No rest days in August … #cfgstreak

This week has been a really fun!! I didn’t make anymore new dishes after my sucessfull smoothie and salad endeavors on Monday, but, as previously mentioned, I’m doing the City Fit Girl Challenge (#cfgstreak)…. 31 days straight of physical activity through the month of August. I’m not going to lie, it has helped me immensely. I understand this may sound dramatic as it has only been five days, but there have been several occassions throughout the week where I would have taken a rest day and didn’t. I pushed myself to get up and keep moving. It also got me to take more pictures, which I often forget. But, in this instance, I was motivated by fear. Fear of being the chick with the boring tweets .. Worked like a charm!!!

I previously shared my Monday workout, so I begin my post with Tuesday … my girlfriend and I had a dinner date. I was lucky, ordinarily dinner after work means an early morning wake up to exercise, but she is a workout machine. We decided to go to go to CorePower Yoga before our outing… we took corepower 2. It kicked my butt. By the end, I was dazed from the intensity of the workout … my hands were waterlogged and my hair drenched in sweat. I loved it, but was sure I would be sore in the next day or two.
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Wednesday, I wasn’t sore at all!! However, as the day moved on, I got tired. So much so, I may have ordinarily taken a I rest day, but I pushed through and took a little two mile run after work. I’m so glad I did. I didn’t need a rest day at all. Three minutes in, all the tiredness washed away and I was trucking!!
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I celebrated Thirsty Thursday with a post work happy hour. However, this time, I was with folks unwilling to join me for an intense sweaty yoga class before the bar … that means I had to get up at 5:30 am for kettlebells in my family room. This serves as another example when I may have nixed the workout, turned over and gone back to sleep, but I’m too damn competitive for that… Sadly, my kettlebell photo is not uploading … http error. I can’t fix it now as I’m on a train, but I can describe what I did… I used a routine previously mentioned in this blog from Be Well Philly.
Try it!! It’s full body … My favorite:

20 kettlebell swings
10 squat thrusts with high pull
20 reverse lunges with kettlebell
10 pullovers
20 kettlebell crunches
10 lateral lunges with overhead press
20 kettlebell chest presses
10 lunge rows
20 ab twists
Repeat!!

This morning, I got up for a quick mile run … that counts according to the CFG Streak criteria …
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Now, John Paul and I are on our way to NYC to visit some friends. I brought my workout clothes in hope the opportunity to exercise presents itself. Im looking for a yoga class or quick run … maybe even my own workout in the airbnb, otherwise, I will pick up where I left off Monday … looking forward to a fantastic weekend!!!

City Fit Girls Work out Challenge … #cfgstreak

It’s Monday and my week is already off to a fantastic start! Yesterday, I dragged myself to the gym … I did not want to go. It has been so hot that I just want to lounge in a pool and drink margaritas. But, I forced myself to go to the gym and, as expected, I’m thrilled that I did … I started week six of the couch to 5k program … Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: Jog 5 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, Jog 8 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, and Jog 5 minutes … I cooled down with a walk home from the gym.

Today, I began the thirty one day fitness challenge from City Fit Girls. The goal is to workout every day in the month of August and then post your workout via social media with #cfgstreak … workouts include running a mile, a half hour tabata, an hour of yoga, a spin class, boot camp, kickboxing etc. So, after work, I went back to the gym where I was supposed to start with a brisk five minute walk followed by 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and ten minutes running, however, I felt so great after 10 minutes that I just kept going … 20 minutes total. No walking. I proceeded to a 60 minute still yoga at Soujourn. First day of the CFG challenge down, thirty more to go … I posted both my workouts together on twitter.

In addition to a couple of great workouts, I started Monday off with a smoothie of kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, blueberries, pear and a tablespoon of honey. It looks disgusting. I tried to make it more appealing by garnishing it with a few blueberries, but they kept sinking.

smoothie

Regardless, this smoothie was delicious. And, I have left over ingredients to make more tomorrow … John Paul doesn’t like green smoothies so it is all for me!!!

For lunch, I made my own version of a super food salad…..

chicken

Kale, romaine, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, dried cranberries, a quarter of an avocado, and four ounces of chicken. I mixed in Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado dressing. It was awesome!

Couch to 5K …. Week Five. Four weeks to go!!!

Thank goodness it’s the weekend. I am ready for some relaxation after a busy week. Workout wise, I finished week 5 of the couch to 5k. Day one was described in my earlier blog post … day two was a brisk five minute warm up walk, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of walking. I walked home as my cool down and did a lot of stretching. The third and final day of week five had to take place at 6am Friday morning #dedication. It’s actually because I bailed on working out on Monday, which messed up my schedule and I needed to squeeze in my workout … Day three was a brisk five minute walk followed by twenty minutes of running and a five minute cool down walk. While i made it through just fine despite some muscle stiffness of the early morning, I felt like this was a large jump if you have never run before. I am used to training programs that start with running as much as I can whether it be three minutes or three miles and slowly add on more time every week. This training schedule has been effective for me in the past, but I wanted to try something new so I am sticking to my current regiment.

In other news, I went to Apollo Grill in Bethlehem Friday. It was fantastic. I had the Superfood Salad and my mouth is watering just thinking about it now …. Spinach, kale, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almonds, crumbled blue cheese, strawberry- and a light lemon vinaigrette. I wanted so very badly to take a picture, but I was at a work lunch and felt it may be inappropriate. I will just have to try and recreate this salad in the near future and take a picture of my own salad then!!

As the week ended, I promised myself I would relax all weekend, however, it occurred to me this morning that I did no weight training this week. So, I felt obliged to make it up with early morning Flow at Sojourn. It was hard …. dragging myself out of bed early, but completely worth it. I feel great. Now, I plan to add some bailey’s to my coffee to take on a walk with John Paul … it is that kind of day.

Spinach and Tortellini Salad

On Monday, I got up at 5:30am to start week five, day 1 of the couch to 5k workout, but a severe thunderstorm hindered my ability to get out of bed. I tried to get up so early because I was supposed to play tennis with my dad after work, but, due to excessive heat, we ended up drinking wine and eating sushi … it was fun. So, since, due to excessive weather trouble, Monday turned into a rest day, I went to the gym promptly after work Tuesday for for a brisk five-minute warm up walk proceeded by the following: jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes. This puts me at 15 minutes of running … half way to a 5k … exciting!! I cooled down with a walk to the Craft Beer Store to meet up with John Paul for some wind down beers.

beer

After a beer or two, I had every intention of going home to make Spinach and Tortellini Salad from the website, 3 Boys Unprocessed, but it turned into something more like this ….
Ingredients:
1 package of Sausage Tortellini
1 carton of Cherry Tomatoes
1 bag of Spinach
4oz log of goat cheese
3 tbs Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Directions.
Cook Tortellini according to package. My package called for salt … I left it out as I am trying not to put extra salt in my diet … the tortellini was still delicious. Drain pasta and let cool in fridge. While pasta is cooling, cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop spinach into bite size pieces and crumble goat cheese. Mix all mentioned ingredients thoroughly. Add Cilantro Avocado Dressing, or any dressing of your choice and mix thoroughly.
Finished product (dinner and lunch):

Finished productLunch

It was fantastic! And, I had plenty of left overs for lunch for me and John Paul for the rest of the week. I don’t ordinarily like having pasta for lunch, especially tortellini, but tortellini mixed with spinach and tomatoes and a minimal amount of cheese is a perfect mid day meal! I would love to try the originial recipe provided by Dana, the author of 3 Boys Unprocessed, but for now my altered recipe is another idea to store in my recipe index!

Lunch at Terrain

The second half of my week was jammed packed with physical activity. Wednesday was my rest day, but my building at work had yoga at lunch. I attended with my co-workers. It was more like bed yoga … relaxing, stretching yoga, but it got me away from my desk and moving in the middle of the day.

Thursday, I got up at 5:30am and went to the gym to complete day two in week four of the couch to 5k program Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes. I warmed down with my walk home from the gym. I wish I had the motivation to get up that early everyday … once it is over, I feel great for the rest of the day.

Friday, after work, I went to Yoga Sculpt at Corepower Yoga. Amazing class that combines, weights, yoga and cardio in one quick hour. And, it was the third yoga class I was able to attend this week.

Saturday, I completed day three of week four in couch 2 5k. Then, my mom and I went to Terrain in Glen Mills for lunch. The food and atmosphere we perfect. We sat inside and shared the Quinoa Salad (spinach, olive, feta, olive oil and salmon) and the Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad (burrata, arugula, white wine vinaigrette and shrimp). We completed our meal with Triple Berry Buttermilk Cake (lemon curd, vanilla bean buttercream). Way too much food, but worth it all!!

SALMON2 Shrimp 2

Post lunch, I went too burn some of it off with swim in my friend’s pool … it started raining shortly after I arrived, but it was fun while it lasted.

I didn’t cook or prepare or make any food for the week except for overnight oats. Instead, I finished off the weekend with a swim on Sunday afternoon followed by a long walk to hit my 10,000 steps on fitbit.

Sojourn Yoga and Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats

Tuesday began week 4 of the couch to 5k work out: Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes. The entire sequence takes 26.5 minutes. I added an additional 3.5 minutes to make it an even thirty and= to cool down … I have noticed this workout training guide does not include cool downs … I imagine stopping abruptly is not advised and, have been adding a cool down to all my runs even if it is just walking home from the gym. Immediately following, I went to a 7:30 flow class taught by Marilyn to Sojourn Yoga in Drexel Hill to stretch myself out. Sojourn is my absolute favorite yoga studio … it’s so peaceful. And, the owner, Liz, is the person who introduced me to yoga … she is the best. It’s just a nice place to be and I felt great upon leaving.
At home, we had mac and cheese left overs … not a good idea. The dish was much better the day of.

However, my attempt at healthy cooking did not end with mac and cheese. Every day this week, I have been making overnight oats with peanut butter and banana for breakfast. I picked this recipe up from someone in one of my fitness classes, but it was so along ago, I don’t remember who or when taught me. It’s slightly high in calorie, but keeps me full all morning.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup natural whole grain old fashion oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
1 banana

To make:
Mix all ingredients together in a small container of your choice. i use Tupperware so i can bring it to work in the morning. Let mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, stir mixtures, heat in microwave, stir again and enjoy. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I add an equal packet.

Healthier Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese in 15 Minutes

Woo hoo!! This week was fantastic! I got right back into the routine of working out and trying to cook healthy meals. Due to my missed week of training, I busted out week three of the couch to 5k in two days, Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then two repetitions of the following: Jog 90 seconds, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 3 minutes, Walk three minutes. The first session, as previously mentioned, was on Sunday followed by 4 sets of Tabata. On Monday, I repeated the sequence twice and nixed any weight training.

I went home and made 15 Minute Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese from Ambitious Kitchen …. Slightly modified. I was thrilled to find this recipe. I am a huge mac and cheese lover, but always try to stay away from it because it is so unhealthy, but this recipe offered a great alternative. I put a link above to the original recipe, but here is what I did:

16 oz whole grain Rottini (only because this is what we had in the house and I have been wanting to use it).
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 package GO Veggie! Lactose and Soy Free Cheddar Shreds (about 2 ½ cups)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 head of broccoli
Several dashes of Garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Cook noodles according to package directions in a large pot. This is important … I accidentaly used a small pot and it was a disaster. I recovered, but it was irratating. A few minutes before pasta is finished cooking, addd chopped brocolli. Drain cooked pasta and broccoli and pour back into the pot. Return to heated stove. Reduce heat to low and immediately add in butter, almond milk and GO Veggie! Cheddar Shreds. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until cheese begins to melt and form into a nice and thick sauce … If the sauce is to thick, add more Almond Milk. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. And, finish with pepper to taste. Makes about 7 servings.

I loved it and so did John Paul … the cheese was gooey and delicious. However, my girlfriend hated it …. she and her family thought there was a funny after taste to the cheese … She added a ton of hot sauce and it all worked out. I didn’t detect an after taste, but she also did not include the garlic, bread crumbs and pepper. I will be adding this to my recipe index for future use.

Shoe Less Workouts

This was a hell of a week. Work was hard and my ankle blew up on Monday so I could not get a good work out in to clear my head … I didn’t even do the couch to 5k training. I took Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday completely off… No workouts. I attempted to put on my sneakers on Wednesday as the swelling had gone down considerably, but it didn’t work out … my ankle swelled right back up again. By Thursday, I was itching to get back into my routine. To avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s shoe incident, I resorted to shoe less activity that could be done in my living room … Yoga for Core Strength, Yoga for Toned, Strong Arms, and, my favorite, Yoga for Runners:


Friday, there was no time for a full workout, but I started walking to the train again …. I took off for the week to let my ankle heal. And, I went on a long walk at lunch. Through out the day, I walked approximately 5 miles.

On Saturday, I still was a little apprehensive about putting my sneakers back on, plus, I got sucked in to Mr. Robot. Excellent show. I was on a major time restriction because I had to leave my house by 4pm to go to a graduation party and also get to at least episode nine of Mr. Robot. So, I proceeded to work out in my family room. 100 Push-ups, 100 Rowers, 100 Squats and two minutes of planking. I broke them into sets of twenty five and did twenty five kettlebell swings:

  • 25 push-ups
  • 25 kettlebell swings
  • 25 rowers
  • 25 kettlebell swings
  • 25 squats
  • 25 kettlebell swings
  • thirty seconds of planking
  • 25 kettlebell swings
  • Repeated three more times.

I completed the workout with Five Turkish Getups on each side.

Today, I started week three of the couch to 5k training plan: Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following: Jog 90 seconds, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 3 minutes,
Walk three minutes. I wanted to do more than two sets, but decided not to push it. I jogged home and continued my workout with a little tabata training. I did four rounds … each round includes 8 sets of twenty seconds separated by ten second breaks:

Round One:
Plank Jacks
Jumping Jacks
Round Two:
Squats
Kettlebell Swings
Round Three:
Rowers
Mountain Climbers
Round Four
Push-ups
Plank Roll to Plank

Proceeding my workout, John Paul and I went for a long walk to continue with our ongoing quest to find pokemon followed by a trip to Dairy Queen … it is National Ice Cream Day!

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Philly Pop Up Yoga

Yesterday, I was supposed to complete day one of week three of couch to 5k training schedule, go on a pokemon go walk with John Paul and cook a healthy dinner. None of this occurred … around 3pm yesterday afternoon, my ankle just began to swell to like twice the size of my original ankle … ugh!!! I don’t know how it happened, but I opted to stay in and relax.

Today, my ankle is still swollen. It’s definitely getting better hence why I am not running to the doctor. But, it’s not workout better. I’m pretty disappointed. I wanted to go to to Philly Pop Up Yoga on the fourth floor terrace at the Philly Free Library. Sounds pretty cool and I feel like I have not done yoga in forever, but I had to pass. I want my ankle to fully heal. Plus, there are plenty of pop up yoga classes through out the summer. On the train ride home, I found a list of YouTube Yoga Videos on Be Well Philly … A great source for yoga at home … you know, when you are so busy, a scheduled class doesn’t fit in your schedule or you wake up early and want to relax with a quick yoga class before work. It even includes “Yoga with Adrienne” … a yoga video I very much enjoyed after one of my runs last week.

My swollen ankle is also hindering my ability to continue with the previously mentioned couch to 5k program, it’s week three, day 1: a brisk five-minute warm-up walk and two repetitions of the following: Jog 90 seconds, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 3 minutes. It’s Tuesday, hopefully, my ankle swelling will go down and I can fit three runs in before the end of the week along with a few strength training workouts … maybe even a yoga video or two.

Weekend Workouts and Chicken Sandwiches!!!

The weekend is over … the weather was amazing and my activity level high making it very difficult to come back to office life. I went to the gym on Saturday and completed day three of week two in the couch to 5k program: a five minute walk proceeded by alternating 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. I had some extra time so I increased the duration of the workout to an hour. I felt great! Afterward, I went swimming at a pool party … awesome day. On Sunday, John Paul and I both downloaded pokemon go. It is so fun … You create a character, mine is Shellyxzy, his is Smurfiskhan, and walk around trying to catch pokemon. The game has been around for one week and almost has as many downloads as twitter …. amazing. And, it got us walking. With coffee in hand, we happily walked around Lawrence Park for 3 miles Sunday Morning catching pokemon!!

I am definitely not strict with my diet over the weekend … however, this weekend, I hung out with my Mom and she made me one of her delicious chicken sandwiches:

  • Sprout bread toasted
  • Roasted Red pepper hummus on one side
  • Trader Joes Spinach and Artichoke dip on the other
  • 1 quarter of an avocado
  • 3 oz chicken seasoned in garlic powder and broiled 5 minutes on each side.
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato.

It was a amazing. My mom is the master of creating interesting, tasty combinations out of simple foods. Plus, its healthy and lite. I lived at her house for a small bit when I first moved back to Philadelphia from Boston and she pretty much made me lunch and dinner everyday … delicious salads, sandwiches snacks … I miss that. It was lovely. Our day ended with a trip to Penns Wood Winery, our local spot, for some Sunday Funday Drinks! Super Fun!