Insanity: Max 30 Week One – Complete!

So I read the term “doesn’t hoist my particular sails” as a way of saying, “I’m just not that into him/her/it,” and I think it’s my new favorite saying. That being said, hot damn ladies and gentlemen it is Friday. I love Friday. Does anyone not love Friday? I mean, even when I worked weekend mornings, Friday nights were always nice and quiet nights in that I looked forward to. Now that I have a job with regular hours, I like it even more. When I get off of work today, this never fails, I get two full days off to do whatever I want. Can we just take a minute to remember this? I mean, in all reality, I can do whatever I want when I get off at 5pm during the week but I usually save that time for obligations and commitments (I’m looking at you, laundry). That way, I get to spend Saturday and Sunday being either the laziest or most social person ever. This weekend I have both days at least relatively planned out:

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

Saturday – Hot Yoga, coffee, travelling to PA to visit friends and get Neato Burrito, then Wegmans. I can’t describe to you how much I love Neato Burrito and I haven’t had it since last May. I shunned it for a long while after a break up but like, the craving is so real.

Sunday – My first ever Spinning class (!), then some meal prep and coffee with a friend. And then Walking Dead. I am still in denial after the mid-season finale so I’m not even going to talk about it or I will throw my keyboard.

I think that’s a pretty nice looking weekend set up there. I kind of want to applaud myself. Anyway, I’ve set up my list of things (I’m still looking for ideas for food, though I’ve added a few) and it’s looking pretty nice. I even added giving blood to my list because I never have and I probably should. I don’t want to. I would rather run screaming through the streets in my underwear (I wish I could say I’ve never done this before) than have a long needle shoved in my arm but it does something valuable and I probably should do it at least once. Not this weekend though!

spinning classMy friend Taylor (who will likely be dragged to a lot of these new ‘first time’ events) and I are going to our first spinning class, as I mentioned. I wanted to go somewhere that was specifically for cycling, rather than a gym that has cycling classes. We’re checking out a place in Gaithersburg. I will have more information for you on Sunday! I fully intend on bringing a barf bag and will probably use it and I’ve pretty much accepted that. I never pictured getting excited for a class that included “free weights” as a part of the already intense spinning class. But, more on this later.

Today ended my first week of Insanity: Max 30. Now, my only past history of Insanity or any other Beachbody workout (i.e. P90X,  T25, other letter and number combinations) is one futile attempt at the original Insanity and one P90X workout that I couldn’t do properly because I didn’t have a pull up bar latched over my college apartment door. The former was the recovery workout and my little sister and her then boyfriend watched from the couch and laughed at me absolutely dying (not my prime). The latter was a genuine workout but I couldn’t do it properly because I was a.) probably closing in on 170 pounds on a 5’2″ frame that’s really not supposed to be that much and b.) I had no idea how to properly do any hardcore workout like that. I did try a Jillian Michaels video once but I distinctly remember absolutely hating it because of running man. Cheerleading, swimming, other sports that have some sort of overseer to keep me from murdering myself, etc. are the things I usually lean toward. It’s also one of the reasons I love my yoga classes so much. Little chance to majorly fuck up. But after seeing the freaking fabulous results my friend Taylor is getting from Insanity (if you’re reading this: you go girl), I kind of had to try it. If only to build up my tolerance to HIIT before going back to Soldierfit regularly so I don’t promptly puke and die. Which, knowing me, is pretty possible.

So, readers, I’m not sure how much you know or care about Insanity, but it’s two different sets of workouts for the first and second month. Each day is different, and the following month each day has the same basic idea (Monday is cardio for both months, Friday is the most brutal, etc.), but the second month is way more intense. I think I’m going to do a weekly review to check in on how I’m feeling.

The Workouts:

Monday – The cardio for some reason brutalized me. I found myself following the modifier a lot because that much jumping will straight result in me giving myself a black eye. And if you don’t know how that’s possible, you aren’t a well-endowed woman. Also reminded me to quit smokininsanity shitg for good.

Tuesday – I accidentally switched my Tabata classes. Tuesday I should’ve done Tabata Power but I did Tabata Strength, which was the harder of the two (in my opinion). The 10 second rest that tabata usually had wasn’t a rest, but a jog. Or, in floor exercises, child’s pose (so, that was sort of a rest). Brutal. Felt pretty darn sore the next day.

Wednesday – “Sweat Intervals” is the name and it didn’t lie. At all. It told the total truth. Ouch. Brutal.

Thursday – Tabata Power (what I’m supposed to do on Tuesday) was probably my favorite workout. Really challenging, a lot of push ups and tricep dips. Great ab work. I really liked this one.

Friday – “Friday Fight Night Round 1”. Holy god. Combines aspects from all of the other classes. Want to die. Had to actually pause the video once to both let my dog out and dramatically drape my body across the ottoman. Such a hard class. Great ending to the week. A lot, if not all, of these have plyometrics in them, which I kind of hate but only because I suck at it.

Overall thoughts: 

I really like it. I love that it’s a half hour long, the workouts are a nice way to burn a decent amount of calories (I’ve read it can range from 300-500 calories for someone of my general weight, depending on how hard I push) and I can fit it in before work, which
handstandmotherfuckaI appreciate. I’m really not a fan of after work exercise unless it’s running or yoga because I use those to de-stress. It’s definitely hard but I look forward to the challenge. I also bought the E&E (Energy and Endurance) pre-workout at the suggestion of my friend Taylor. I told her that I needed something to wake me up in the morning because getting up at 6 a.m. is still difficult. She raved about how well it worked and I tried it and while it tastes like lemony butthole, it definitely wakes me up. Once I’ve used it up, I’ll probably try another, but I like it a lot effect-wise. I love Shaun T though, I have no idea why. He’s just so fun. I often respond to him when he asks the camera a question (not crazy), but it’s usually full of expletives. This morning there was a “Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker why do you hate me-” rant.

I have an ab video I can do tomorrow, so I’m going to try that before I go to hot yoga. Because why not prequel a really hard workout with a really hard workout? And if you don’t think hot yoga is a hard workout, please come to Sol Yoga and have Luke as your instructor in a 90 degree room then feel free to eat your words, I’ll wait. This week also included almost two hours of aerial yoga, but I don’t want to write too much about that until next week. There will be photos and I will look like a magician.

That all being said, hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Get ready for burrito and spinning pictures. Not at the same time. Dear god not at the same time.

– a.

Hot Yoga Made Me a Masochist

Fall...?

Fall…?

 

I’m not going to promise to write within any amount of time anymore because it clearly sets me up for failure. That being said, holy shit it’s Autumn. Did anyone else do the stop, turn left, turn right, narrow your eyes, and then slowly turn your head left again? Because I totally did. What I think is probably weirdest is that it’s 50 degrees today and that feels chilly, when in Spring it feels like angels are bathing me in joy and light. Like, why? I really think it’s psychosomatic but who knows for sure. If it’s an excuse to get a cute new jacket I’m totally going to run with it.

So, the rest of this summer has been super eventful. Mia familia went to the West Coast and it was never the same. I think we realized, as a whole, how much we have a tendency to bicker. All families do, sure, but my family is A+ BONUS points good at it. And usually it’s good-naturedly bickering at each other, arguing for the sake of arguing. It was a stressful week – a lot of sitting and driving and looking and going here here here and here; but it was probably one of the cooler vacations I’ve ever been on. We went to Crater Lake, which, everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. We devilschurnstopped in the Redwoods National Park and hugged some really big trees – that actually may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. We hiked probably a total of three miles and it was incredible. I honestly can’t put it into words. Everyone was pretty quiet that entire hike, just looking at the trees. We spent a few days at the beach in Newport, Oregon, which was super freaking cold. But we also stopped at Devil’s Churn, which other than turning into a “let’s all get as close as possible to the death pool” adventure, was massively cool. My poor mother nearly had a heart attack because we kept inching closer and closer.

Safety first, everyone. San Francisco was awesome, though stupid packed. I think it’s the kind of city I’d love to go back to with friends and check out more of the hip and trendy areas as opposed to stereotypical touristy places. On our drive from Newport to San Francisco (oh, yeah, that happened), we stopped in Sonoma for an hour or two to check out some of the big name wineries. I think there’s a special weather that is only right there in Sonoma and Napa Valleys because it was 78 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous the entire time but before and after wine country was chilly and windy. Something’s up with that. I can’t even begin to really fit all of the goings on of that week in a blog post without taking up all of it but my favorite parts were the farm cafe we ate breakfast at with my brother and his wife (they live out there – hence the reason for the trip), Crater Lake, Cards Against Humanity with my family (unreal), the Redwoods National Park, trolling the college town we stayed in with my sister, and the Japanese place we ate at in San Francisco. I think by the end of the week we were all pretty ready for our own beds and Old Bay Seasoning, but it was truly an amazing time and I’m really grateful for the experience. Vacation week very well spent.

There's a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That's the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

There’s a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That’s the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

So the West Coast was incredible. After we got back, life went pretty back to normal. I received a promotion at work and am really, genuinely enjoying what I do, met a really nice guy who I’ve been seeing for the last two months, and found hot yoga. I can’t begin, I mean really can’t begin, to promote it enough. I love yoga; have the apps on my phone, yoga clothes in my drawer (other than just yoga pants because I’m pretty sure all females between the ages of 14-40 have at least one pair), prerequisite yoga mat and carrier in my backseat, etc. I am a huge fan. I have woken up, intentionally, at 6:30 a.m. to prostrate myself in a room full of other half-awake humans. I say “Namaste” at the end of a class and mean it. I genuinely enjoy sitting and meditating – at least for roughly 20 minutes and then it’s all, “oh my god why is it so quiet,” and “someone turn off the repetitive flute chords.”

I digress. On my birthday, I decided to hit a hot yoga class at a place in my home town with my friend, Taylor. Neither of us had tried it before but I think we both kind of assumed it’d be some asanas in a warm room. A little downward dog, a little corpse, some warriors thrown in for spice…and I have never sweated so much in my entire life. The room was easily near 100 degrees and it was aggressive. I mean, we moved fast. Hard things happened. Buckets of sweat poured from every place in my body sweat can come from. And minus the one gentleman who took “breathe vocally” as “make extremely angry orgasm sounds every time you exhale for an hour”, it was euphoric. Taylor and I turned to each other halfway through, both looking like boiled beets (which don’t sound very appetizing, I might add), and said, “This is freaking awesome.” The rest is pretty much history. Sure, there was a time when getting up from a goddess squat into Warrior II that I got tunnel vision and almost blacked out, but the first time I did a yoga headstand was also in hot yoga. I praise it to everyone.

Back in August, I think, I tried aerial yoga with my friend Vicky up in PA and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever tried, athletically. It still is super cool and I’m hoping to get back there in the next few weeks. But hot yoga challenges me, pushes me, makes me feel like 5’2″ of rubber and somehow I leave feeling like I can scale buildings. It’s hard. It’s really hard, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But since then, we’ve coerced a few other friends to join us and they’ve liked it just as much. I already loved yoga – the movement, the difficulty, the spiritually, the lightness afterward – but, this kind of yoga brings me to a place I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. I feel home in three places – my actual home, with my support group, and in a yoga studio. I know yoga definitely has a cult following of perky 20-somethings looking for their latest calorie-burning fix but it’s so much more and with the right instructor, it becomes a lot more. I used to do yoga on break at work in the rehab; found empty group rooms and tried not to break my neck in the 30 minutes. But now I find other time, when I can genuinely focus on it and really work. It really hurts, I really push myself, but I love it.

Now all I need to find is a good yoga top that doesn’t chance any Janet Jackson-esque slips while doing Sun Salutations. Lots and lots of back and forth, up and down…can get dangerous fast. And I wanted to tack on the end here that my friend Meara and I are challenging ourselves this month to write for our respective blogs every day. I have a tendency to really only write when I’m going through big changes, usually painful ones. Like break ups. I write when I go through break ups and it makes for a really depressing blog and I’m really not a depressing person so I’m making an effort to change. I’m also concurrently doing a challenge via tumblr called “Happy Healthy Holidays” that’s all about setting your own goals, but strongly encourages clean eating 80% of the time and working out at least 3x a week. I’m incorporating a morning workout into my work days…I really don’t want to but it’s become excruciatingly clear that evening workouts aren’t working because I’m usually too tired or have other important places to be. So, I’ll be up at 6 a.m. tomorrow. I’ll try to at least mention my workouts here, for accountability if nothing else. Now, I have to go prep my lunches for the week because yeah, that happened to. I plan so many things now. My neurosis is so happy.

It’s great to be back!

– a.

Cue Rocky Theme

So, it’s been over six months since my last post. I have no excuses, I just had preoccupations. I thought so regularly about wanting to post, even planned posts, but when it came down to actually sitting down and typing…I found myself not finding the time. Not making the time, really. A lot of things have happened for me since August 2013. I quit smoking (again) in September and have not had a cigarette for almost six months. I really committed to it this time and found a voice I had stuffed away in regards to friends smoking around me. And I quit cold turkey.

Holy crap, you guys. That wasn’t fun. Four days of bargaining, irritation, mood swings, cravings, headaches…awful. But afterward I was pleasantly surprised by how little I ever found myself craving one. And how rarely I even think about it now. It’s great.

I messed up some part of my hip/lower back (still not sure) pretty badly in August. I went to the doctor and he diagnosed it as the ever-feared “tweak of the back” that you’re always terrified of hearing. If you can’t hear my sarcasm, let me show you:

hangovergif Shortly after ‘diagnosing’ me, he made a grotesquely creepy comment about how flexible I am. Needless to say, I am never going back there ever again. Unfortunately, I still deal with almost daily pain and what could possibly be reoccurring hip dislocation…or something. I guess I’ll never know. Then, overcompensating, I pulled a muscle behind my left knee.

Basically, I haven’t been running. Or hiking. But on the plus side, I picked up hooping (yes, hula hooping) and have slowly been making progress with that. I’m still doing yoga, though admittedly, I’ve really fallen off with it recently. I used to hoop outside when the weather was nice or do yoga inside in an empty group room on my breaks at work.

Speaking of work, I no longer work at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center (!). While I wish I could have left on different terms with a few people, I have never received so much love and well wishes after leaving a job. I’ll miss my co-workers all deeply. The job itself? Not so much. Working so closely for so long in an often times thankless job is extremely draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s funny, I’d searched for a new job for six months while working there, but after I left (without a job set up), it only took me 15 days to have not one, but two job offers. I ended up taking an administrative job at a financial advising firm. Perhaps some things are just supposed to happen.

myjob

My reaction the first time sushi was presented to me for free.

I’m working much closer to home, 8:30-5 M-F, don’t have to worry about my dress clothes getting torn in a restraint, and have yet to have someone yell at me or call me a bitch…so all around positive transition. I’ve been there for almost two months now and I really like it. My co-workers are wonderful, friendly, and competent and hey…they buy me sushi. Big fan. I’m excited to see how this job progresses from here.

I’ve gotten really into meditation, some weeks more than others. But I have to tell you, it really does work wonders. I have one of those minds that runs on overdrive all of the time. As in constantly. I worry and nit pick and over-analyze. I’m super sensitive sometimes. Okay, all the time. But I’m aware of it and taking time to quiet my mind and just focus on being on a regular basis really helps to ground me. If that sounds like you, definitely try it.

Lastly, my love life. For a long time after Manthing, I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t want to, I knew it wouldn’t be healthy for me to try and get involved emotionally…or even physically. Which, if you know me, is a pretty big deal. So I worked on myself, built myself back up, swallowed the bitter pill of rejection (and then pettiness) and moved on with life. I haven’t gone back and read my last few posts yet because I don’t really need to delve back into the mind state I was in/getting through. In November, I (technically) re-met a guy from years before, who I’d known in slightly unconventional way. A while later, we started talking and it became romantic. I don’t think either of us expected it, I know I didn’t, but one day we both just dropped our walls and there the other person stood. He isn’t a Manthing, or Manfriend, or Friend-Who-I-Sleep-With-But-Don’t-Have-Set-Guidelines-With-Regarding-Our-Relationship or any other term from today’s hook up culture. He’s my, as childish as it sounds, boyfriend. Bfriend. My man. Like, whoa boy there’s a commitment there, boyfriend.

It’s not always super easy. He’s going through a lot of transitions in his life (divorce being one…never fun, always sad) and while he has a wonderful support network of friends and (most) of his family, he’s had a lot of bumps in the road. But I see this spark in his eye, this constant unwillingness to give up, and this strength of character that I have rarely seen in someone young. By young, I mean 27. He makes me laugh so hard, tests my patience (necessary), cleans up after me and let’s me clean up after him…like actual cleaning with vacuums, tells me the sweetest things all of the time (not just after we argue), and kisses me like it’s the first time every time. I’m constantly amazed by how steadfast he is, how imperfect (in a good way), how honest. I know that I am a very lucky recipient of him, all of him. And I’m very thankful. And the best part?

I didn’t lose myself. Have you ever fallen for someone (like I have before) and it’s not…really right? But you want it to be so you do everything in your power to make it right? You agree with things you disagree with, you never compromise only give in, you don’t say what’s really on your mind. You just hope that eventually, it’ll be right and you won’t have that nagging feeling that it’s not. I have felt that many times. And I stop doing everything that I love so as to make room for what ‘he’ would want me to love (aka how I feel I should change to be more worthy of someone’s love…not healthy btw!). I never once have felt that way with him.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

When I feel like I need to say something, I say it. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes he apologizes, sometimes I do, mostly we both do. I still have the solitude I need, time with my friends, hobbies I can do all on my own. And ditto right back to him. The best part? While the future, of course, looks very bright, I don’t feel like I have to focus on it. I can focus on now, today. It’s a wonderful thing.

But one of the main reasons that I found myself writing today, other than purely missing writing, sharing with others, and being a part of the blogging community, is because I fell off of the wagon. So hard. And by wagon, I mean that I’ve gained some weight. I don’t know how much, probably just enough for it to be considered new relationship weight, but I’m not okay with it. It’s not even the weight number itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I feel out of shape. I miss the way I felt when I was running and using my muscles regularly. I don’t want to be teeny tiny…at all. I want my quads back. So, back on the wagon of healthy food intake, regular exercise output, lots of picking things up and putting them down, and super dee duper accountability I go. This blog’s format won’t change much; I still like talking about things and stuff more so than online calorie counting, but a big part is going to be this transition. Which involves me admitting that I have slacked so very hard. Ice cream all the time. Chips chips chips. Everything must go…into my tummy. Immediately. While I don’t drink alcohol much anymore (byproduct of dating someone who doesn’t drink), which I’m actually a pretty big fan of, I have been consuming astonishing amounts of dairy products. Mostly cheese. And my stomach has been yelling at me so hard.

So tomorrow, I’m weighing myself. And posting it here. And going to the gym that I have been unknowingly paying $30 a month for these last three months when I thought my membership had ended and they just snuck themselves right on into my wallet. So, hello again! I’m excited to be back. Woohoo!

-a.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

How iPhone apps saved my life *

* I am being super melodramatic

Sorry all, I’m not dead, I didn’t give up on blogging, I just needed some time to downward spiral in my own head and then slowly work on bringing myself back up. On the downside, I had my trust broken again and have had to pick up the pieces on my own, but, on the upside I have fallen into a wonderful running rhythm, read a whole actual buttload of new books, actually sat down at the piano and attempted to play again for no reason other than my own pleasure, and interviewed for a few new jobs. One in particular I’m really hoping to hear back from but I’m not going to jinx myself. I have good days and bad days but luckily I’m human and I heal.

I actually read a wonderful line from a book I just finished: “I am stronger than my trials.” And I am. And I’ll be just fine.

Related to iPhone apps however, I have found some awesome ones. I mean awesome. You know when you download an app and you’re thinking, “Oh well, let’s just see…” and then you open it and play with it and end up making this face?:

Image

That’s what I did. About five times over in one night. I actually went to the App store to look for a meditation app, hoping to find something to help when I’m at work and don’t want to use the interwebs.

“Jonathan Goldman’s Chakra Tuner”

I’ve always been interested in the concept of the seven chakras and this app has both information and an actual ‘tuner’ that you can use. You can work on just one, my particular is the heart chakra, or the app offers a 7 minute chakra tuner. I’ve done it a few times before bed and it really does seem to ground and focus me. Sure, I felt a little silly making base noises along with Jonathan Goldman, but the app features non-synthesized chakra chimes. This app may not be for you if this isn’t your cup of tea, but the app is beautifully designed and it certainly helps bring me a sense of peace when I’ve been feeling anxious (which is frequently).

“Yoga Studio”

So, I’ve been slacking in my yoga. I am an awful yogi. My poor yoga mat looks sad and dejected in the corner of my room. My problem is that a lot of the yoga classes offered at my gym fall during times that I work and I just can’t afford lessons at an actual yoga studio right now. Maybe if I am offered the dream job I interviewed for this week….hopeful. Anyway, yoga studio is an app that offers pre-made yoga sequences with different focuses such as flexibility or strength. You can download whichever ones you want to your phone. It also has different levels, such as beginner or intermediate. The app also offers you the option of creating your own sequences, of which I am a huge fan. It also includes a section on poses and pose blocks, with videos. I am a huge fan of meditation or yoga during my break at work and this gives me portability and convenience. And the sequences are wonderful.

“Transform Your Life”

Cheri Huber created this beautiful app that I have very quickly fallen in love with, even though my dad said it seemed like a ‘chick’ app. It’s a simple app that each day gives you a quote to make you think and, hopefully, spiritually grow. Under the quote is an ‘assignment’ for the day. You can even set a timer to remind you to think about it. The whole point of the app is “awareness practice”. I strongly suggest you to check it out, if only just to make you think of interesting things. I’ve thought about using some of the assignments for groups at work. The introduction as a cartoon of a monk doing a cartwheel. Come on now.

“Free Hypnosis”

This app was created by Joseph Clough, an international trainer, therapist, and author. You have the opportunity download from a large range of free hypnosis sessions. You also can download ones that are more specific and pretty cheap, or he can create one specially for you. I’m not really sure how I feel about hypnosis, but I figure it can’t hurt to try and it helps me relax and sleep. He has some great motivational ones, especially one labelled “Remember Who You Are”. Something about it really gets me going and motivates me.

“All Trails”

My dad has a similar app by Northface but I like this one a lot. As an avid hiker and occasional trail runner, an app that locates where I am then locates trails around me is wonderful. Especially moving back to my hometown where I just wasn’t aware of many. Not only does it locate trails, it gives distance from you, distance of the trail, difficulty of the trail, the options for how to attempt the trails (some you can rock climb, that sort of thing). Hikers can also upload photos and give reviews for the trails. I think this is invaluable. Love it.

“Sleep Cycle”

A friend introduced me to the app and then I downloaded it on my own. This app is just plain cool. You place your phone under your sheet next to your pillow and it tracks how you sleep. It uses something in the phone to track your movements and then somehow from there deem how you’re sleeping. It records the data and can track sleeping patterns and oh it’s just so cool. I can’t even begin to describe all of the cool things you can do. Check it out. Just do it.

“RunKeeper”

I got this app through Sleep Cycle. The two can link up, which I think is cool. Seeing how my workouts affect my sleep quality? Super science-y and awesome. The app itself is similar to Nike Running +, or at least that’s what it feels like to me. However, you can choose from different activities like skating, swimming, elliptical, hiking, running…I think that’s nice because I don’t always run. You could get a heart rate monitor to work with it, which when I have money I will, and you can also track weight loss and create base plans. I like that there’s more to it, more versatility, and a connection with Sleep Cycle.

Some of the apps were free, some cost a few bucks. I think they were all well worth it. I’d been thinking about writing this post for a while; I once thought that most iPhone apps were wastes of space and money, all games that I’d lose interest in within a week, but I was wrong. There are some wonderful things out there and wonderful people making great tools.

Side note: I’ve lost eight pounds and kept it off – here’s to hoping for another ten! 🙂

Missed you all, missed being a part of the blogging community. I’ll write again very soon!

– a.

Late Night Hunger Pangs

As much as I am not a fan of it, I work second shift at my job about 90 percent of the time. This means, with my hour commute, I’m not home until 11:30pm-midnight five nights a week. While I was one of those kids that stayed up until 2-3am in college (and high school…whoops), my sleep schedule has somehow regularized itself over the past almost year since graduation. When it hits 11pm, I start yawning. I’m usually out by 12:30-1am and awake by 9-9:30am. The only problem? Sometimes I don’t even get off of work until 11pm. Frustrating? Extremely. I think it’s the hour commute that makes it the hardest. And I’m talking a no traffic hour commute, as in close to 60 miles. One of my main sticking points when looking for jobs now is, at least for the most part, regular hours. I have no problem going in early or staying late or working weird hours on occasion but I’m 23 and since picking up a job at 16, have yet to have any form of regular schedule, let alone weekends.

But that’s not why I decided to put down my book and write this post. What I noticed in the past probably couple months is that when I get home from work, no matter how much I ate or how well I spaced my meals out, I am hungry when I get home. Or even if I’m not that hungry, I automatically go to the fridge and open it. I’m fabulous at grazing the fridge and pantry as it is (boredom eater…I know), but it’s started to get pretty bad. I don’t understand why my body gets hungry at midnight, or wants me to eat at midnight. I’ve gotten good at meals being at 11am, 3:30-5pm (sometimes a snack, then a meal at 5), and again at 8. I don’t like eating at the whacked out times but I have to sit with 60 patients for a half hour at 5pm for their dinner and it’s really hard to not eat with them.

breakfastegg Generally, my meals are healthy throughout the day, though the past week I’ve noticed myself eating significantly more. For example, I made myself a hearty breakfast of egg, chicken, leftover jalapeno pesto, and swiss cheese atop toast (homemade bread, too!) and only two hours later I had made myself a smoothie of frozen fruit and broccoli, strawberry protein powder (wouldn’t do that again…chocolate instead), yogurt, a few chocolate pieces, and milk. Both were great healthy options but I didn’t need both and not within a two hour time span. I was stuffed for HOURS. I ate again later at work, nothing heavy, but still came home at midnight and managed to annihilate leftovers.

What I used to do in PA was mix frozen fruit with a few super dark chocolate chips and that satisfied me. Maybe it’s being home at my parents’ house that makes me want to eat more, even though overall they have less of a selection than I did. I think I had more fresh produce, weirdly enough. My parents are better at meal planning than I am, however. I just go to the store and see all the produce and think, “I could cook that? I could cook that!” I should start a cooking show and have that as my trademark.

So that’s what I did last night when I started wanting something in my belly. I think it’s kind of like my latenightsnackaddiction to smoking – I just want the familiarity and comfort of putting something in my mouth. All jokes aside, because I did just say “THAT IS WHAT SHE SAID” aloud too, I don’t like my nocturnal eating. I’ve done it since I was a kid, I used to sneak snack cakes (sorry Mom) and other like things. I don’t know where or why the habit came from but by now, I’m sick of it. So I think I’m going to do what I did with smoking – cut it short, then cut it out. I’m going back to the frozen fruit plan where I have a bowl of frozen fruit when I get home with my tea for a week or two, then I’m not letting myself eat when I get home anymore. I have to remind myself that I’m not actually hungry, if I were, I could’ve eaten at work where I have a stockpile of healthy frozen meals and dishes in the freezer. Last night I mixed frozen fruit, probably a cup, a 100 calorie packet of cocoa roasted almonds (favorite), and a small handful of M&Ms, because I’m out of my super dark chocolate. The M&Ms are my dad’s, I think. I am assuming these blossoming chocolate cravings are coming from his side of the family.

To complete my motivation fail out, I haven’t been to the gym in a week and a half. Okay, so some of you are probably rolling your eyes. For me, trying to get into shape, that’s a big deal. But, I do have plans to go Saturday as part of a girl’s day. Which I will be regaling to you in UTMOST DETAIL after Saturday. Man-thing and Taylor’s other roommate are out of town visiting family for the weekend so we are taking advantage of this rare momentous Saturday off! Well, it’s rare and momentous for me, not so much for her. Speaking of Man-thing, I had this weird moment the other night where I admitted that was uncomfortable with my body and didn’t like it very much and it made me shy sometimes and shameful. He, being a proper Man-thing, told me I had nothing to be ashamed of at all.

yogaclassI just need to get back into the swing of things and stop moping over my crap schedule. Yes, it sucks and yes for some reason I’m the only long term full-time staff member without a regular schedule now but I can roll with the punches and still go to classes. I’ve been a little freaked out about going to the yoga class on Thursday mornings though, because I felt like a total moron last time I went. I’m not sure why, it was Yoga 2, but I struggled with some of the moves and felt like I was in positions wrong. It was bizarre.manthing

Last bit – I went against the grain and dyed my hair dark for spring! I’m a brunette again! It’s actually darker than I intended, but, I still like it. Man-thing does too, I think. He had been trying to convince me to go dark red! By the way, I added the hyphen because every time I typed “Manthing”, I pictured a furry beast in a top hat.

Planning posts for the week as I type, because I’m finally out of my funk and back, baby!

-a.

Breaking Plateaus!

Today has been a day pretty full of self-love and self-improvement; I love days off like that! In honor of my finally breaking my weight loss plateau and hitting under 150 pounds, which I’ve been stuck at for about six months, I’m filling this post with inspiration of my own, that I’ve read from others, and links to help you feel good as well. sunset

When I say I’ve been stuck at 150 pounds for six months, it’s true but it’s because I slacked off continuing my lifestyle for a few months. What’s fabulous is that in two weeks, I’ve lost almost five pounds. And do you know why? Yes, because I was running and working my butt off sure, but also because I’d really started to feel good about myself again. I’m not sure if I started to feel good because I started working out or if I was just starting to appreciate myself again, but with my head in the right place, I feel more accomplished when I make a healthy eating decision, or work out extra hard (or when I reeeally don’t want to). What I lacked in the fall that kept me from continuing cross training when my shins were too messed up was a sense of self-love. I started getting into shape last summer because, as I said then, I wanted the “health gain”. It wasn’t for a guy, or a dress size, it was because I wanted to be healthy and strong and knew that being those would help me to be a happier, better adjusted person. In the fall, I started feeling pretty down on myself (previously mentioned) and basically just felt fat and useless most of the time. When I ran or worked out, it was out of self-hatred. I hated the way I looked, I didn’t want anyone to see me running, I wanted to complete my fitness journey in the dark so that I could step out the door one day and everyone would see how thin I was and, I don’t know, love me. backgroundme

Sounds pretty unhealthy, right? It was. So after a few months of irritating myself and dragging myself through the mud, I started to remember why I had began running in the first place, why I had really worked on my diet and watched what I ate. Not because I wanted everyone else to see me as a size two, but because I deserve it. I deserve to look in the mirror and like what I see. I deserve to feel energized, and be constantly amazed at what my body can do. I deserve to be strong, to participate in anything I wanted.

During a work training yesterday, I got into a pretty serious discussion with a co-worker that I’ve worked closely with since being hired (we have the same position) about my relationship beliefs, and eventually, why she and I were who we were. I had never known that she struggled with appearance issues because she is a thin, beautiful, healthy, and level-headed woman. Not that I believed I was the only woman who dissected every single angle of her body, but because I, like a lot of people, equate beauty with happiness. Thinness with health. And that’s not how it is. Thin, beautiful people can be happy! But they can also be unhealthy, or miserable. Every other body shape (I started listing them but it took forever) is beautiful too! And can be healthy!

As women, hell, as people, we get into this awful tendency to talk so negatively about ourselves. We bond with friends over things about ourselves we want to change. meangirlsIn fact, we rely on others to make us feel good about ourselves because complimenting ourselves is…what…cocky? There is no point to my eating all natural, working out intensely, or even practicing yoga regularly unless I’m doing it out of an act of love.

A fabulous blogger whose page I adore/read religiously, Piloting Paper Airplanes, recently wrote a post about self-blaming and the power our own words and beliefs hold over us. I’ve linked it above. I took a lot, I mean a lot, from it. Whenever you’re having an off day, read it. It’ll perk you right up. She brings up the point that there is no point to trying to improve our own health unless we look at all aspects of our health. In my case, why strain to get better at yoga but not strive to deepen my meditation?

Have you ever seen a before/after of people who have been airbrushed? If you haven’t, or even if you have and you want another pick me up, look at this: 17 Mesmerizing Before & After Photoshop GIFs. It’s a wonderful reminder that nobody is as pretty as they look in a magazine. Except Megan Fox. She just isn’t fair.

Finishing up my recipes and work out post – up tonight or tomorrow morning!

Because I’m feeling like it –

Namaste

-a.

 

Trading my soleus for a 5k

Let’s first point out how hilarious my pun title turned out. …It’s Monday, I tried. It was surprisingly nice today, even though I was only really able to enjoy it on my drive home from work (poor timing Batman). Yesterday ended on a strong positive note – I finally got off of the couch and had a productive day. Folded laundry that had been begging to be remembered, cleaned a room that looked like a storm had hit it (okay, it was my bedroom), went to the gym and kicked my butt all the way into mid-week, and spent some quality time cuddling on the couch with Sun Chips. No, I was not physically cuddling with a bag of Sun Chips. Please erase that image.

Cartoon1

Or commit it to memory, your choice. I was cuddling with a human, and it was adorable. Except when we decided to put “The Raven” on and I completely geeked out over a man being sliced in half. The lights weren’t even off! I’m more of a fan of thriller, less gore. If you want my opinion of the movie, I’d give it, but it probably wouldn’t be super positive. Dying for love has never been a romantic ideal for me, so that ruins a lot of the premise of the resolution.

But the Sun Chip laziness and glory was so worth it after the butt-kicking. I (finally) went to the gym yesterday afternoon after contemplating an outdoor run for, oh, four hours. The wind had picked up and every time I thought about my eyes and nose dripping for two miles, I found myself back under my fleece blanket on the couch. I hadn’t been to the gym in a while, honestly. I’ve been running at home outdoors and hiking as much as possible. So, it was a nice change of scenery (how weird does that sound? A gym? Scenery?). Now, I used to hate treadmills. I mean loathe, despise, cringe at, etc. They were not my cup of ANYTHING. This is, I think, because when I was younger, I tried to run on one and it felt like every time I came down it made a super loud noise and it felt like I was sort of bouncing.

Basically, I felt fat. But earlier this week when I ventured back onto one at the hotel, I had one of the best runs I’d completed in a long time. It was magical. I set my pace and was a lot better at keeping it than when I run outside, I was able to watch my little red dot go around the the 5k trail on the screen, and I knew how many calories I had burned, how long I’d been running, and how far I’d gone instantaneously. My iPhone can do the same thing in regards to the information, true, but as someone who really struggled (and still actively does) with shin, knee, and hip problems, I love the option of just stopping if things get painful. If I’m outside, I could still be a solid mile or so from home.

So instead of running the two miles I’d intended, I ended up completing a 5k! And if you look at the photo I took of my treadmill, I was super smooth taking it by the way, you can tell that I am not an extremely talented runner. Yet. My goal now is to train over the next 2-3 months to run a 10k, and run it straight through.

treadmill

I’m going to be tweaking the novice plan I found here to fit my own needs and issues, which I’ll put up on this blog. April-May is the goal for running a 10k for me; as a swimmer rather than a runner for years and years, finally setting race dates would be fantastic. But, this plan starts with the ability to run three miles without stopping and while I can finish a 5k, I can’t run it straight through. So, I’m going to give myself extra time to build up and make sure I’m increasing the mileage at a rate that won’t cause me injuries. I do like the cross training, and I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, you all will be seeing the work out updates here! Which, along with ‘recipes’, will be another tab on my menu shortly. Yay!

My workout ended with some hip work (adductions and abductions, for killer strength) and bicep work. I expected to be sore today but was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t much more than the occasional twinge you get when you know you had a good workout, but didn’t push yourself too far. After my fabulous workout, I treated myself to what every red-blooded, high energy 23-year-old should have: a Grande Skim Cappuccino! Now, I usually try to support local businesses more than corporations, but the Starbucks was right there and I had a gift card that I’d been holding on to since Christmas.

aftergym

I’m pretty honest about myself, folks. I’m not a 115lb marathon runner (yet!). I’m most certainly a work in progress. But I think that’s what can make for interesting reading sometimes. I love reading blogs about people who have already gotten ‘there’, who already have it all. But I don’t, and I know there are a lot of others who don’t either. I’m naturally a curvy person and I ate a lot of Sheetz in college. It was delicious, but it stayed with me. And now I’m trying to become the strongest, healthiest person I can. It’s not easy, but it’s a fun adventure.

When I got home, after driving around dancing rather like a maniac to Ciara’s “Goodies” and other classics, I ate one huge bowl of my dad’s homemade bean soup. It was vegan, which made me eye my dad confusedly, but so good. To increase my protein intake even more (and because I was sick of craving ice cream), I made myself a chocolate peanut butter protein shake. And enjoyed every creamy second of it. I’ll post the recipe below but I’m going to be updating it soon – I’m trying out this PB2 stuff I’ve seen all over fitness blogs. I love peanut butter, so much, but it does have the downside of high fat content.

beanstewToday I woke up and basically threw myself into my car – having a cappuccino at 6pm pretty much threw off my sleep schedule entirely so I slept until 7am then had to dash out the door. I swung by the (local!) coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and Nova Lox bagel for breakfast. Nova Lox bagel is a black russian bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, tomato, and capers. I always ask for “extremely sparse” cream cheese, otherwise they dollop it on heavy. Absolutely delicious. Lunch was my work’s attempt at Shepherd’s pie, which will never be as good as an ex’s friend used to make it (go figure), and after a few more harried hours of me basically running around throwing paper, I came home and ate a big ol’ bowl of leftover chicken and asparagus risotto. I didn’t take a picture of it, because I ate it directly out of the Tupperware. I’m not sorry.

As promised – the beginning of my Novice Training Plan Tweak!

Because Sunday is the “big run” day, Hal suggests that Monday be a “Stretch and Strengthen” day to help sort of rest the muscles while still getting a work out. He didn’t specify length of time or too much into what exercises one could do, so I picked a few ones that I could do in my bedroom. For the last two exercises, I used a medicine ball. By the way, I love medicine balls. It’s a little creepy.

StretchandStrength

Good luck! I say 20 reps because I like doing two sets of 10, but however you do it is up to you. Now, I’m going to drink my Yogi tea and listen to some more Disney songs. And probably draw a cartoon of me hugging a medicine ball.

If you want my Dad’s recipe – let me know and I’ll add it next time!

How do you like to treat yourself after a good workout?

Have you ever used a training program before? How did it turn out? Did you like it?

 

-a.