Category Archives: Fitness

Meeting Our Fitness Goals

There comes a point when you realize you’ve let yourself go. I think it was a few weeks ago that we both agreed we really needed to keep working harder on getting into better shape. We have nothing stopping us now, and we both agree that before we even think about kids, we need to be happy with our bodies.

We’ve been really good at taking hikes & walks during the week … J is running again, prepping for another 1/2 marathon this May. One of the coolest apps we’ve been using lately is Run Keeper. We can easily keep track of our walks/hikes/runs, and Run Keeper gives us reports to help keep track of our activities.

Since we’re getting a handle on the whole ‘moving’ thing, our next focus is our diet. Trying to eat all (or most) of our meals at home has been a challenge, but  doing a weekly meal plan is really helping. We aren’t focused as much on eating carrots & cucumbers only … Just more on eating at home. Preparing all of our food from whole ingredients, and trying to have some portion control.

Basically, we’re really trying. It’s hard. It’s hard to find the time to exercise. It’s hard to have discipline while making food choices. It’s hard to work hard and feel like you’re not making a difference. It’s hard knowing some people don’t have to try at all. But, with all of that said … it’s worth trying to make a difference in our lives. Plus, who doesn’t want to look better naked?! ;)

We’re Running Again

The other night, we were sitting on the couch and came to a pretty sad conclusion: We’re getting fat. Yep … That’s about it.

So, part of moving to Portland was that we were both going to focus on living healthier & cleaner. The running shoes were laced up yesterday morning and we went on runs … I say ‘runs’ because there’s no way we could run together. For one, my legs are short, and it almost always ends in an argument. Knowing we’re best when exercising independently, Jimmy ran up and down hills, and all over Northwest Portland … I ran around our block like 8 times.

Jimmy is quite the runner … and I am not quite there yet (I got horrible shin splints last year and had to stop). We’re hoping to run the Portland Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon this May, so it’s awesome that we’re getting a started on the whole not-being-fat thing!

Refreshing.

It’s no secret that we’re pretty picky about the quality of food we eat. Before we moved out of our house in Indiana, we were starting each morning with a super smoothie. It was awesome … They keep you full until lunch time, and they were packed with so many great nutrients & vitamins. Then, we moved in with my mom. Our whole life was turned upside down for about a month while we lived out of boxes and planned for our move out to Oregon. AND then, we moved to Oregon. We’ve spent the last several weeks getting settled, and we’ve neglected our blender, and our bodies for that matter.

Well, today, it changed. I made my first smoothie in a long time, and it was GOOD! It was so refreshing. So tomorrow, we’ll start our running routine again. I think we thought as soon as our house in Indy sold, we’d be in Oregon immediately, living life like we hadn’t skipped a beat. It’s definitely been a lesson in patience and taking things slowly to get back into our rhythm.

Making Our Own Protein Powder Mix

It’s been a little over a month since we started making protein smoothies each morning for breakfast. It’s amazing that a glass of fruit (and some other good stuff) is enough to keep us full all morning and into the afternoon. Since we started our smoothie adventure, we’ve been looking for ways to make them even healthier. My searches kept leading me back to this point: we needed to make our own protein powder mix. That’s where the oh-so-awesome Emily (Daily Garnish) came into play. When I Googled, “How to make your own protein powder mix” … Her blog popped up with an amazing post about this topic. Her mix is a little different than ours, so be sure to check out both!

After I knew what we’d need to put in our protein mix, I went to Nuts Online to buy most of the ingredients. If you’ve never shopped with them before, you have got to visit their site. Their customer service is amazing … they even sent us little samples of other things they thought we’d like. Everything was personalized, and it was just a great experience.

Okay, let’s get to it!! Our protein powder base is the Organic Hemp Protein Powder from Trader Joes. It’s vegan, organic and yummy. At just $10 for 16 oz. it’s a great buy. Other than that, we bought almost everything else from Nuts Online. Keep in mind, the protein mix we made didn’t use all of any ingredient (or even close), so we’ll only have to buy a few times a year … meaning it’s a HUGE savings in the long run!

So here’s what we put into the main mix:

  • 2 cups protein powder Next time around I might add a 1/2 cup more protein powder. I love this stuff so much!
  • 1 cup ground brown flax Full of fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids … It’s a great supplement in a vegetarian diet.
  • 1/3 cup maca powder A root from South America. Great for a little energy boost, full of calcium, iron, and amino acids & even has been known to boost libido … bow chicka bow wow!
  • 2 tbsp & 2 tsp chlorella powder A green algae that’s packed with 10 times as much chlorophyll as alfalfa and wheatgrass. Tons of protein. It’s full of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B12, C, and E. It smells like … algae, or something really green.
  • 4 tsp spirulina Another algae. It’s a complete protein, and it’s more easily absorbed than protein in meat or soy. That’s not it. This algae has been known to help seasonal allergies, work as an anti-inflammatory, and lower cholesterol & blood pressure. It also packs vitamins A thru E, potassium and calcium. This one smells like fish food. It was a little rough at first, but you cannot taste it when it’s mixed into your smoothie!!!
  • 4 tsp cinnamon Jimmy likes to add cinnamon to his smoothies, so I thought I’d add it to the entire mix. It tastes amazing, and cinnamon has great effects on your metabolism.

I just put everything in our food processor and combined.  After it was mixed, I put it in a container and will store in the refrigerator (which is also where I keep my ingredients to store them). 

So … to make our smoothies, we add:

  • 1/4 cup of protein powder mix
  • banana (or avocado)
  • a handful frozen fruit
  • 1 squirt of agave nectar (this adds sweetness)
  • a small bunch of fresh spinach
  • a little soy milk
  • water to cover fruit
  • Jimmy puts a scoop of BP2 (powdered peanut butter) in his instead of the fruit … Though, I’m trying to convince him to use mango, too!

Here’s my smoothie from this morning. I’ll be completely honest: It tastes different than it used to. Adding the maca and algae gives it a more earthy taste, but not in a bad way at all. It’s 2:30, and I still haven’t eaten lunch … this little smoothie is keeping me full, alert and I have a ton of energy.


If you’re active … an athlete … or often skip breakfast, you should start making these smoothies. The health benefits are amazing, and I feel so great all day. Let me know what you think!!

Organic Produce : When is it Worth It?

I just got back from an awesome trip to the grocery store. Yeah, most people probably don’t find it exhilarating … but hey, I got a week’s worth of food for $58.00. That my friends is something to be excited about!

I wanted to take a minute to explain our philosophy on eating organic. Since we’re a vegetarian household, produce plays a huge part in our daily menus. This is how I decide what will be organic and what won’t be:

Are we eating the outside of the plant?

Things like: onions, avacados, citrus, bananas, etc are all peeled before consuming. If the grower is using pesticides and other gross things around the food, a great deal of it will come off when preparing the food.

Things like: lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc are not generally peeled … so we choose to purchase the organic versions of these fruits & veggies.

This isn’t some concrete plan that everyone needs to stick too. In fact, if everything was available in an organic counterpart, we’d probably go that route. Sometimes, it’s even cheaper to buy organic (in that case, we will go with it). Here’s a great guide I found awhile ago that discusses the most and least contaminated foods.

So … from this trip, I bought everything in the photo above, as well as a dozen organic, vegetarian fed, free range eggs (I didn’t want them getting too warm) for $58.00. Our menu for the week is as follows:

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie
  • Lunch: Tomato sandwich
  • Dinner: Soyrizo BBQ tacos

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie
  • Lunch: Green salad with eggs, tomato & almonds
  • Dinner: Asian lettuce wraps

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie
  • Lunch: Tomato, cucumber, white bean spread sandwich
  • Dinner: Potato taquitos

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie
  • Lunch: Egg salad sandwich with fresh tomato & lettuce
  • Dinner: Black bean tartines with cilantro lime rice

I bought some extra produce for snacking (carrots, cucumber, etc for hummus), and we’re trying greek yogurt this week instead of sour cream.

I’m hoping to photograph each of these dinners & share the recipes here, as I have a feeling this week is going to be delicious.

One more thing that’ll make this week taste a little better (I think I’m going to get extra brownie points from the hubs for this one):

My Body is Amazing Me

One day last year, J and I were talking about the potential of the human body. If I really worked out and really started eating well, what could my body become? I’ve just settled for this 150-ish pound body I’ve had since college. But, what if I really tried to get in shape … would everything change? Would I look different?

The short answer is … YES! Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve been running, biking, eating WAY better, and living healthier. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol for 2 weeks (avoiding calories & the added expense), and breakfast has consisted of healthy, protein smoothies.

At first, I gained some weight (boooo), but now it’s coming off. 3-4 pounds a week. It’s amazing what your body will do if you let it! I was laying on the bed last night and felt a muscle on the outside of my hip I’ve never felt before … J explained it was my hip flexor muscles. Biking & running has definitely strengthened them … and it’s noticeable. The other day I was in an elevator with mirrors on all 4 walls (nightmare!), and I noticed my thighs aren’t touching anymore. I know it seems so small, but it’s these small changes that give me the motivation to keep this up day after day. Back fat is minimized (not gone), and my love handles are shrinking. <- How did I let myself get this way in the first place?!?!

As J is gearing up for his mini-marathon in Chicago (this weekend), I am still bummed I can’t run it with him … but I am soooo proud of both of us for the hard work we’ve been putting in towards our health!

Fitness Goal : Bike for 45 Minutes

I have this little note book in my office. It’s sectioned off by color (blue, red, grey & green). Blue is for my to-do lists, red is a place where I keep notes from my client meetings, grey is where I put my project ideas. The green section is my little health section … it’s the place I jot down recipes, grocery lists and most importantly, my fitness goals. I have layers upon layers of post-it notes. For each post-it I take off the page, there is another one under it with a harder goal. This morning I got to take one of the post-its off of the page.

The hubs and I woke up early, drank our breakfast smoothies, and then I set out to accomplish this goal. Our neighborhood rests upon hills … and hills … and hills. There were a few times that I was going so slowly, I’m surprised I didn’t fall over! But, in the end, I did it. I feel great. I’d love to ride at least 3 more times this week. Instead of the neighborhood (which I still get turned-around in) I think I’ll try the Monon. It’s a straight-shot, which should make it easier for me to determine distance/time.

 

Goal for the week: Be at 155 lbs. I think that means I’d need to lose 3-4 pounds. I lost 4 last week. So I think 3 lbs is totally doable!

 

Here’s to another successful week! It’s amazing what your body can do if you let it!

 

The Perfect Protein Smoothie

After taking about 2 weeks off from running, I’m back! I went to the Monon this morning for about a half hour. Today, I started theCouch to 5K running plan. Since I was taken off my 1/2 marathon training plan due to shin splints, I decided I need a new strategy. At this point, I’m not running for time or distance … I’m just running to get past this injury.

With all that said, I’m also really focusing on my diet. We decided breakfast would best be served as a smoothie … a healthy smoothie. There are SO many terrible ways to make a smoothie (with juices, ice cream, etc.). This smoothie is HEALTHY and it actually tastes amazing. Thanks to the folks over at No Meat Athlete for giving me a jumping off point for the recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 soft fruit (I go back and forth between using bananas and avocados)
  • 1 handful of frozen fruit (I typically use strawberries, blueberries & mango)
  • Small squirt of agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 2 tsp rolled oats
  • 2 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 handful of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • Top off with enough water to cover about 3/4 of ingredients

Don’t let the oatmeal, flax seeds & spinach scare you!! The sweetness from the fruit & agave nectar will make this smoothie taste good. In fact, the more you drink, try putting less sweet stuff in there (less nectar, subbing an avocado for the banana). On my non-running days, I’ll probably stick with an egg and a peanut butter spoon for breakfast.

The next goal is creating my own hemp protein powder mix. The pre-made stuff is expensive and full of things I don’t necessarily need (and missing a few things I do need).

Training

I was so proud watching J cross the finish line last year. He had just completed 13.1 miles in the Chicago Rock n’ Roll marathon. It was overwhelming to see his hard work pay off. It was one of my proudest moments as his wife … at the same time, it was a sad moment as his partner. I made a promise that I would run this race with him. After training all of 1 week, I decided it would be impossible, so I let him train & run on his own.

This year is different. I’ve been training for about 2 months now. Slow, but steady. I’ve recently started to develop shin splints, but I’m doing lower-impact exercise (biking) a few times a week to replace the running. It’s important that I build stamina & endurance, as that’s my weak spot.

The thought of running is race excites me. I was reading race tips from our local running store this morning and almost felt like crying. I can see myself running through the streets of Chicago … It’s true that running is addicting. I never thought I’d call myself a runner, but it’s happened. While it was once hard to run for even a minute, I can now run for 10 minutes straight. Now, I know this marathon will be 2 or 3 hours, but that’s okay … I know I don’t have to run the entire time. Just the thought of crossing that finish line gives me the same feelings I had when getting married … or the feelings I get when I think about having our first child. It’s just a super-proud (and empowering) experience, I imagine.

My goal for the week is to make it through my normal loop without stopping … That’s about 1.5 miles. I think I can do it. To reward myself, I’ll be buying new running shoes.

The shin splint situation is just an obstacle that’s been put in my way. It’s a lesson of determination and I fully intend on taking care of myself & overcoming it.

Even though I made J this promise … It’s no longer about him. This is about me. I am so incredibly proud of myself for making it this far. I never thought I would be at this point, and I’m taking it all in. Originally posted 7/11/11.

WTF is Wrong with the Scale?

Really, I think there’s just something wrong with me. I’ve been working out for 6 effing weeks. The last 3 times I’ve stepped on the scale, I’ve seen a slight decrease … This morning, I hopped on, feeling all confident and that big number popped back up. I’m considering ditching the scale all together as it makes me feel like a lunatic! That is all. Rant over. Originally posted 7/14/2011.