"I'm a bad girl..break me like the law.."

Here are the 2 video previews for both workouts today:

Chalene Johnson's Turbo Fire
Need I remind you how beautiful all of the women in this cast are?!?! They are simply breathtaking. I especially love the way they did the trailer. The woman in the first reel of the promo is simply amazing, and Chalene is of course one of the best! Go Ladies! I remember thinking that this series was going to be cheesy, but it isn't. It's hard work and ALOT of fun - great music, great instructor, great energy! I highly recommend it if you like intense cardio and kickboxing.