beach work

The weather here in Destin has been so perfect. Last year we had a week full of storms, so we have fully enjoyed the sunshine and clear water this time around.

I’ve gotten a few great workouts in, and wanted to share one with you! Here’s a full body workout you can perform almost anywhere with using no other equipment but your body! Let me know if you give it a try!

You’ll perform each of these exercises for 50 seconds a piece. If you don’t have a watch, just do 10-15 reps of each. After each exercise, sprint for 20 seconds (10 seconds in one direction, 10 seconds back… try to pass your starting position in the last 10 seconds of your sprint for a challenge!).

Start out with a Squat and Calf Raise. Watch those knees and make sure they don’t pass your toes. Keep your chest up.
Work for 50 seconds, then immediately go into your 20 second sprint.

Squat and Calf Raise

 

Next up is a Star Jump Burpee. Same thing as a regular Burpee, but jump up into a Star Jump on the way up. Again, work for 50 seconds and then go right into your 20 second sprint.

Star Jump Burpee

 

Hold a Plank for 50 seconds. Make sure your hips are low and your back is flat. Also, keep that neck in neutral. Immediate sprint following.

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Next is Explosive Lunges. You’ll do 25 seconds on one leg leading, then 25 on the other lead. Jump for height, and try to land as softly as possible, watching that knee to make sure it doesn’t pass your toe. Follow it with the sprint!

Explosive Lunges

Go right into a Reverse Pushup. This pushup is for your triceps, shoulders, and back. You’ll start with a tricep pushup, keeping your elbows in to where they are brushing your sides on the way down. Hold it there, and keeping your hips as low as possible, drive through the palms of your hands and push your body backwards, towards your feet. From there, move back into the plank position and start again. And of course, follow with your sprint!

Reverse Pushups

After that one is a Hamstring Walk. Start on your back with your arms at your sides, and lift your hips. Walk your legs out, taking about 3-4 steps out, and then back in. Follow with a sprint!

Hamstring Walk

And finish it up with a bicycle crunch. Instead of making big circles with your legs like a typical bicycle movement, try pointing and reaching that straight leg hard. Hold for half a second and switch. Jump up and finish the set with your sprint.

Bicycle

Take a 60 second – 2 min break and start again, 2-3 times total. Make sure to drink tons of water before your workout!

 

Here’s a couple yoga poses just for fun!

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spartans, samoas, & saying goodbye

As they saying goes, when it rains, it really does pour. This week has been straight up crazy, y’all. We have so much packed into our lives right now that I feel like I’m fighting to keep up!

Friday morning I helped some of my friends load up a Uhaul for their out of state move. We sent them off the right way on Tuesday evening with a Pedal Party. This crazy cart of fun is one of the most ridiculous and hilarious things I’ve ever done with some of the most ridiculous and hilarious people. We had a super great time to say the least. So sad to see them go!

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Friday afternoon I whipped up these bad boys: homemade samoas.

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For real, these taste just as delicious as they look. But before you pull up that link, I have to warn you that these are some of the fattiest, sugariest heaven-in-your-mouth cookies I’ve ever made. They are not healthy one bit. I have to give a shout out to the huz who helped me ice these things so I wouldn’t be late to our gathering. These cookies did not disappoint.

I made those cookies for a NYC team trip reunion we had Friday night. It was really fun to get back together with these awesome people. This really has nothing to do with this post, but here is a picture of my friend Evan taking a picture of the food. He made some delicious Italian dish I’d never heard of that he was super proud of (he had the right to be proud… it was fabulous).

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That night, I had to leave our gathering a bit early to meet my friend, Mary Beth for a mini road trip! She conquered the Spartan Super on Saturday, and I spur-of-the-moment decided to go with her to be her chauffeur, because you are like super dead after one of these races. The Super is 8+ miles (this one ended up being 9) with obstacles. She did an incredible job, and I am so proud of her! Totally killed it.

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Meanwhile…

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I sat in my camping chair and stuffed my face with a chicken wrap and talked to people around me. Haha. It was actually really fun to be on this side of the race. I’ve done 2 of these races now, and it was a lot of fun for me to sit back and experience the hype of people both starting and finishing, and watching them accomplish hard trained goals. I just love these races!

Here are some of my favs I snapped during Mary Beth’s last few obstacles!

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She did such a great job, and I am so proud of how hard she trained for this thing. Way to accomplish your goals, Mary Beth! Being at this race got me itching for another. There might be some of this in my near future…

That’s all I’ve got for now! I hope that you have had some fun and maybe something crazy or spontaneous in your week. Go find some adventure in your life today. Oh, and let me know if you try those cookies! :)

banana oat protein cookies | paleo, gluten free

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On Monday, our Fitness Center had a Member Appreciation Day with lots of fun activities (including a rock wall), free food, and tons of giveaways. We had a great time, and even gave our regular Bootcamp class the gift of watching us (the instructors) workout – while they take a break – through the agility course we put them through. I’m kind of amazed at how much they got into it, and we just died laughing at the phrases our class yelled at us that they apparently get to hear from our mouths every day. A taste of our own medicine?

Member Apr Day

At the end of the evening I helped clean up, and there was a whole box of apples and bananas left over, which our director begged us to take home. I try not to eat a whole lot of bananas just because they’re so high calorie (did you know one banana contains well over 100 calories??? What??). So those bananas have been sitting for a while, waiting to be turned into something amazing.

What do you do with a bundle of bananas when you are trying to eat healthy (banana bread and other banana desserts out of the picture)? Well, you make these amazing banana protein cookies! These are completely accredited to my fabulous friend, Caroline. They are SO easy, and delicious! Great pre or post-workout snack.

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Ingredients:
2 Bananas
2 Scoops of Gluten Free Vanilla Protein
1.5 Cups Gluten Free Oats

Mix ingredients together and bake on 350 for 15-18 mins. That’s. It.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 batches because as I told you, I had (and still have) a lot of bananas. My doubled batch came out to 14 cookies. 1 cookie equates to about half a (lean) protein bar.

Here’s the breakdown:
Calories: 125.7
Protein: 5.5 grams

The Larabar – ALT protein bar is about 210-240 calories (depending on the flavor) with 10g of protein. And Larabar is about as natural as you’re gonna get in a protein bar. So this cookie is very comparable!

If you give it a try, let me know what you think! I also think you could add some honey drizzled over the top, or even some cinnamon. I kept it pretty simple because it doesn’t really NEED any extra sugar, and the Lord knows I sure don’t either. :)

Have a great weekend!

week 3 | clean eating

This is by far the BEST meal we have had on this entire journey. You can find the recipe here. I made a few adjustments, but you get the general idea. :)

We made it! Everybody sing the hallelujah song. It is such a relief to be able to eat some fruit tomorrow! I’ve definitely learned a lot about my body over the past 3 weeks, and am excited to share some of that with you. Here’s a review from our last week!

Day 15: We have a very busy weekend with helping some friends move last night, and going to a sip and see for a sweet family’s brand new baby today! Loved seeing some friends we haven’t connected with in a while, and I always love the sight of a tiny baby! It’s hard to stay in the mindset of eating clean when I know tomorrow we get to go to the rodeo!!

Day 16: Cheat day! We ate so much, and don’t even feel bad about it. I think having this cheat day makes it possible to stick to the clean eating throughout the week. Remembering that going forward! Check out our day of indulging here.

Day 17: Back to the grind. Mondays aren’t my best friend, especially after 2 very full weekends in a row. It’s kind of crazy how much I really need a good day of quiet to recharge. I realized over the weekend that even though I spend my Friday off cleaning and cooking, I usually spend it in complete silence and solitude, and that does my soul some good. Already looking forward to the weekend since I haven’t had a regular Friday in a few weeks!

Day 18: Did a good 45 mins of spin and feel soooo good. Crazy how a workout will wake you up! Also covered some upper body and abs after I taught bootcamp, which wrapped up the day well. Feeling back to normal after our cheating weekend.

Day 19: Longest. Week. Ever. Someone give me an apple. But for real, I’m dying here.

Day 20: Woke up with more energy than I’ve had all week! Ready to kick the remainder of this week in the face. Subbing a spin/circuit class tonight, and one reason I love teaching is because I push myself so much harder (some studies show that you exert 30% more energy while talking during a workout).

Day 21: Made it to the last day! Crazy to think about everything that has happened in such a short time (sometimes if felt really long), but feel so accomplished! Took my weekly picture, and it is just crazy! Even with our cheat day last Sunday, I have some crazy oblique action going on that I for real have never seen before. Wuuuuuttt?! Finishing today off the right way, and getting ready to eat a banana tomorrow morning! I bought unripened bananas and an almost ripe pineapple yesterday so that they would be ready to go tomorrow. Am I kind of ridiculous? I don’t even care.

Positives: Discipline, and finishing strong. Holy cow, how difficult things get when you’re almost to the finish line! Remembering the why behind the what is what keeps me going.
Negatives: Kinda just bored. I knew that was to be expected, but I am ready to add some variety back into our meals!

Things I’ve learned 
Over the past 3 weeks I have learned so much about myself, food, and believe it or not, the Lord! Here are a few takeaways:

– I quickly found out who my real friends were. Countless times I have been walking around with broccoli or spinach in my teeth like an idiot, and for those of you who never told me, shame. To those of you who saved me hours of quirky and awkward conversation, I appreciate you. You are pretty great.

– I’ve discovered a lot about my body, and I’m pretty sure I thrive on the sugar from fruit. Of all the things I’ve been craving during this time, fruit has been the only one really hard to resist. I think I gain lots of energy from those sugars, and am excited to experiment with that. Every body is different, and (for example) some people thrive on the fats from nuts, while others only gain weight by eating them. Never would have even given that a thought had I not taken it away.

– Though at times I felt like I was going to die (ok, I exaggerate), I realized that half the things I normally consume daily I don’t even need. I broke my diet down to really only complete proteins, gluten free carbs, and veggies, and I’ve had more than enough energy to think clearly at work and hit it hard in the gym. No more excuses for this chick!

– My water consumption has nearly doubled, and though I’m still very annoyed that I have to go to the bathroom every 45 mins, it’s incredible the difference water consumption has made. If you’re feeling tired, down a cup of water. Consume a ton of water throughout the day, and your workout performance will be a million times stronger. Ps. Going to the bathroom so much has helped me peel myself from my computer and take a break from work. Even just a couple mins here and there, it has done my mind some good.

– Like I mentioned before, it was good for me to have a cheat day to take a break from such a strict schedule and eating plan. The hubs and I want to make this clean eating a lifestyle change, and allowing a cheat meal once a week will help immensely in keeping us on track. You already know I’m so very goal oriented, and giving myself boundaries and finish lines helps me stay disciplined. I was totally out of control in just eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and sticking to only eating at strategic times throughout the day, and controlling what I eat at those times really helps me to be mindful of what I’m putting in. Kinda crazy!

– We have gotten pretty creative with our meals, and have learned flavors we like and dislike. I’m not a natural cook, mostly because I am a rule follower and look at a recipe like 1200 times while I cook to make sure I get everything right. This plan has helped me recognize flavors in spices and learn how much of what we like best. That would have been a foreign thought to me before I got married (what is happening to me?).

– Since I have to wake up and eat breakfast pretty early in the morning, it has not only helped me keep my eating schedule straight, but also my time with God. I have been reading while I eat breakfast and sip on my coffee, and my time with the Lord has been so much richer! I have learned much in my extra time with Him, and being disciplined in both time and food has taught me so much about His heart, and my own heart, and how to make mine match His a little better.

Overall, this clean eating adventure has done some good for us! I encourage you to explore foods and how different things affect you, positively or negatively! You don’t have to be as strict as we were… obviously. But try it out! You’ll be shocked at how much you eat without even thinking about it. Again, if you are interested in starting or curious to know what we ate, just let me know and I will send you the google doc with our meal plans and recipes!

One more side note: I tracked all my eating on the MyFitnessPal app, and it was really helpful. You enter your height, weight, and goal (gain/lose/maintain), and it gives you the amount of calories you should consume in a day. You can also enter your water intake (which helped me keep count of cups throughout the day), and exercise, too! The first day took me forever since I cooked everything myself. I broke down how much we ate by serving, and entered the food items myself. But the app remembers everything you enter, so do it once and you can enter repeat meals from there going forward.

Ryan’s taking me on a date tomorrow! Really, a date day, as he’s told me to keep the whole day open. If you remember, one of my Christmas presents was a Jar O’Dates, with 12 popsicle sticks with clues for dates – one for each month. We obviously spend time together more than once a month, but these are intentional dates that Ryan plans out and keeps it a surprise for me. I’m very excited! And in case you were wondering, I will be eating some fruit and chocolate. I don’t even care if that’s part of the date or not. It will happen (that’s what’s up!).

Hope you have a very stress-free and relaxing weekend! Enjoy some of that sunshine! Eat a cup of fruit for me. ;)

rodeo | cheat day

Ryan and I had a fantastic time at the rodeo yesterday. This was our cheat day, and though it will look like we did not hold back when you see these pictures, believe me… we did. Next year we decided we need to go more than once so we can try all the crazy stuff without stuffing our faces in one day (fried Nutella and chocolate dipped bacon is already on next year’s list).

My sister texted me and asked how we feel after eating all that junk. Are we sick? The answer is: nope. Hahaha. We feel completely fine, and other than crashing from a sugar high a few hours later and feeling really fat, we don’t feel bad at all. Kinda strange, I do admit. Not complaining though.

For your enjoyment:

DSC_0502Bacon Wrapped Sausage on a Stick. The only “real food” we had at the rodeo, and soooo good.

DSC_0503This stand had our favorite food of the day. Winner.

fried whatFried Pecan Pie and Dough-E-Oreo (Fried Oreos with Cookie Dough inside). Both of these were soooo soooooo goooood.

DSC_0509Fried Nutter Butters. Ryan said this wasn’t one of his favs, but remember that peanut butter is one of my favorite things, and I haven’t had it in 2 weeks. I gave it a 10. :)

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Custom ConfectionsCustom Confections – Frosty Bite: Lemon Cream Cupcake with Vanilla Ice Cream inside
This one was really good (obviously… look at my face), but I can’t lie to you, this was not the best one of the day. It won an award on a rodeo food list, so we tried it. They had a banana sundae with rum sauce that I think would have been better. Next time. :)

Ryan wanted to try this pizza that won an award for strangest food… apparently it’s topped with scorpions, grasshoppers or meal worms. So nasty. We decided against the pizza, as the amount of desserts we wanted to try won over (thank God).

Ready to take on this last week of (strict) clean eating and hit it hard. And totally ready to bring back fruit and nuts next week! Happy Monday!

week 2 | clean eating

Week 2 has been ridiculous. I don’t know if I’m just THAT addicted to sugar, or if it’s all the temptation I’ve had to resist, but this week was pretty rough. My sister and bro-in-law came in to town last weekend for a memorial service and stayed with us, and I definitely was enlightened to how much I usually eat. Not only bad foods… even just food in general.

DSC_0501 - Version 2Gary & Lynette touring Living Water International, Ryan’s workplace

Day 7: This was the day Gary and Lynette flew in, and also the day of my friend Julielle’s fabulous art show (the art will be up for viewing until tomorrow (Saturday), so you should go check it out! Vine Street Studios, 2nd floor. I took photos for this event, so thankfully I was pretty busy and distracted and didn’t even take a glance at any of the snacks (aka temptation). Ryan, on the other hand, ate everything in sight. He kind of threw our eating plan out the window this weekend. Yes, I am telling on him. He abandoned me. He also ate the ENTIRE bunch of asparagus I bought for our lunches. It was cooling on the stove and he just assumed it was all for one meal. Do you know how long it takes to prep meals for a week’s worth of lunch? :)

Day 8: While Gary went to speak at the memorial service (with Lynette, of course), Ryan and I got a great workout in. Since I’ve been teaching so much it’s been hard for me to work out myself, so pushing it in the gym felt really great. We went to Black Walnut Cafe for dinner with the sis and bro (and I ate my gluten free, fruit free, cheese free salad), and then we took them to The Chocolate Bar for dessert since they’ve never been there. Pause here. This place is like my favorite place ever and they make my favorite ice cream. 1) My favorite dessert in the world is ice cream. 2) They make my favorite ice cream (creamy dreamy truffle, in case you’re wondering). I’m just trying to unpack for you how deep this struggle was for me. I did not eat ice cream. Yep. In all honestly, I’m really just ridiculously stubborn. Most of why I didn’t cheat this weekend is because then I’d have to say I cheated, and then I’d have to start all over again. A hard head can be a good thing….?

Day 9: Did the usual… wasn’t too bad besides the dozens of hot donuts classes bring in for church. But I can say no to donuts pretty easily, so that wasn’t terrible. Made a pretty healthy dinner for the fam that evening, but I used honey and I’m also not allowed to eat carbs for dinner and I made couscous, so I again ate my salad. :) Can’t wait for the day I can eat that Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken again (seriously, really healthy and delicious… try it!).

Can you tell the temptation is getting worse??? 

Day 10: Today I had a lunch meeting in the office and they ordered in Berryhill. It’s getting to the point that all I can think about is what I’m not eating. Hahaha. Queso. No one told me week 2 would be 10 times worse than week 1! I sipped on my water and ate the lunch I brought with me when my time to eat rolled around.
One good in all of this: I’m really seeing pretty clearly how much I usually eat and don’t even think about it. Were I not on this clean eating plan, I would have eaten fatty foods and desserts every single day this week.

Day 11: Seeing some progress in my upper body and also torso area, so feeling really motivated. Pushed it hard in a class tonight before teaching bootcamp, which was so needed (love a good sweat). I don’t feel like I look any skinnier (which isn’t the point anyway), but I have noticed that my core is tightening up and what was fat around the abdomen and back is minimizing to just skin and muscle. Just FYI, for me, I actually gain weight and muscle mass when I workout hard and eat clean. When I don’t, I get skinnier and lighter. I know, it’s weird. But I’m a small build and muscle weighs more than fat, so when I am replacing fat with muscle I both gain and grow. Which is why I think I don’t feel skinnier, but can still see a difference (which is what my goal was). I haven’t been around any bad foods accessible to me today, so it’s been a LOT better and a lot easier. Already half way through the 3 weeks!

Day 12: The weekend finally caught up to me, and felt super tired the whole day. We made dinner for our grow group (which I again didn’t eat, haha), and I taught my usual class before heading there. Today was much better. Feeling strong and lean.

Day 13: Did some cardio and strength training, and finished it up with some really great ab work. Had a lunch meeting at an Italian restaurant, but didn’t find it a problem to order grilled chicken and veggies with no cheese. The cravings are decreasing!

Day 14: This morning I taught a class, which started at 10a (my usual snack time). Since I was in class, I didn’t get to eat til an hour later, and felt like I could have hurt someone, hahaha. It’s crazy that when I first started I had a really hard time sticking to the 5 meals a day, and now my body expects and needs it! I took my weekly pic and compared it to my starting picture, and though I can’t tell a difference when I stand in front of a mirror, I can definitely tell in the picture. Weird how that works.

Most of what I see improved is my lower back. I’ve always worked pretty hard on my upper back, but the lower back is tricky because you can hurt yourself pretty easily if you don’t work it correctly (plus, we tend to work things we can see, and neglect what we can’t). Since I changed my eating and have been focusing on more oblique work and supermans, I’ve definitely toned up! I didn’t have much of “love handles” before, but I definitely don’t now. So cool! Also, my arms and legs are much thinner. At first I didn’t like that, because I looked stronger with more fat on my arms and legs. But the definition is there, and I’m getting used to it and liking it better.

Positives: Leaning up immensely, definitely feeling strong and encouraged by the progress. Super great for the motivation aspect. Structure is also really good for this busy body, so I’m learning how to juggle this eating plan with my crazy life (maybe I should slow down for a second?).
Negatives: If I have to be around it, food is a tough struggle to not give in to. It’s very enlightening how food has had such a stronghold on my life. I’m learning a lot about self control and how to not make other people feel awkward when I’m not eating with them (being honest here). I’ve had to truly pray about and balance how to stick with what I know is good for me without offending anyone else.

I’m letting you know upfront, Ryan and I are going to the Rodeo on Sunday, and I’m going to let myself eat a small portion of whatever it is we decide to get. We just realized Sunday is the last day until next year, and for those of you who aren’t Houstonians, the Rodeo is like our hillbilly version of Mardi Gras. It pretty much takes over Houston for a month, and there are people who hang out there all day long… some people go every night. It’s a big deal. They always come up with new foods and have competitions, and so this is the only time Ryan or I would ever eat fried cheesecake or chicken fried bacon. You feelin’ me?
I do realize this will push back my 6-pack goal, and I’m willing to take that hit. We’ve figured out that this eating plan is more than doable though, and we’re going to continue eating clean, though not quite as strict, when we finish up these 3 weeks. We’ll add back fruit, nuts, beans, and honey in moderation but pretty much everything else will stay the same.

Again, if you’re curious and want to give it a shot, just let me know and I’ll shoot you the link to our meal plans and recipes.

Hope you have a great weekend! We are going to help some friends move and get to hang out with their ridiculously adorable twin boys. Enjoy SPRING!!! Never know how long that will actually last here, haha.

week 1 | clean eating

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We made it through week 1! I just want to say upfront that the biggest and most exciting surprise was my total when I checked out at the grocery store. Apparently, we snack on a lot of protein bars and fruit, and cutting both of those out cut my grocery bill in half! Like, so shocked. We’re still getting all natural/organic meats and veggies, and I’m even buying everything (carbs) gluten free, which I don’t usually do. All of our meals cost tops $2/meal. We are highly considering making this our new norm purely to save money!

If you missed what plan we’re on and talking about (what we are and aren’t eating), catch up here.

Here’s a little overview from each day last week:

Day 1: Didn’t have good protein powder, so ate my breakfast oatmeal without it, and a bit of cinnamon. Just being straight, it was not good. Barely finished it. All the “snacks” and lunch were delicious, and so was dinner. It’s strange because I felt so full towards the end of each meal, but not stuffed, and was STARVING about 5 mins before the next. Felt so much energy, and hit a wall about 7:30p, but purposely stayed up til 9p (daylight savings next day). Bodies are definitely needing some adjustment to the change. Ran this morning and felt really great.
I want to make known that Ryan cheated 5 times on day 1. I told him I was publicizing this, so don’t worry, I’m not outing him without his knowledge of it. He already gave in to honey, peanut butter, and several other things. I do have an advantage though, as I gave up processed sweets on Mar 1, so I went into this diet not even craving sweets, whereas he’s trying to cut out all of these things at once.

Day 2: Despite it being daylight savings time and losing an hour, woke up with so much energy. If you know me, you know I am absolutely not a morning person. In fact, it’s better for the whole world if the only person I speak to the first hour I’m awake is God. However, I woke up feeling very awake, ready to down a bottle of water, and was even joking around with Ryan (he picked up on this change from me right away). We both feel a million times better in general already, and our meals have been totally satisfying and enough (Ryan has been eating more than me, obviously, because he weighs a bit more than I do). I still crave fruit like crazy, but other than that, this almost seems like something we could do forever! Didn’t crash like the night before.
Ps. We had some good protein in our oatmeal this morning, which made that meal one of my favorites of the day. Soooo much better.
Feeling surprised that the water consumption hasn’t been hard at all to keep up with. I usually have a hard time drinking anything fast (or a lot of it), so that has been a pleasant surprise.

Day 3: Didn’t sleep very well through the night, mostly because I had to pee so much (sorry if that’s tmi). I doubled my water intake, so no joke, I’m going to the bathroom like every 45 mins. I slept very lightly, which isn’t normal for me, and woke up with a stuffy nose and feeling drowsy (somehow managed to throw coffee grinds on myself while making my morning cup o’ joe). The weather changes have also been really crazy, being 75 degrees one day and 45 the next, so that might have something to do with it, too. Oh, and daylight savings on Sunday. Why do we do that to ourselves?
The meals are still really good, and I’m getting used to eating 5 times a day. It’s really great to not have to think about what I’m going to eat when I’m getting hungry. Eliminates bad eating decisions. :)

Day 4: Pretty opposite of yesterday, woke up with soooo much energy! I slept all through the night, and even though I felt like my bladder was going to explode when I did wake up, I was glad to sleep soundly and get some solid rest. My energy has been through the roof today, and pushed myself in an afternoon class before I taught bootcamp. I almost felt like I downed 5 cups of coffee, except that energy lasted the entire day, and I never crashed. Was in a strangely great and optimistic mood (I’m generally a natural skeptic, and have to remind myself to not see all things through a critical eye). Wishing every day could feel like this one!

Day 5: Felt really clear headed and able to think straight. Ready to tackle the day. I again had a ton of energy, which lasted throughout the entire day. Tonight was our first real test of resisting temptation. We had a grow group gathering (church) and for dessert they had marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham crackers. And hot cocoa. And it smelled amazing. BUT, we ate before we got there and neither of us gave in. We sat and drank our water. :) If you know how much I love chocolate you know how big of a victory that was.

Day 6: Felt like today was one big meeting. I started out my day with a meeting, then went directly into another when I got back to the office that lasted til long after lunch time. I’m an introvert, so talking that much and discussing plans and strategies for that long wears this girl out. Was great throughout the day but kinda felt like a zombie when I came home. I think that was also because we’ve got a pretty full weekend ahead of us, and knowing there’s much to be done in preparation for it makes both Ryan and me tired, haha. We got to watch Ryan’s cousin in her middle school play this evening (see photo below!), and then came home and cleaned to get ready for my sis and bro-in-law to visit (coming in tomorrow!). We have my awesome artist friend’s art show tomorrow evening (that you should totally attend – check out her website too!), and more weekend fun to come! I’m excited to share all of it with you next week!
None of that had anything to do with the clean eating, but I wanted to share with you what’s happening in my life. :) As far as how I felt, I had great, high energy most of the day but then wanted to take a nap when I got home. I’m thinking that had more to do with feeling spent from meetings than the food though, as I gained a ton of energy after eating dinner.

DSC_0133 - Version 2Kallie is far left

Positives: Call me crazy, but I feel like my skin is getting softer. Even just applying my usual facial lotion in the morning feels different. Not complaining about that. Already noticing a change in my torso, too. I took a before pic and am taking a pic each week, and I’m pumped to see the progress. It’s definitely been an adventure already!
Negatives: The downside we’re discovering is that our diet and eating schedule are somewhat restricting. We have to eat at certain times, which is difficult for a busy day in many places. We also have a strict diet, which really limits meetings that usually happen over meals. Another reason why it’s good we’re only being this strict for 3 weeks.

Overall, it has been a great experience so far. Feeling like it’s definitely worth it, and looking forward to week 2!

If you are curious and want to take a look at my menu, I’m keeping a google docs folder of all my recipes and meal plans (mostly because I have a bad memory and need to remember what spices I use in the meals that taste good……. also, I’m a weirdo when it comes to organization and feel a need to keep everything in my life orderly). Let me know if you want the link!

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for an update from week #2 next weekend!

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So remember in January when I set goals for this year? I didn’t post the list on this blog, but one of my half-hearted, kinda-maybe goals was to get my 6-pack back. The reason it’s half-hearted is because on one hand, I’d really love it back. That’s obvious. But on the other hand, the more important hand, I really love food. And I knew that if I were to be serious about that 6-pack it would be majority diet change, seeing how I already workout hard enough to have one if my food intake would match. So, I sat on it for a long time. But I recently decided to take it more seriously, and started by cutting out all sweets (added sugar). THEN, this happened.

One of our trainers at the gym, and dear friend of mine used to compete in fitness shows years back. She is to this day the most ripped female I know personally, and is super lean and healthy (she’s had 3 kids and still has a 6-pack… and would probably kill me for telling you that). :) I was talking to her yesterday about my half-hearted 6-pack goal, and she immediately asked me what I’ve been eating. She then gave me a fast track option, and slower track option, and basically told me that half the things I love I’m not allowed to eat anymore if I take the fast track, haha. But according to this super strict diet and my continued workout routine, I should be ripped in about 3-4 weeks. I can do that, right? :/

Here’s what I’ll be cutting out: red meats, yogurt, nuts, beans, dressings/condiments, starches/carbs that aren’t gluten free (and no carbs for dinner or later), protein bars, cereal, honey, and FRUIT (what, omg omg).

Here’s what I’ll be eating: lean meats (turkey, chicken), veggies, gluten free brown rice, sweet potatoes, gluten free oatmeal with cinnamon and a scoop of protein, salad, and doubling my water intake.

You can start praying for me now. Ryan is joining me like a champ. So you can pray for our marriage too. :)

That picture right there at the top are all of Ryan’s and my meals for the next week. We won’t be eating “snacks” but will instead be eating 5-6 small meals a day. And we will pretty much be eating the same thing over and over again, so we’re probably going to feel like we’re eating cardboard after a while. Yes, it’s boring and it’s extreme, but it’s 3 weeks. I already cut out sweets, so my thought process was, “Well, if I’m going to suffer anyway, may as well make it miserable.” Have I lost my mind? Probably.

We’ll keep you updated with how we feel. The part I’m most excited about is figuring out how different foods affect me and have been affecting me for a long time and I didn’t even realize it. The greatest part of all of this is knowing that I won’t regret it, even if it is miserable and boring. PS. I’m not doing this for Lent, in case anyone was wondering. I’m doing this purely because I want to lean out, and I kind of think it’s a cop-out to have a goal that has nothing to do with meditating on Christ and slap “Lent” on it to make myself feel better or help me along. I’ve got something totally different for Lent. :)

 

What’s the one thing on your goals list you’ve been putting off because you’re only half-heartedly into it? Start now! You won’t be the only one struggling through! If you need some support, don’t for a second hesitate to share with me! We can push through our goals together. :)

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This past weekend has been a whirlwind, and has proven to be even busier than the last! Thursday-Saturday I had trainings for some coaching through PLACE. This was my second official training, but this time the founder of PLACE came and trained us, so it was a pretty cool weekend. I was asked to lead a 1-on-1 coaching in front of the group on Saturday since I’ve been through this before and have had some experience in the coaching process, which terrified me. I don’t enjoy speaking in front of groups, and most certainly not in front of the person who created the very thing I was going to be talking about, but the Lord is good and it turned out to be a fun time. My favorite thing about being a PLACE coach is getting to hear people’s stories and help them identify unique things they bring to the table through the way God has wired them, and affirm them in those things. If you’ve never taken PLACE, I encourage you to take the assessment, follow through with the class, and after that meet with a coach for your 1-on-1. This assessment covers personality, spiritual gifts, your abilities (which is essentially the environment in which you function best), and your passions with your life experiences. All of these together help to understand how God created you, affirms that you are not just uniquely made but NEEDED, and gives you steps to walk in freedom and pursue the things that make you come alive in order to build up the Lord’s kingdom in the best way possible (and most natural) for you.

Note: If you are interested in this assessment and class, let me know. We’re offering it at our church both at the Loop and Downtown campuses this Spring. Contact me, and I’ll connect you with the class that’s best for you!

Sunday morning we headed out to set up for our Fitness Expo! As you already know, fitness is one of my most favorite things ever, and I absolutely love that I get to teach group classes. We had a fabulous time previewing 15 min snapshots of all the classes we offer, and had tons of door prizes and giveaways. I’m not a performer, but something comes alive in me when I get to inspire people in their fitness goals and health. I just love it! You can see all the photos that Ryan and I snapped in between the classes I taught on Facebook. But here are some highlights of the fun we had…

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Yesterday I had an all day meeting for work, following-up everything we discussed on our planning retreat. We assigned to-dos to everyone, and reported back with the information we had found. Let me just say, I am pumped about everything in store for our church in 2014. It’s going to be a great year!

Today we had a “snow day” though I have yet to see any snow. It did sleet, but it’s only about 30 degrees outside, so it’s not sticking. Nevertheless, I am glad work got called off for the day, and I’m seeing it as a gift from the good Lord, providing rest after a packed full weekend. This is the extent of our snow…

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I’m still in my pajamas (don’t judge), and spent the morning sipping on my coffee and reading. One of my 2014 goals is to read some classic books that I’ve never read completely through – one per month – and I’m almost done with my first one (I read a book over Christmas break too, but I’m not counting that one). It has been so refreshing and so intriguing to read the words of some brilliant minds. So much fun discovering ideas through the lens of someone else’s imagination.

I hope you got to rest today, and are soaking in this chilly weather! I don’t enjoy being cold, but I enjoy even less being hot and humid, which is majority of living in Houston, so I’m not complaining one bit. :)

I’ll leave you with a super awesome video one of our production guys put together for a Fitness Center promo. Check it out!

5 ways to improve your workout

Well, the new year is here! Meaning new beginnings, new goals, new accomplishments, new challenges, new adventures! Do your 2014 goals have anything to do with fitness? If so, I am so excited for you, and would love to join you in the journey! Here are just a few tips I’ve picked up on ways to improve your workout from personal experience and in observation of coworkers and others in the classes I teach.

1) Form. I can’t say enough about this first one. If you’re experiencing pain in your joints, back, shins, feet, neck, there’s a good chance you’re straining your body by working out with improper form. Either that, or you have a pre-existing injury that you should see a doctor about, and be very careful while working out with impact on that particular body part.
I will use a squat as an example, which is probably most common exercise I see performed with bad form. The squat seems simple enough, but I see a lot of injury from improper form, especially toward the end of a workout when individuals start to get tired. If you don’t hear anything else, hear this: never sacrifice safety for feeling strong or awesome. A lot of the time we get pumped up and our pride doesn’t allow us to take a break or stop when we should (I’m a very competitive person – believe me, I understand). When you sacrifice your form for the sake of finishing a workout fast, you’re creating injury to your body that likely won’t show up until days, months, or even years down the road. If you find that you can’t walk at age 40, don’t say I didn’t warn you. :)

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The squat in this picture has a couple things wrong with it. First, her knees are way past her toes while squatting. In a squat, your leg should be making a 90 degree angle, with the bottom half of your leg perpendicular to the floor (think knee in line with the ankle). This is hard to achieve when you just start working out, so my advice would be to not try to squat so low when you start. The stronger you get, the lower you’ll be able to go. Very few people can – no – SHOULD squat lower than 90 degrees, depending on build, fitness level, and the condition of your knees.

Tip: workout in front of a mirror as often as you can. Not so that you can stare at how awesome you look, but so that you can ensure that you maintain great form throughout the entire workout.

The second thing that’s wrong with this picture is that it seems her weight is shifted to the front of her foot (which happens when your knees pass your toes, by the way). During all squats, your weight should always fall to your heels. I even tell my participants to wiggle their toes while in a squat so that their weight is sure to be in the heel. We try to naturally shift our weight to our toes because our quads are naturally pretty strong, and we want to compensate for the burn in our glutes and hamstrings. Working out the right way feels awkward at first… it’s ok. Don’t neglect the backside of your body! Every muscle is important, and by evenly exercising every muscle group we will be the strongest and healthiest version of ourselves.

2) Balance. I have to say, girls are generally more accepting of workouts that focus on balance than guys (i.e. pilates, yoga, dance). But no matter how manly you are, balance plays an important part in strength and health of the body. Strength isn’t just about how much iron you can pump in a chest press. Balance helps you to control your muscle mass, giving you the ability to do so much more than someone who has big muscles but no control. Balance also helps stabilize and create core strength. Core means center. The stronger your core is, the stronger your entire body will become.

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3) Change It Up. Everyone gets bored of the same ole thing over and over again. This applies to everything in life, not just working out. Well, here’s some news for you: it’s not just your mind that gets bored of a routine workout, it’s your body too. It’s called muscle memory. When you do the same thing over and over, your body gets used to it. This is great for things like sports or learning choreography. It’s amazing that our muscles have memory, and things that were once difficult become second nature (like driving, for instance). But there’s also a downside to that. Have you ever noticed that when your muscles know what to expect in a workout you don’t get sore anymore? Soreness gets drastically reduced as you get stronger, but it should never disappear completely. You’ll notice that doing the same thing over and over gets you results at the beginning, but after a while it seems to not work anymore. So here’s the tip: keep your body guessing! Every once in a while, change up your workout to something you don’t usually do. This is where group exercise classes and personal trainers come in really handy (shameless promo), because your instructor or trainer is doing that thinking work for you! You just show up, and they take it from there. It takes some creativity to think up a new safe and effective workout all the time, so take advantage of those classes or hire a personal trainer and soak in the soreness! :) 

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4) Set a Goal. 
We are goal oriented people. Without a purpose or a drive, we fall apart. Same thing with working out. If you don’t have a goal or some kind of drive to keep you going, chances are you’re not going to last long in the gym. For me, working out has become part of my life. It’s not like dieting to where I start with the intention to one day stop. But it didn’t begin that way. The thought of voluntarily sweating seemed crazy to me, and so I had to set some goals in order to stick with it. This is where accountability comes into play, and this is why I love teaching classes so much. To inspire someone else in something that makes you come alive is one of the greatest things ever. I get to help break down fears and lies that people carry with them into class, and watch them become empowered as they make incredible leaps toward health. And no, for me it’s not just about looking and feeling awesome. We get to work hard and explore first hand how intricately God has created us. We get to push beyond limits we’ve formed for ourselves and experience God at our very weakest moments, and then step back and watch Him do His work and pick us up when we have no strength to lift ourselves. We get to serve Him in greater and more vast ways the healthier we are, because we have no physical issues limiting us from His work. Even if you don’t enjoy group classes, find a friend to workout with, and commit to helping and encouraging each other. You will go farther if you’re not alone.

I would encourage you to plan out your workout before you get to the gym. Think about what you want to achieve in today’s workout. What exercises will you do today? Pick out specifics and set reps. Our temptation when working out alone is to workout until it hurts, and then stop. I even do this when I’m by myself if I don’t plan ahead. You go in, you do a few reps, it burns, you think, “Eh, that’s good enough” and move on to the next thing. Don’t do it! Set your reps and finish them, even if you have to take a break or two. Remember what I said about not sacrificing form for finishing fast. Take it slow, complete it, and walk out of the gym with the satisfaction that you gave it your all.

Also, set some long-term goals. Do you like running? Sign up for a race and train for it. I personally don’t enjoy running the most out of everything else, and really can’t understand the runners’ high. But I signed up for a half-marathon in January because I want to challenge myself beyond what I’m naturally good at. You don’t have to sign up for a half-marathon, but challenge yourself in proportion to where you are in your fitness journey, and move forward!

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5) Stretch. 
One of the most important parts of a workout is the cool down. When you hit it hard in the gym, be careful to not just finish your last rep and walk away. Take a lap or two around the track, and then stretch. Too many times at the end of a class I’ve watched people get up and start putting their equipment away as soon as I start the stretch. Some people see it as a waste of time (hello America, slow down!). Your body NEEDS this. The more you workout, the tighter your muscles get. Picture a rubber band being stretched tight. If you never release that rubber band, but keep pulling and pulling, it’s eventually going to snap. Same thing with our muscles. If you don’t stretch, you’ll lose range of motion, and you’re practically proclaiming an invitation for injury, whether it be a pulled muscle or even a tear. All of this can be prevented by committing about 10 mins after every workout to stretching (the longer, the better). Your body will love you for it. It’s also a great opportunity to intentionally slow down and breathe. I always go to a darker room if I can and either listen to some calm music or simply sit in silence (but I really love silence, I’m weird like that). I close my eyes and just breathe deeply. It helps this busy body to remember to slow down and just be. I’m naturally a doer, and I often equate being busy to being efficient (they are not the same thing). Do your body and your mind a favor, and stretch!

If you have no idea on how or where to start on stretching, let me know, and I’ll gladly send you some ideas!

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There are tons of other things you can do that I’m sure would help you in your fitness journey, but these are just a few practical ones that have helped me, and I know have helped others as well. Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that you can find the same excitement and fun that I and so many people I know have found in working out! May we move, and breathe, and have our being in Christ, and may He give you the strength to serve Him well!