Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Girls on the Run, Girls Gone Sporty, and Guaca-hummus, oh my!

Holy heck, it's almost the end of January!!!  What the hell have I been doing all month long?!  Seriously though, I've found the beginning of 2015 to be pretty productive so far, and I'm just now getting started.  I have BIG plans for this year.  I hope you do too!

I just wanted to put this in here gratuitously because my daughter made it and it makes me happy. 

First thing, I just volunteered to be head coach for our local Girls on the Run chapter, and I can't wait to get started!  GOTR is a really fantastic program for your elementary and middle school girls to help build inner and outer strength.  It generally runs in most schools in the spring (some schools do fall as well) for 10-12 weeks, culminating in a GOTR public 5k that the girls will complete as a team.  So basically, I will be working with them to not only teach them how to push through a 5k physically, but also to gain self-confidence, build teamworking skills, and learn that they can reach any goal they set out to achieve.  I'm so stoked!  Plus to make it even better, my daughter gets to do the program with us and I can be with her as she achieves her goals.  Happy mommy moments!

If you would like to learn more about GOTR or if it's offered in your local area (and how to start a chapter if it isn't), or if you want to volunteer as a coach or as a runner for the 5k, click on the image below and search for your region:

Another fun new journey for me this year is being accepted as a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador!  GGS is a wonderful website dedicated to helping women of all ages, shapes, and lifestyles to become fitter and healthier.  The page creator Laura hosts weekly YouTube live workouts, as well as sends out FREE newsletters with healthy eating tips, recipes, exercises, and even special offers and fitness gear reviews/giveaways.  Plus, she has a whole army of awesome ambassadors that you can search through to find fantastic blogs with everything from vegan diets to bodybuilding journeys and all places in-between.  I'm honored to be part of this wonderfully strong group of women!

So, now I will move on to my recipe.  I'm a big-time hummus addict, I use it on tons of stuff.  It works beautifully in place of cheese on a sandwich or wrap, it is an excellent veggie/pita dip, and I even like it a black bean veggie bowl in place of (or on top of) rice.  Well, I also love avocados, and we happened to have a few extra that were wasting away since we forgot to make guacamole with our dinner the other night.  Throw them together with some choice ingredients, and bam--a wonderfully easy and healthy guaca-hummus that doesn't get that nasty brown look after a few days!

After two days--looks just like hummus without the brown guac grossness, mmmmm!
Guaca-hummus Recipe:

1 15oz can chickpeas (save the juice for later!)
1 avocado, nice and soft
1 roasted red pepper
Half handful of chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste


Add all ingredients into your food processor or heavy-duty blender, and add your chickpea juice to desired consistency.  Then, eat it all!

See, easy peasy.  That's my type of recipe!

Now, let's all go forth and have a fabulous rest of our week.  My week will be full of classes, including my Cupid's Burn Bootcamp that I've previously mentioned.  For those in the snow tundras, please be safe out there!!  Find some fun home workouts on YouTube (see the Girls Gone Sporty page above for a few!), hunker down, and enjoy the downtime.  For the rest of us, let me know how you plan to get out there and sweat for the rest of this week!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Holy Excitement, Batman!

Wow, I have some pretty awesome things happening right now that I just HAVE to brag about for a moment!  So please, bear with me.  I don't feel braggish often and need to get it out of my system. :P

Anyway, the first thing is that I'm super pumped about having moved my personal fitness studio from my murky garage to our awesome bonus room!  It was previously a huge playroom, but the kids didn't utilize it much since it was all the way in the back of the house.  I decided that I was tired of dealing with the nasty cold and all the sawdust from my husband's workspace in the garage, so I relocated the kid stuff to a smaller room and got my room set up right away!  I'm slowly building up my equipment inventory, but I still have plenty to give a butt-kicker of a workout for sure.  I tested it out for myself last night, and I trained a few people there yesterday morning.  Plus the kids love the mats for their TaeKwonDo form and kicking practice.  My daughter even led us in a "family workout" last night, and I'll admit that I was impressed by her moves.  So far the room is a hit!!

Chalkboard wall to the left, and soon I'll add in a wall-mounted pull-up bar with TRX!

She moves too fast for my crappy iPhone camera. :P
My second exciting brag news is that I will be hosting a fun bootcamp workout at a popular local bar in Uptown Charlotte, as a fundraising effort for Cupid's Undie Run.  The workout will be donation-based, and I hope to have a really awesome turnout.  And to add to that, I'll be going on a little news segment along with the race director on the local Fox station this Wednesday!!!  Eeek!  I've never been on live TV before, and I'm more than just a little nervous!  I get to get up suuuuuper early and make myself presentable enough to haul my tired ass Uptown and talk about the run, my bootcamp workout, and fitness in general.  And because I'm me, I'll more than likely be doing burpees on television. :P  

If you're interested in donating to the Undie Run and helping to fund research for Neurofibromatosis, please feel free to visit my fundraising page and/or join us at the bootcamp!  Click the image below for details!

So there you go, that's all my excitement for now!  I'll hope to have a recording or at least a link up of the interview after the fact.  Unless I suck.  Then you're never gonna see it EVER.  

Have a great day, and keep on sweatin'!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Holy cow, it's been a LONG time since I've blogged!!!  Like, over a freaking year!  Well, let me recap please:

I got injured before the NY Marathon, but I ran it anyway.  It hurt.  A lot.  I'm better now.

I lost my little sister almost a year ago.  That basically took away all drive to blog or do a lot of other things.  I'm (kind of) better now.

I started working more, and then more, and then a little more.  I'm teaching three times more than I was at first, and I LOVE it.  It's my release from sadness, stress, frustration, and general day-to-day blahs.  It makes my heart very happy.  And I'm really good at it, if I say so myself.

My family is doing great, the kids are growing and becoming more awesome and yet more insane by the day.  With age comes attitude, but I still know that they are some of the coolest kids around.  My daughter is advancing quickly in TaeKwonDo and is due to get her black belt this coming August!  We're blown away by that, and also super grateful that she'll be prepping for it during summer break when she doesn't have homework.  The boy is also doing well, and is enjoying his preschool immensely.  He's becoming a gamer a little more than we'd like to see, but we make him go out for exercise as much as possible.  The second he gets outside he's happy as a lark, so I know we're doing alright.  He's also in TaeKwonDo, and his favorite part is the loud yelling.  Of course.

Christmas kiddos
My husband is also doing well,,working hard, and training with me for a faster half marathon.  He'll also hopefully be a new contributor on the blog!  He is becoming a better cook as we speak, and I'm trying to convince him to audition for Master Chef.  He'll be adding some wonderful healthy recipes to the page as I request (aka beg and plead) of him.  Please, if you know him, pester the living crap out of him to help me with this.  Seriously, your mouths will thank you later!!

So that's it.  It's been a busy year, a painful year, and it's now a new and MUCH more awesome year.  I personally plan to grab life by the balls and kick as much ass as humanly possible this year.  I hope to start offering some fun new workouts, monthly challenges, healthy recipes, daily tips, and general healthy family fun-ness.  Game on!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

NYC Marathon Update, Week 5

So, as always, a lot has been happening!  My husband had to travel for work last week, and it just so happened to be within an hour of my sweet cousin's wedding.  Score!  We spent the last half of the week visiting family and staying insanely busy.  BUT I managed to fit in all of my training runs and do pretty well.  My long run in particular was fantastic!!  I set out with my incredibly supportive husband at 5am on Sunday in his hometown, and we went to the Riverwalk area to get in our miles.  He's training for his first half, and he's way ahead of schedule already.  He got in the first eight miles with me, and we did a great job of gradually increasing our pace throughout.  When he finished his portion, I was afraid that my motivation would lull a bit.  Fortunately, I'm very good at make-believe and I just pretended he was still there.  I didn't actually speak out loud (I'm not THAT crazy!), but I did constantly tell myself in my head that he would be saying not to give up.  It was working wonders, and as I was getting tired at mile 13.5 of 16, he showed up on a rental bike to finish the run with me!  How sweet is that?!  He pushed me through the last little bit, and I managed to hit my goal pace and finish strong.  Tired as shit, but strong.  He had even run my previous tempo run with me a few days earlier and had hit up the local YMCA (if you have a membership at one, most others will give you a few free visits/month while traveling!)  for an upper body weight session the day before.  You know you're jealous.

At my cousin's wedding.  Man, we're a good-looking family!

On another note, we're getting ready for the oldest to start back to school, eeek!!!  She'll be in the first grade, and we have our Meet the Teacher night tonight.  I'm more than nervous to meet her, and I'm hoping she's as fantastic as the teacher we had last year.  If so, we're all good.  My daughter will also be testing very soon for her blue belt in TaeKwonDo, which is super badass in my opinion.  The kid is so pretty, we need her to be tough so she can help me fight the boys that come around!  I'm also seeing about getting her into her school's Girls on the Run program a year early since I MAY be coaching it this year.  It appears they're in major need of more help, and I was planning on doing it once she was old enough anyway.  Let's hope they make an exception for the coach's kid, I think it'll be a blast!  If you have an elementary-aged daughter, you may want to see if you have the program at your school.  It trains the girls on not only running but also self-esteem and healthy living, culminating in a fun little 5k at the end of the year.  I adore the program, and it's spreading like wildfire.  Look into it, you'll be glad you did!

As for my youngest, we're getting him started in soccer soon.  Because we're apparently not busy enough.  But the poor little guy just sits and watches sister's activities so much that it's time he has his own now that he's old enough.  He's over the moon that he'll be on a soccer team, and I think he'll kick some major butt at it.  He's already better at dribbling than big sister!  I also plan on getting in some good mini hikes in with him and the pup during the lovely fall school days.  If I didn't keep him active, he would be content to play video games all day long.  He's already in nerd-boy training, but at least he'll be a healthy nerd like the rest of the family!

I've been working a bit and studying when time allows.  I think I'll be able to test for my Group Fitness Instructor certification by early October, and then once my marathon is over I can really dive into teaching.  I'm trying to get a small bootcamp class together at my studio presently (PT's can teach classes of 6 or fewer) and it'll give me some great practice for the future.  I'm stoked!  Now I just need to make my schedule allow for me to remember everything I have going on and allow for house-cleaning time!

How is your school prep and/or race training going?  I'd love to hear what this Fall has in store for you!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Marathoning Update, Week 4

I have been pretty bad about updating everyone on my training progress....fortunately, I've been MUCH better about training!  So far it is going quite well.  I did, however, miss my long run this past weekend.  Between Air Force drill and traveling, it was just too much to get a 17 miler in!  I did have a short run with some friends at drill though, and that's always nice.  And yesterday I made up for the loss of the run by doing absolute lower body destruction after my interval training run.  Lunges and squats and dead lifts, oh my!  My booty is killing me, and I love it.  The only runs I've struggled with so far would be my mid-length tempo runs.  They're still a little under my goal times each week, but I'm trying not to get too distressed about it.  I've been mostly blaming it on the heat in hopes that cooler weather will fix everything.  It will...right.....right?

In awesome news, I'm now officially studying to become a Group Exercise instructor!  I've been all talk for a while but I'm ready to dig in now.  I'll be doing most of my studying at the gym after workouts and while the boy is still in childcare.  No better motivation to study fitness than a good workout ahead of time!

I'm also seeing some fantastic improvements on my strength, just like I was hoping.  I've added in a lot of strength training, mostly for upper body since my legs are taking a beating anyway.  I do two days each of shoulders/back and arms/chest.  Sometimes the week gets hectic and I spend an extra long time pushing them all into one workout.  But I'm trying to make sure that no matter what the order, I always do at least twice/week for each muscle group.  I've also greatly increased my protein intake (and my everything else intake, due to added miles, hehe) and can really see some new muscle definition.  I'm so stoked!!  After my big race is over, I think I'll work even harder on focusing on the strength aspect.  But I'll never give up my cardio. 

Speaking of food--in an attempt to have a cheaper and super easy way to pack in more protein right after my workouts, I set out on an adventure to make no-bake protein bars.  I see them being boasted about everywhere, and I wanted to just make something out of what I already have.  I just ate my first one, and they are SO delicious!!!  I don't have a recipe because I'm more of a "just throw shit in there" sorta girl, but here are all of the ingredients I used for you to decipher as you will:

almond butter
protein powder (I use Raw Protein in vanilla by Garden of Life)
flax seed
maca powder
shredded coconut, pecans, and goji berries I put into the food processor
a dab of unsweetened cocoa powder
a few drops of vanilla extract
water as needed

I simply mixed everything together until the consistency looked like something that would harden well.  I got a brownie pan (8x8) and covered the bottom with parchment paper.  I dropped it all in there, smoothed it out, and put it in the fridge.  A few hours later I cut off a chunk and it was delicious!!!  I'm still working on how to get it less soft (I'm worried it'll loosen too much when I travel with it), but I'm guessing it won't ever happen since it's a no-bake recipe.  That's okay though, I think that if I wrap a chunk in parchment paper and put it in a container or baggie, it should be totally fine as long as it's stored indoors.  But it's honestly so much cheaper and tastier than any of the crap from the stores.  Other ingredients that could go great in there include oatmeal, PB2 powder, any sort of nut, and raisins.  Mmm!

And on one last note--if you live in the Charlotte area and want to do a 5k for FREE, check out a giveaway put on by one of the lovely coordinators of the Friends of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Rock & Read 5k.  She's giving away TWO free race entries, and her blog is just too cute.  Check out Arden's giveaway on Lipstick Makes Everything Better, and then check back here in the next week or so for another set of entries!  And if you don't get one of the free entries, register anyway.  The race is for a great cause, it'll be a blast, there are tons of activities for the entire family, and if anything the coordinators are awesome. ;)

Have a great day, and go do something active!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Marathon training begins!

Training begins this week!  I have taken a 16-week training schedule and added four weeks on to the front.  Basically because I know that A) I'll get thrown off at least twice in the process because of illness/travel/etc and B) I'm not a fan of track work and I need the four weeks of prep time to get in gear for it.  Plus, I'm leaving for Active Duty with my Air Force National Guard Band on Wednesday, and the next two weeks may just be ridiculous.  Here's what I have on schedule for this week:

Monday--Cardio Strength class
Tuesday--Track workout   4x400's w/200 rest intervals.  1mi warmup and cooldown.  Then upper body destruction!
Wednesday--5mi, 3 at 8:40 pace.  This was supposed to be Thursday, but Friday is our PT test.  We'll see how well I hold up for this after the track workout.
Friday--PT test.  This will include sit ups, push ups, and a 1.5 mile run.  I'm hoping to max out on each, but we'll see.  I'm a distance runner, not a speed runner!
Saturday--If I can get into the base gym, I'd like to do upper body again.
Sunday--10mi @9:15

So yeah, we'll see how much of that actually happens.  I found a Y with a decent track, though it's a bit of a drive.  We'll try it out in the morning before the heat sets in, but the earliest I can start is 8am.  Which will already be brutal.  Good times.

On a completely random and cute side note, we had an awesome little (gigantic) birthday party for my newly 6-year-old this past Saturday!  We got a huge bouncy water slide and put it in our front yard.  We ate burgers, smoked turkey, and pasta salad.  Then we tie dyed shirts and ate a delicious ice cream cake.  Aside from the cake (and the large amount of beer I drank after), it was a pretty healthy deal.  And we all had such a blast!  Once the kids all left, hubby and I hopped on the water slide with the kids.  Naturally.

Ridiculously huge slide
Singing with good friends

I hope you all had a happy weekend, and I'd love to hear what your training plans are for the week!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My body and my goals

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now.  I kept putting it off, but now that we've been given a challenge at work to identify and track one fitness goal, I've decided to pair the two together.

I am not completely satisfied with my body.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with a lot of aspects and I feel stronger than I've ever felt before.  I love many aspects of my body, and I am extremely happy with the results of all of my hard work.  But there is more work to be done, and what I want to do is take myself to the next level.

I've lost all of my "baby weight".  I'm actually trimmer than I was before getting pregnant, and I weigh the same as I did in the beginning of college.  Not something easily done, let me tell you!  I've literally worked my ass off.  When I look in the mirror, I see a tiny, lean little person without much muscle mass.  I've begun doing a few strictly strength workouts, and it has helped already in that I can see more definition in my arms and legs.  But I want more!  I don't want to just be the skinny trainer, I want to be the STRONG trainer.  So, here is my starting point right now:

It's hard to see from this selfie (I tried to get my oldest to take a photo, but she's a bit too bouncy for it, hehe), but I have a lot of very loose skin around my belly.  I grew out a lot in both pregnancies, and it left me with not only the "mommy pouch", but also a deep abdominal connective tissue separation.  Basically, my "guts" are unprotected.  I also have an umbilical hernia because of it.  So far, the only difficulties it has caused me is the occasional bellybutton pain and a lack of being able to use upper and lower abdominal muscles together well.  I can do it, but it's not as simple as it used to be!  What else it has given me is a very large complex about showing my stomach to anyone.  I can count the people on one hand who have seen my stomach since my pre-baby bikini days. 

Now, I know that I cannot fix this without surgery, but there are other things that I CAN do and WILL do for my body in the coming months.  As I said before, I've been accepted into the NYC Marathon and my training will begin soon.  So here are my two major goals for the next few months:

1.  Complete the NYC Marathon in under 4 hours (but not-so-secretly I'll be happy with 4:15)

2.  Lose no weight and actually GAIN muscle mass in the process.

The two don't sound like they go hand in hand, but they can if you go about it the proper way.  And I will make it happen!  Here's how I plan to do this:

--Incorporate a "run less, run faster" approach, with only three days of running and two other cardio workouts per week.  My other cardio will be a "cardio strength" combo, either a class or HIIT.

--Strength train hard 3-4x/week--2-3x upper body, 1x lower body, abs every time.  No cardio involved in these workouts, strictly weight training of 3 sets, 8-10 reps.  When 10 reps gets easy, I move up in weight.  Towards the end, I hope to be doing a much higher weight with 3 sets of 6-8 reps.  This will push my muscle mass up, and the leg work should increase my power (ie speed) also. 

--Eat, eat, eat!  Marathon training makes people eat like maniacs anyway, but I really want to make sure that I'm not burning calories that I don't have to spend.  I plan on greatly increasing my lean proteins, doing an extra protein shake a day, cutting back on the "bad" carbs that slow me down, and allowing myself one cheat day/week.  That cheat day will be for my sanity, basically. :P

--Document it all here as much as possible.  I need a way to stay accountable, because these are some lofty goals.  But I know that I can do it if I put my mind to it!  I'm tired of being "skinny", I want to be strong.  I want to be powerful. 

So that's where I am.  Even as a trainer, I am always and will always be striving towards something.  Life is more fun if we dream bigger, right!?  What are your goals right now, and how do you plan on reaching them?