Friday, January 30, 2015

Fitness Assessments


As a teacher, this is a word that I say several times a day.

As a runner and fitness enthusiast, not so much.

I recently read a great post by Michelle at A Pace of Balance about assessing yourself and I realized that I actually do this.

#tightercore challenge - The first time I did this 10 minute workout from Pop Sugar, I could barely do a bird dog without falling over, let alone a bird dog with a twist. After completing the same workout for  5 days, I can feel and see improvement (I'm still wobbly, but no more falling out of form).

Interval running - Every time I log a run, I compare numbers. I don't think about the numbers when I run; I think about how I feel. Using the data from my GPS watch lets me see the baby steps I am making in my fitness progress. Even when I can't notice it when I'm running.

Speaking of running…I've been doing all of my runs outside. Some people look at me like I'm crazy, but I love running in the winter. As long as it is above 10 degrees, it is ok. And of course I dress appropriately.

Fitful Focus

Here's what I've been wearing. Lots of layering, but always my Nike Therma Fit on top and Athleta tights on the bottom. The Nike top feels like fleece on the inside and has the must-have thumb holes. I'm loving everything about the Mile Compression Tights: great fit, sleek design, and lots of reflective features.

When the temps dip into the 20s or below, I add my Lululemon neck warmer, Mizuno gloves, and if it is windy my Athleta hat.

Do you use fitness assessments?
What's your favorite winter gear?

Linking up with #FitnFashionable Nicole and also Fitness Friday Jill 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Living with #NoExcuses

If you live in the Northeast like me, then you are probably reading this in your snow boots. Goodbye Juno!

Living in New England sometimes means that snow days look like this:

Living with #NoExcuses means that little things like a snow storm, knee surgery, work or whatever excuse I might be tempted to use won't prevent me from getting in a workout. It means that being active and staying fit is a priority. I have at least 10 minutes every day to make fitness happen.

Join the challenge!

Since almost every major storm is accompanied by a power outage, mrC and I decided to be proactive and checked into a hotel before the snow accumulated locking us in our house. We were lucky enough to get into the same hotel that I used over Thanksgiving, which has a pretty good fitness center and pool.

I was determined to not spend the entire snow day just sitting around.

Here are my #NoExcuses snow day workouts:

#tightercore day 4

PT mashup
wall sit - reverse slider lunges (I even got mrC in on the fun)
- single leg dead lifts - single leg dips

10 laps in the pool and 15 minutes in the hot tub
(on a side note: the hot tub worked wonders on my tight hip)
Note to self: get hot tub asap!

a couple of dog walks

Hotels often have breakfast buffets, but you never know if it will be gluten-free friendly. Knowing that we would have access to a mini-fridge and microwave, we brought some food staples with us.

Here are my snow day paper plate eats:

PB&J apple cinnamon rice cakes

turkey and cheese roll ups

gluten-free pizza

I live #NoExcuses so I can be the best me for myself and my family.

Why do you live with #NoExcuses?

This post is part of the #WIAW link up hosted by Jen

This post is part of the Workout Wednesday link up hosted by 
Diatta, Sheila, Amanda and Heather

Monday, January 26, 2015

Knee Rehab Week 6 - 2:3 Intervals

The Return to Running program continued with three 20 minute walk/runs and more PT sessions. I'm really not minding the interval running since my actual run time continues to increase. Using the same 2:3 interval time for each run also made it fun to compare my distance.

My knee is feeling better and better, although that pesky tight TFL is still looking for attention. I found a video that shows a way to stretch it out, but I honestly feel the most when I just cross my right foot in front of my left.  I'd love comments from any of you who might have dealt with tight TFL and what worked for you.

Tuesday: 1.68 miles
The plan - walk 2 minutes, run 3 minutes, repeat 4x

It felt so good to change after school to actually run with Run Club instead of walk like I've been doing since November! There is a nice little neighborhood loop across the street from the high school that is the perfect place for my intervals and is mostly cleared of ice and snow.

Thursday: 1.70 miles
The plan - walk 2 minutes, run 3 minutes, repeat 4x

My TFL was feeling a little tight after Tuesday's run, so I have been trying to stretch really well after my runs. Ironically, my knee doesn't bother me at all.

Sunday: 1.45 miles
The plan - walk 2 minutes, run 3 minutes, repeat 4x

A small nor' easter arrived on Saturday, so I waited to do my final 2:3 interval run. We were meeting oldestC downtown and decided to do our run there. The sidewalks weren't as clear as we expected, so we had to really watch our footing. Even though we had to take things slower, I feel good about this being my last 2:3 interval run.

Weekly Workouts:

Monday: PT exercises and one mile walk

Tuesday: Run and PT session - new exercises include front lunges and weighted single leg dead lifts 

Wednesday: One mile walk

Thursday: Run and PT session

Friday: One mile walk and PT exercises

Saturday: One mile walk, taking on a #tightercore challenge (see video here), and PT exercises

Sunday: #tightercore day 2, run

My favorite parts of week 2 of the Sweat Pink #NoExcuses challenge were calling out a couple of badasses and being pushed to try things that might be a little scary right now…

Now it's  time to prepare for Winter Storm Juno. We're in the 18-24 inches area. (yay)

How was your week?
Are you in the path of the storm?

Friday, January 23, 2015

What I Use To Work Out At Home

The most expensive piece of fitness equipment I own is a treadmill and my husband has an adjustable weights set. I really have no desire to make our basement a home-gym filled with equipment, so I try to use what I already have at home or buy gear that is multi-purpose. 

Today I'm sharing 5 pieces of fitness equipment for great at home workouts.

Paper Plates - Instead of buying gliders (aka sliders), I use paper plates on the carpet for a variety of exercises. Right now I use them to do reverse lunges.

Step Stool - Another item that I already have around the house, this replaces the typical fitness step up you might find in aerobics class. I've been using it to do weighted step ups as part of my rehab, but in the past it served as the elevated surface for squats and lunges.

Adjustable Weights - Like I said, I lucked out because mrC already had these, but I did look into getting my own and found these at Target. There are so many ways to use these. I also own a 2 pound pair for doing high rep arm workouts like you get at a barre class.

weighted reverse lunges with paper plate sliders

Balance Board - I actually bought this for littleC when she kept spraining her ankles during soccer. It's a great ankle strengthener. Now I use it as part of my knee rehab. It's not as good as a Bosu Ball, but it's a good option.

adjustable height to increase the difficulty

single leg balance exercise

Stability Ball - After using this in SurfnTurf classes and at PT, I decided it would be a good investment because you can do so many things with it. I focus on hamstring curls right now, but you can also use it to increase the difficulty of core work and bridges.

hamstring curls

Dressing for my at-home workouts requires layering as our basement (although finished) is not heated. It's actually perfect for working out. I just shed the layers as I go.

Top layer: Oiselle Spring Funnel Neck and Nike Athletic Pants

Oiselle Distance Shorts

Oiselle Scantron Tank


Linking up with #FitnFashionable Nicole

Fitful Focus

and also Fitness Friday Jill and CynthiaCourtney, and Mar for Friday Five

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pop Sugar Must Have + Target Fit, Fresh, Fun in 2015

My Pop Sugar Must Have Target Fit, Fresh, Fun in 2015 box was delivered last week and I can't wait to show you what was inside.

The Box: Pop Sugar Must Have + Target Fit, Fresh, Fun in 2015
Cost: $65

Brita Sport Bottle 20 oz (value $9) - This is a great bottle for taking to school. We already use the Brita water pitcher but this lets me take the Brita filter on the go. Now I don't have to walk all over the building just to get filtered water.

Laneige Advanced Hydration Trial Kit (value $10) - The trial kit includes: Multi Cleanser (1 oz), Water Bank Serum (.3 oz), Water Bank Moisture Cream (.3 oz), and Water Sleeping Mask (.6 oz). I’ve already tried the cleanser and love how easily it removes my eye makeup. Mascara is usually uncooperative, but this stuff works really well.

Burt's Bees White Tea 10 Count Wipes (value $3) - The last thing I want to do is drive home with a sweaty face after a workout. These are the perfect fix for when you're on the go.

C9 by Champion Non-Slip Headband (value $7) - I'm really picky about my headbands, so I will find the right owner for this one.

Simply Balanced Organic Dark Chocolate Trail Mix (value $7) - A yummy gluten-free blend of nuts, dried fruits, and chocolates that are great tossed into a smoothie. 

Gaiam Icy Marrakesh Yoga Mat 3MM (value $22) - You can never have too many yoga mats, but this one is definitely a standout with the beautiful design. It is also 6P free - free of toxic materials.

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband (value $100) - Booya! I was excited to see a Fitbit in the box. I love the idea of finding out more about my movements throughout the day and sleep habits through one slim device. I'm finding out that I don't walk at school as much as it feels like I do. I'm just on my feet a lot, I guess!

Target Gift Card (value $20) - Branded by Champion, the card works on anything purchased at Target. I love anything that will help me offset my fitness shopping.

I don't subscribe to the monthly Pop Sugar service, but I got a tip that there were some goodies included in this special limited edition box and couldn't pass up the value.

What do you think of the Pop Sugar Must Have + Target box?
Do you subscribe to any monthly box services? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day in the Life: January Edition

It's time for another round of A Day in the Life posts and I love reading them. I'm a people watcher. My grandmother used to make fun of the way I always chose the seat facing the room, never wanting to miss a thing.

I like reality TV, too: house hunting, being a "real" housewife, searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right, or racing around the world. Glimpses into the worlds of others is fun and sometimes I discover something new.

Today you get to follow me through a typical Tuesday in January.

5:30 am - Wake up to the cold nose of the dog trying to tell me he's hungry. After a quick shower, I follow the dog downstairs to feed us both breakfast, enjoy some coffee, catch up on social media, and watch the morning news. I am especially interested in the weather since today is Run Club Day.

Peanut butter and jelly apple cinnamon rice cakes

6:30 am - Pack up my lunch and make a protein smoothie to-go.  Head back upstairs to pack my gym bag for Run Club and PT this afternoon.

I've been adding a handful of this yummy gluten free trail mix to my smoothies and the hint of chocolate is so good!

7:00 am - Load up the car and leave for work. Nothing special about the drive except that I have a goal to drink a bottle of water before I get to school ✔

7:20 am - Arrive at school. Stop to check my mailbox on the way to my classroom. Take a few minutes to update the class agenda on the white board, read and reply to emails.

7:56 am - Today this is my planning time, so I spend the first 45 minutes meeting with other 10th grade teachers while getting lesson materials ready for the day.

8:45 am - Head down the hall to a 10th grade team meeting.

9:36 am - Teach my first class of the day. Spend most of the class writing notes on the board while the class discusses Lord of the Flies (remember that book?) and then monitor the class while they work on their assignment.

11:01 am - Repeat the same lesson plan to a new class.

12:06 pm - Break for lunch. Walk across the hall to get my lunch and return to my class to eat. I have several students who prefer to bring their lunches to the room to work and talk than sit in the cafe. I check my Fitbit stats and see that I've only walked 3000 steps so far. It feels like much more!

Turkey and cheese roll ups, strawberries, and Chex rice cereal

12:36 pm - Resume teaching class.

1:06 pm - Teach my last class of the day. I'm up and down a lot today with this class. They are independently researching, but I walk around to check in with them periodically. Occasionally I get called to answer a question while they work on the laptops.

2:41 pm - School dismisses. Hurry to the rest room to change into my running clothes.

3:00 pm - Run Club meets in front parking lot. The students head out and I complete my 20 minute post-op run using 2:3 walk/run intervals. Add another 1.68 miles to my Mizunos.

4:00 pm - Arrive at PT.

Today's Strength Workout:

5:45 pm - Arrive home. mrC is on dinner duty and has prepared one of my favorite meals: tacos!

7:00 pm - Blogging time.

8:00 pm - Watch a little NCIS with mrC and then put myself to bed.

Like seeing into the lives of others or want to join the fun? Katie is hosting!

This post is part of the #WIAW link up hosted by Jen

This post is part of the Workout Wednesday link up hosted by 
Diatta, Sheila, Amanda and Heather

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#NoExcuses Badasses

One of my favorite parts of the Sweat Pink #NoExcuses Challenge is the inspiration you get from fellow sweaties. Just take a stroll on Instagram or Twitter and you will find hundreds of motivating posts and encouraging stories from fitness lovers of all levels showing how they live #NoExcuses every day.

That's why I am loving this week's blogging challenge:
Nominate two people who LIVE #NoExcuses every day. There are no hard-written rules; they just have to be people who kick butt, in your opinion, and embody #NoExcuses.

Instantly I thought of my two nominees and I know you will agree that they are totally BADASS!

Nancy from Living the Dream

Nothing gets in the way of Nancy's workout. This is one badass mama who can whip up a spectacular DIY themed birthday party for her girls, take care of her husband who recently had ACL surgery and still get in her workouts. She runs, swims, yogas, strength trains…you name it, she does it. Fancy Nancy is a Boston Marathon finisher, collegiate soccer and softball player, and a Feetures! celebrity!

Nicolasa from Shoelaces and Bibs

Nicolasa takes her badass to another level through her commitment to others. She runs with Team in Training to raise money for Leukemia, coaches runners to their first 5Ks, and dedicates her miles to Shaylene, her Run 4 Buddy who she plans to meet this year. While doing all this, Nicolasa is also mommy to an adorable little boy, teaches elementary school, and gets herself to booty barre class before the sun comes up! If that doesn't make her badass, how about running her first marathon?

Who would you nominate for the #NoExcuses Badass award?