Category Archives: Health & Fitness

365 Days of Fitness Complete … and Then Some

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This post is a few weeks overdue. I really planned to post it on day 366 … but I just never got it together. I mean, I posted the above pic on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. But, I am aware that a good number of you don’t follow me on those platforms. So, I did mean to do a blog post for those who only follow here. Butttttt … yeah, I just have not been motivated to write more than a caption!! And, I have so many posts that I want to write … but after work, I’m just tired. And on the weekends … still tired?!?!? Blame it on the cold and snowy weather in NJ? I blame it on my self-diagnosed SAD (seasonal affective disorder), although … I’ve been pretty happy. LOL!! Oh well … no more excuses.

So yeah, I finished 365 Days of Fitness with a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise/activity every day on February 17th. The last week was pretty lackluster as I was in Ireland for “holiday” (love that term for vacation) with my mom, sister, and niece.

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We had  long, cool, rainy, castle and green field filled days and I never managed to get up and workout in the morning. So, I mostly just finagled in 10-20 minute of yoga stretches for hip flexibility each night. Gotta say though, I think that’s what I needed as we spent a minimum of 4 hours driving in the car each day and it was more like 6-8 hours on a couple of occasions. So, I was very stiff and sore and the stretching was welcome!

Anywho, we returned from Ireland the evening of February 16th and so my last two days of 365 Days of Fitness were also quick and sweatless. Add to that, I’ve put a good 10 or *mumble muble* so pounds since the wedding … let’s just say, 10 Minutes a Day is still in full effect. Seventy-five minutes of hot yoga this morning made Day 385.

LESSONS LEARNED

So, what I have I learned over this 365 Days and Then Some? Welp, I can’t say that it was anything earth shattering because I’ve worked out off and on, hard core and moderate over the last 20 years. But, I did learn a few things.

  • 10 Minutes of exercise a day is better than 0 minutes, no matter how little it may seem. And 10 minutes can easily turn into 20-30 minutes with enough time. But, if it doesn’t, it’s okay. Because tomorrow is always another day.
  • I discovered I can do just 10 minutes of exercise a day and not feel guilty that I didn’t do more. See prior bullet!
  • I love green smoothies!! LOL!! During this journey, I started drinking green smoothies after my in-laws (no more *future* in front of that ;)) gave me a NutriBullet for my birthday last year. I used it daily for months … until I broke it by constantly overfilling it (overflowed and burned out the motor, I think). I got another one at my work bridal shower and finally broke it out a couple of weeks ago. So glad to have green smoothies back in my diet!! It just feels good to start most days with my breakfast smoothie (see here).
  • Eating badly is not an excuse to not work-out! This one was HUGE for me!! I use to always fall off of the wagon of exercising when I ate badly a couple of days in a row. I would feel like I had no energy and that I was sapped and bloated. Well, I learned that I can eat Wendy’s, a crapload of food on a cruise, cupcakes, pancakes, burgers, candy, what-have-you, and STILL workout! In fact, I often have MORE energy and get great workouts due to the calorie boost! Given that I often work out in the morning on an empty stomach, working out fully fueled feels a lot easier!! Now, that’s not an excuse to eat junk, it just proves that eating junk is not an excuse ;)!
  • ♥♥♥ yoga!!!!! I mean … really, truly! Although my body is not as young and nubile as it used to be, although I have aches and pains in my 40s that I never experienced in the past, I still find myself learning how to do new things with my body … things I couldn’t even do when I was “young and nubile!” This is all because of yoga.  So, last Sunday, I started a 30 Day Yoga Challenge by DoYouYoga on YouTube! It’s comprised of 10-20 minute videos that I do daily, usually in addition to some other exercise. I feel like it has already paid dividends as hot yoga was awesome this morning!! I had a great practice and everything was flowing, my breath, my flows, my inversions! Can’t wait to see what I feel like after 23 more days!! 

Okay, time to wrap this up! So, on the anniversary of the day I began 365 Days of Fitness (I was just trying to make it through 28 Days back then!!), I recommitted myself to eating well and staying active. I plan to continue to work out daily by doing at least 10 minutes of activity a day. I don’t have any “end game” in sight. I’m still working on getting my eating habits FULLY back in order (I’ve improved over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still got work to do to be consistent). However, I know that with just a little focus and discipline, I can get these extra pounds off. It’ll be a lot easier this time as I never fell off the fitness wagon! So, though I’m not where I want to be weight -wise, I will not give up. There is no finish line for being healthy and active. It requires a LIFE change. But, I’m up for it.

Onward and upwards my friends!!

365DaysofFitness

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How goes your health and fitness?
Did you learn anything about yourself through exercise and eating well in 2013? 

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28 DoF Final Check-In: Week 4

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Yesterday was the day!!! It was the end of our 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge!! So, how did you guys do? Was it harder or easier than you thought? If you missed a day, did you get back to it the next? Do you want to do it again? Are you going to set a longer goal? Time to update us with your Week 4: Days 22-28!!

I’m still not going as hard as I have in the past, but I was mostly back to morning workouts this week, if I remember correctly. They were just short ones though … but hey, that’s the point right? Even 10 minutes a day is worth it!! So, this week, I decided I really want to work on improving my hip flexibility for yoga as I felt like I had kind of plateaued in my practice lately. I really want to be able to do the cross-legged full lotus pose. So, that was somewhat my focus this last week.

WEEK 4 RECAP

Day 22 / 342:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min). 

Day 23 / 343: Lauren Brooks Kettlebell Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast. But, I switched it up. Since I didn’t have time to do 2 rounds of the short routine, instead of taking the 30 second rest between each  1 minute set, I jumped rope during that “breaks” instead. This kept my heart rate up through the entire 12 minutes.

Day 24 / 344: Jump rope (5 min – whew!), 12 reps x 3 sets of rows with door jam “suspension trainer,” 12 reps x 3 sets of “superman” back extensions, Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min), forearm tripod inversion for 30 breaths (total: approx. 20-25 minutes).

via YogaVidyaEnglish

Day 25 / 345: Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min).  I did the video in the morning with plans to get some cardio in the evening. Well, I’m sure glad I did that in the a.m., because I was on the road for 4 hours for work and when I got home, passed out on the couch at 8:30 p.m. I woke up, thinking it was 10 or 11 … it was almost 2 a.m.! Needless to say, I hit the sack, counting myself lucky that I had done the video in the morning!!

Day 26 / 346: Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min) and Lotus Hips video (20 min). 

via Eckhart Yoga

Day 27 / 347: KeiraLashae Kickboxing video (10 min), jump rope (5 min), and Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min).

Day 28 / 348: Angie Miller Kettlebell Bootcamp sets 1-3 plus 32 alternating hand swings and 16 two-hand swings (22 min).

So I’m also going to include a little of Day 349 / 29 (Hot Yoga Vinyasa Flow – 75 min) in this post, because …

Yeah, I know the video is kind of crappy, but I didn’t have any help today!! LOL! But, the point is, those hip opening stretches are already paying dividends!! Today was the first time that I’ve even come close to this one leg arm balance (Koundiyanasana)! Usually, I can’t even get that front foot off of the ground!! So, I’m kind of excited and, after I finish this post, think I’ll be doing some more hip opening stretches. Hey, I’m home alone while many are starting to enjoy Superbowl parties, small and large. So, why not? Think I’ll catch up on last week’s Justified and Community too ;).

Lata Gatas!

(p.s. Don’t forget to check out our FB Events page where many folks update daily! You can find lots of ideas for home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts to mix it up and beat boredom!! If you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!)

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How did you do the last 7 days of the challenge? 

Who is still going to continue and for how long are you planning? 30 days? 100? 365? 

Who wants to try again, because they didn’t make it all the way through?

Who wants to do it for the first time?

If there is enough interest, I’ll keep this going for another 28 days with weekly update posts for accountability and inspiration!! 

28 DoF Check-In: Week 3

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Sookie Sookie Now!!! Only one week to go chicas and chicos!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 3: Days 15-21!!

And don’t forget to check out our FB Events page where many folks are updating daily! In a work-out rut? You’ll can find tons of ideas for home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts to mix it up and beat boredom!! If you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

As for my week, the struggle continues. I’m still not getting up as early as I’d like. A 5:30 am wake-up can be beastly in the winter when it’s still very dark and cold and especially when it seems to be snowing EVERY OTHER day in NJ! Ughhh!! So, I was still fighting the time crunch most of the week and ended up doing late night workouts on Friday and Saturday.

WEEK 3 RECAP

Day 15/335:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min).

Day 16/336: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min). In my defense, I cleaned house ALL day … well, I mostly dealt unpacking (ummm … see, what had happened was … Okay. I have no excuse. I just fully unpacked from the honeymoon on MLK Day. I know. Sad. But, whatcha gonna do?). So, I sorted, organized, and shred a lot of mail/paperwork and washed, folded, and put away a crap-load of clothes.

Day 17/337: 10 Minute Kickboxing with KieraLashae (don’t get it twisted, you will get your sweat on with these 10 minutes, IF you give it your all).

Day 18/338:  Lauren Brooks Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast x2 (29 min).

Day 19/339: FitSugar’s Treadmill Pyramid Intervals to the 22 minute mark, then 6 minutes to cool down (28 min).

Day 20/340: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

Day 21/341: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

Day338

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We’re in the home stretch now!! How did you do Week 3, days 15-21? 

What are your plans for your final week?

28 DoF Check-In: Week 2

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Woot!! Woot!! We’re at the halfway point folks!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 2: Days 8-14!!

And don’t forget to check out our FB Events page!!  The home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts continue to roll in!! I tried a new 10 workout myself last night!! And, if you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

As for my week, I’m getting back into the groove of morning workouts … but still not getting up as early as I’d like. I went from a 6:30 am rise time to 6 am. So, that was good. But, my goal this week is to get back to 5:30 am. If you remember, I’m also doing a personal 365 Days of the Word challenge with YouVersion’s One Year Bible. So, I do my reading and prayer first (along with my cup of coffee ;)), then workout.

WEEK 2 RECAP

Day 8/328:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min). I hadn’t been to hot yoga in 2 months, so I was bit nervous. But, I didn’t do too badly! I definitely was tighter than I had been, but I’ll work out the kinks soon (I hope ;))!

Day 9/329: Lauren Brooks Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast x2 (29 min).

Day 10/330: Run on treadmill – 5 min warm-up; then 5 min at 5 mph and 10 min at 5.5 mph at 1.5% incline; 5 min cool down (25 min total). I would have liked to run longer, but I was short on time. I know it’s better for me to get a shorter workout in the morning than try to wait until after work for a longer one and end up doing NOTHING!

Day 11/331: Angie Miller Kettlebell Bootcamp with 15 and 20 pound bells (45 min). I was using the 15 lb bell for the entire workout, but am progressing and working towards using the 20 lb bell for the whole routine.

Day 12/332: FitSugar’s Treadmill Pyramid Intervals to the 22 minute mark, then 5 minutes to cool down. I was short on time again!!

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Day 13/333: 60 seconds x2 sets of bicycle exercise for abs, 15 recline leg lifts, and 20 “superman” back extensions in the am (5 min); Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel in the pm (10 min)

Day 14/334: Cardio Crush Workout by BeFit on YouTube (10 min)

Feeling good!! I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when my 365 days are complete. Will I keep going or start taking off days? Hmmmm … I’m feeling like I’ll keep going. But, I’d like to challenge myself in a different way. Maybe run 365 miles in a year … or, what I’ve really been thinking about is doing a different fitness challenge each month for 12 months. Or … maybe a year long daily yoga challenge as it’s amazing to be able to do things with my body that I’ve never been able to do in my life! Hmmmm …

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Okay my peeps!! How did you do Week 2? Give us the rundown of days 8-14!!

What victories did you achieve this week?

28 DoF Check-In: Week 1

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It’s that time!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 1: Days 1 -7!!

Now, a lot of you have been updating our FB Events page and that has been absolutely awesome to see the variety of things everyone is doing to get in their 10 minutes!! If you haven’t checked it out, please do!! The variety of home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts is great!! And, if you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the new Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

Okay, now let’s get to my update! But, before I do, let me preface this by saying that I was oversleeping this week, because what I thought was my 5:30 alarm was my 6 o’ clock alarm!! And then, when I figured it out … I still slept in a couple days. Ummm … yeah, so, I ended up just barely getting in my 10 minutes several days this week. And, when I got them in, I didn’t want to do anything that made me sweat because I didn’t want to have to take a shower late at night and have to take another one the next morning. Because, the plan was always to workout in the morning … ended up being the failed plan most days last week.

Anywho … here’s my quick run down … remember, I’m doing this concurrently with my 365 Days of Fitness, which I haven’t yet completed.

WEEK 1 RECAP

Day 1/321:  10 Min. Fat Burning Kickboxing with KeairaLaShae - I got this one from one of our challenge ladies who posted it on my FB page on Day 1!! It’s not the most polished of videos, but it got the job done! I broke a NICE sweat!!

Day 2/322: 60 secs x 2 sets of bicycle for abs in the morning;  20 min walk on treadmill (5 min warm-up; 5 min @ 3.8 mph w/4% incline; 5 min @ 3.8 mph w/8% incline; 5 min cool down).

Day 3/323: FitSugar Treadmill Pyramid Intervals workout (as pictured above) (30 min). I got this one from my sister who was a varsity runner in high school and just did a half marathon in December! She was impressed with how it improved her performance. I was fine the first half, but once those “rest/recovery” intervals picked up to 5.5 mph, I had to take them down to 4.0 in order to recover from the 7, 8, and 7 mph again sprint intervals!! And, I added 5 minutes of additional cool down to the end! 4.0 mph is a cardio walk pace! It is NOT a cool down!! LOL!! And, anyway, I did the first minute of the program cool down at 5.5 mph and the second at 4.5 mph. You can always increase or decrease the speed to accommodate your fitness level when doing any High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Day 4/324: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

Day 5/325: The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Level 2 Workout (40 min)

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Day 6/326: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

Day 7/327: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

And that was my “Week 1!” Started week 2 pretty well with a 75 minute hot yoga class this morning! So, hopefully, that will be the kicks I needed to get back into waking up in time to exercise in the morning, before going to work!! Wish me luck!!

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Okay folks!! How did your Week 1 go? What did you do Days 1-7?

Most importantly, how are you feeling? I hope great :)!!

My Lazy Woman’s Diet

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So, some of you have embarked upon the Hairscapades 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge. And among a variety of goals, one of the most common is to lose excess pounds to improve health issues, energy, and/or self-esteem. As you may know, that is partly what motivated my 28 turned 365 Days of Fitness challenge almost a year ago. I started at 148.5 pounds (I’m 5’1″) with a goal to get back down to my preferred weight of 120 pounds and ultimately, I did reach my goal. So, I often get asked, “Did you have to change your diet?”

Ummm. YES!! LOL!

I have never been a person who lost weight with only diet or exercise. I have to do both. There is no way around it, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple. Truth. You can work out 4 hours a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you burn, your weight will remain the same. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in the gym REGULARLY who always looked the same … overweight. And I’m not talking about the folks who only seemed to go to the gym to socialize. I’m talking about the people really breaking a sweat who looked the same year … after year … after year.

So, I’m telling you this now. You can get stronger, you can build more muscle, you can improve your endurance, and you can improve your health with exercise alone. But 80-90% of weight loss is diet. You will not lose weight if you don’t know/understand how much you are eating and how much you are burning. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and figure out how to eat enough to fuel yourself while still creating a calorie deficit. Also, you can’t tone fat and muscle is already toned. So, if you are looking to get tighter, leaner, lose the jiggle or the spare tire … you HAVE to increase muscle mass and lose fat weight.

All that being said, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. But, what I will do is share a very simple food fact and then what works for me.

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THE SIMPLE FOOD FACT

FOOD IS COMPRISED OF THREE SOURCES OF CALORIES ONLY! THREE.

  • FAT (9 cals per gram)
  • CARBOHYDRATES (4 cals per gram)
  • PROTEIN (4 cals per gram

That’s it. There’s nothing else. Most people can readily identify protein and know the difference between lean and fatty cuts. And we know whole fruits and vegetables are mostly low calorie and the good for us carbs (fresh or frozen). So, if it’s not protein or fruits and veggies, it’s fat or carbs and often both (and dairy has all three). Reduce the fats and non-fruit and vegetable carbs and you’ll probably lose weight. Because, seriously, I don’t know anyone who binges on grilled, skinless chicken breast, broccoli, or apples. LOL!! And, even if they did, the damage would probably be minimal to none. Oh, and don’t think I’m saying fruit and veggies are the only good carbs. I co-sign on whole oat oatmeal, rice (particularly brown), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (my faves).

Okay, so that’s my spiel on that.

Now, on to my diet when I want to lose weight. As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely heavily on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories.” Because of that, I’ve coined my diet, “The Lazy Woman’s Diet” aka “Cooking? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” LMBO!! That being said, this is what it typically looks like

MY LAZY WOMAN’S DIET

  • Breakfast:
    • Green smoothie (1-2 c. kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of frozen sliced strawberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Mousse Nectar Whey Protein Powder), or
    • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk
    • A cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
  • Snack:
    • Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
    • 9-10 almonds or handful of walnuts (occasionally)
  • Lunch:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta)
    • 1/2 to 1 c. added frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sugar snap snow peas, mixed veggies)
    • Piece of fruit
  • Snack: Organic baby food
  • Dinner:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas)
    • A piece of fruit (occasionally)
  • Post work-out: Nectar Whey Protein Shake (w/banana if after yoga) (I only do this if a regular meal doesn’t immediately follow my work-out)

LCRewardsMy bucket of un-entered Lean Cuisine Rewards Codes. Told ya.

If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in my “diet plan” due to the frozen meals, check out this post I did earlier last year about Sodium and Weight Loss.

So that’s it. Wait. No it’s not. One tip that I would give on “dieting” is to not worry about the amount of calories when you start watching what you eat. Think about the QUALITY of the calories instead. Rather than jumping into reducing your calories to 1200-1500 or whatever, just get rid of food that has little to no nutritional value, ESPECIALLY calories that you can’t chew (except green smoothies ;)). Seriously, soda, juice, milk shakes, lattes, etc. … squash them. Replace those empty calories with nutritious ones so that you don’t feel like gnawing off your arm by noon!! Fruits, veggies, low fat/sugar yogurt, whole grain crackers, granola, nuts, brown rice, low fat popcorn, etc. are all options. Get your body adjusted to eating a healthier type of calories. Then, you may find that you are naturally able to reduce your calories because you won’t find yourself overeating whole, healthier foods. And, because you are eating every few hours, you’ll reduce cravings and be able to start cutting back on calories without losing your mind.

WAIT!!

(Who remembers Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? ;))

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS!! At least, that’s what I believe. As I said the other day on FB, some healthy foods taste great, but I don’t care what anyone says, nothing makes my toes wiggle like buttercream icing!! LOL!! That being said, I believe that we can indulge in our favorite bad foods every now again and still lose weight. It might take a little longer, but it’ll happen. So, enjoy your life along the way ;)! Because this is the thing. You can’t go back to eating the way you did before you lost the weight and expect to keep it off. Therefore, it’s important to learn to eat in a way that you can sustain a lifetime.

Aaaaaaaaand … I’m done!!

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If you have struggled with weight loss, what are the challenges you’ve faced? If you’ve overcome them, what did you do to make a “diet” work for you?

28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge

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As many of you know, in February 2013, I committed to working out for at least 10 minutes a day for 28 consecutive days (see why here). Upon successfully finishing my first 28 days, I decided to do it again … then again.

After working out a minimum of 10 minutes a day, every day, for 84 days, I realized that I wasn’t tired or burned out or anything. In fact, I felt great and I was making progress towards my goal weight, but I had not yet achieved it. I also wanted to break a cycle of falling off the wagon after 6 months of a consistent exercise routine and yo-yo weight gain/loss. So, I figured, “Why not turn my 28 Days of Fitness into 365 Days?” I love a challenge! Well, not all of them ;). But, having a goal (and a public one at that) always helps keep me on target. So, as of today I have worked out every day for 318 days, completed a 9 week C25K running program, ran a “Superhero 5K” that was my first straight 5K, completed the 12 week Strong Curves At-Home Bodyweight program, did a Warrior’s Dash and a Diva Dash (5K obstacles courses), participated in a Making Strides Walk, accomplished several yoga poses for the first time, reached my goal weight for my wedding, and worked out on my wedding day and every day of my 10 day honeymoon. Now, with less than 50 days to go, I am sooo close to the end game!!! And … it all started with a personal 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Challenge.

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Now, although I wasn’t doing this with anyone or for anyone other than myself, I’ve been encouraged, supported, and cheered on by so many of you on the blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Some have told me they have been inspired to start their own fitness challenges due to my many workout posts (I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some IG followers due to all the boring, sweaty selfie posts though *LOL* ;)). I have received messages/comments from ladies telling me that they have started their own 28, 30, and, yes, 365 Day Fitness Challenges because of seeing my posts and consistency. To all who have liked or commented on even one status, please know that I appreciate you. Your support keeps the fire in my heart to get this done. I don’t want to let myself down, but I also feel a responsibility to reach this goal knowing that someone out there may be inspired/motivated by what I’m doing, even if it’s just to get that workout in that one night that they saw my post.

So, when a young lady named Jasmine on FB suggested that I start a 365 Day Fitness Challenge for the new year, it gave me pause. I mean, I’m not done my own challenge, so how could I start a new one? And, I thought, 365 days might be overwhelming and a lot to commit to doing for someone who is just trying to get off the couch or the person struggling with consistency. But, a 28 Day Challenge is so much more doable. I mean, it’s what I did when I started. So, I thought, that might be a more palatable goal and just the thing to get someone to give it a go. Plus, since I have 47 days to go, I’d be doing the 28 days too.

28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge

Sunday, January 5th – Saturday February 1st

So this is for anyone who is up to it and willing to give just 10 minutes of their 24 hours each day to get active. Who doesn’t have 10 minutes??? I don’t think anyone can make an excuse to not give that much time to their health and well-being each day.

The physical activity can be ANYTHING! It can be walking, running, climbing stairs, aerobics, abs, yoga, pilates, stretching, weight training, kickboxing, calisthenics, jumping rope, bodyweight exercises, high intensity interval training (HIIT), kettlebell, hiking, roller skating, ice skating, skiing … ANYTHING. As long as its gets your body moving for 10 consecutive minutes, it counts!

TO PARTICIPATE:

  1. COMMENT below with your name, age, and how often/long your work out currently (ex. 3x a week, 30 min a day), as well as why you want to do this (e.g. improve health, lose weight, increase muscle, stress control, self-improvement, etc.). Please feel free to include anything else that you would like us to know.
  2. EXERCISE for at least 10 consecutive minutes every day for 28 days (see above for activities and/or check out my Health & Fitness posts under the Miscell. tab for various the routines, programs, and DVDs I use, if you need ideas!).
  3. UPDATE us with your progress on the 28 Day Fitness Challenge Weekly Update post that I will publish each Saturday through the challenge. List what you did and for how long each day in the comments ( (i.e. Days 1-7; Days 8-14, Days 15-21, Days 22-28). Don’t forget to include your name!
  4. TAG your workouts on IG/FB if you post there (we can only see public profiles): @hairscapades, #hairscapades and #28DaysofFitness!!

Progress: Jan 2013 - May 2013Progress: Jan 2013 – May 2013

TIPS/HOW I DO IT:

  1. EXERCISE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING (or prior to work) – This has been so important as I am often so tired after a long day of work and lose motivation. I think many of us start the day with the best intention to work out (“TODAY, I’m going to start!!). But, by the end of the day, we are worn down and that motivation wanes and/or distractions arise. So, why not capitalize on that energized and focused feeling when it’s immediately present?
  2. EXERCISE AT HOME – With a few relatively budget-friendly purchases (i.e. kettlebells, hand weights, floor mat, exercise DVDs, a jump rope, a computer, internet and Youtube) and a little room, one can easily create a workout space at home. This is not only convenient, but a HUGE time saver (no packing and unpacking a gym bag, no time lost driving to and from the gym, no distractions due to conversations with others, etc.). And it also eliminates excuses (“It’s winter. It’s too cold. It’s too dark. There’s a blizzard out there.” ;)) when you don’t have to go anywhere but a room in  your own house to work-out!
  3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MINIMUM – Some days, 10 minutes is all you have the time and/or energy to do. So, take advantage of it! I did!! That’s why it’s there!! Oftentimes the hardest part is getting started! Once you do that, you WILL feel like doing more some days! Trust me!!
  4. PUBLICIZE - Tell others what you are doing!! Tell your family, tell your friends, post it on your social media platforms. Post your workouts and see how much support you get and how you begin to inspire others!! Those cheers and encouraging words can be just the fuel you need to get that workout in that day when you aren’t feeling it.
  5. SET A GOAL – Set a physical/athletic goal like finishing a work-out program, running a 5K, getting that challenging yoga pose, losing a realistic amount of weight for an impending vacation, etc.

So, that’s it. Right now, there is no “grand prize” other than your own sense of accomplishment. That being said … I am trying to figure out what I can raffle away at the end of this by choosing a winner from the participants who complete the challenge. I have some hair products for sure, but was thinking that you guys might be more interested in a fitness related prize? Let me know your preference on that in the comment below too (i.e. hair or fitness product prize).

If you’re hemming and hawing, remember …

inspiration_tomorrowstartstoday

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OKAY Y’ALL!!! LET’S GET IT!!!!

365 Days of Fitness on a Honeymoon

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As many of you know, I have been doing a personal fitness challenge to work out a minimum of 10 minutes every day for 365 Days. Well, those 365 days included my wedding day and 10 day honeymoon from 12/12-12/21/13. And, I am VERY happy to report that I did not miss one day of working out during my honeymoon and am up to day 315 as of yesterday (still have to get in my 10 minutes today). I didn’t post my workouts daily on Instagram as our internet time was limited. But, I did post my workouts on IG, Facebook, and Twitter periodically. So now, just wanted to share those updates here for those who only follow Hairscapades on the blog :).

First things first though. If you remember, one of the reasons that I started a 28 Day Fitness Challenge back on February 18, 2012 was because I said that I refused to get married fat! LOL! Well, I’m happy to say that on December 11, 2013, Day 296, one day prior to my wedding, I achieved my goal weight of 120 pounds!!

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Day289Day 43 v. Day 289

I was so psyched because that was the weight I wanted to achieve for my wedding day and gown!

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Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. As I type this, my chocolate, cookie, cake, and assortment of other high calorie food honeymooning/holiday eating butt weighed in at 128.5 pounds this morning. I’ve also ONLY been doing 10 minute work-outs since I got back from the honeymoon!! BUT, I’m gonna get the eating back together now that the holidays are over and I’ll get back to longer cardio sessions and strength training.

Anywho, back to 365 Days of Fitness on a Honeymoon …

Now, you may think that it would be very challenging to continue working out daily on a honeymoon and a cruise ship. However, I looked at it this way. There is less of an excuse to not work out on vacation then there is when you are working 8+ hour days and doing all of the work required to maintain a household. I mean, shoot. You’re resting and relaxing on a vacation!! You don’t have to go to work. You don’t have to cook. You don’t have to clean. People are doing those things for you!! So, ten minutes of exercise a day is nothing and TOTALLY doable!! #noexuses

So, I knew all along that I would at least do that and brought several DVDs with me to ensure that I could exercise in our room if all else failed. But, awesomely enough, the gym was 2 short flights of stairs immediately above my deck!!

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And, I felt so great from the extra calories (I was restricting to achieve my goal weight, but now all bets were off ;)), I was killing it with the workouts on most days!! That being said, here is a recap of Days 1-10 of my honeymoon and Days 297-306 of 365 Days of Fitness!

Day 1/297 (Wedding Day at 9:50 pm): Treadmill 3.8 mph (12 min)

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How I really felt.

20131212_220819Can you say TIRED? #howthemightyhavefallen LOL!!

Day 2/298: Treadmill run @ 1% incline (10 min @ 5, 10 min @ 5.2, 10 min @ 5.5, 10 min @ 5.7 mph) 5 min warm-up, 5 min @ 3.8 mph, 5 min cool down (55 min total).

Day 3/299: Stationary bike (35 min); 3×12 captain’s chair bent knee leg raises; 3×12 weighted ab crunches; 30 reps side crunches on Swiss ball (R and L); 15 reps crunches on Swiss ball; 5 sets of 16 rep kettlebell swing variations.

Day 4/300: Yoga (55 min) (They offered yoga classes 3 days of the trip for $12 each! I took advantage of it twice) + about 30 minutes of ice skating!

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Day 5/301: Treadmill run 5.7 mph for 20 min and 6 mph for 5 min (accidentally hit emergency stop after warm-up) (36 min)

365onHoneymoon6“Where’s Weusi?” Also was a milestone day for 365 Days of the Word :).

Day 6/302: Stationary bike (25 min in am) + stretching session w/some arm balance and inversion practice (40 min in pm).

Day 7/303: Zip Lining with a 10 min downhill walk + Abs of Steel (10 min), because Wei said the walking for the zip line didn’t count! :P LOL!!

Day 8/304: Treadmill run @ 1% incline (10 min @ 5.2 mph, 10 min @ 5.5 mph, 5 min @ 5.7 mph, 5 min @ 6 mph, 5 min at 6.3 mph, 10 min at 3.8 mph w/progressive incline 2-8% grade) 5 min warm-up & cool down (60 min total)

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Day 9/Day 305: Yoga (50 min)

Day 10/Day 306: The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Week 3-4 program (40 min)

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So, that’s 365 Days of Fitness on a honeymoon!! Not bad, right? Soooo … I was thinking of posting a 28 Day/10 Minutes a Day Challenge for 2014 for you guys! I think 365 Days is a lot to bite off at first and could discourage some from even giving it a try. But, 28 Days, the way I started, is a great entree and I could post some tips. I would be doing it at the same time, of course, as my 365 Days doesn’t end until February 17th. And, I was thinking of starting the 28 Days (4 weeks) on Sunday, January 5th. So waddaya think?

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WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN A 28 DAY/10 MINUTES A DAY FITNESS CHALLENGE FROM JANUARY 5TH TO FEBRUARY 1ST 2014? 

Busy, Busy, Busy: Wedding, Bible, Fitness

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I started this post about 3 weeks ago with the title, “Eventful Week.” I never got past uploading a few photos. *Womp Womp* *LOL* So now, this post will briefly cover my last month of activities. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you probably know most of this stuff already, so it’s old news. If not, here goes!!

WEDDING STUFF:

I’ve had THREE bridal showers in the last month!! My sisters and bestie threw a bridal shower for me in Princeton on November 10th. It wasn’t a surprise, but it was very exciting and a lot of fun :). It’s always wonderful to be surrounded by family and friends who love you and are rooting for you. Got lots of goodies, and I’m pretty much set for nightwear for the cruise! LOL!

The same week, my friends and co-workers in my company’s main office got me there under the pretense of a 2014 Project Planning meeting only to surprise me with a shower! I think the best part of that was … no meeting! LOL!!!!

Then, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my friends and co-workers in my home office surprised me with yet another shower!

Needless to say … I have a lot of awesome stuff … and no idea where I’m going to put it all!! LOL!!

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Next, my custom invitations from Little Peanut Gallery (Etsy) were sent this month, options selected for the wedding and finalized with Royal Romance, my Sofisafunk custom wedding dress was finished and picked up, I did two hair trials with Tameeka (Jaded Tresses) and decided on my wedding day hairstyle, and I did a make-up trial and found my look and artist on the same day at MAC in Rockaway Mall (shout out to AdjoaFierce on IG!). In addition to that, I’ve ordered so many things on Etsy and Amazon that something has happened that I never thought would. I’m sick of seeing packages on my doorstep!!!! They just look like winged dollars flying away now ;)!! LOL!! Anywho, I’ll share those other things after the day has come and gone as I want them to be a surprise to show how everything came together. But, here are some pictures of the invitations, a teaser of the hair and dress, and the before and after make-up look!!

Purple and teal are my fave colors. So I LOVE the box in which these were sent to us!

Purple and teal are my fave colors. So I LOVE the box in which these were sent to us!

Before and after.

Before and after.

I soooo love this! I had nowhere to go, but I didn't want to wash my face!!

I soooo love this! I had nowhere to go, but I didn’t want to wash my face!!

Getting an idea of the look ;)?

Getting an idea of the look ;)?

365 DAYS OF THE WORD:

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So, when I was going to do this update several weeks ago, it was to post that I had finished 60 days of The One Year Bible. But, yesterday, I finished Day 90 and reached the 25% complete milestone! Woot woot! I’ll admit this, the Old Testament has been difficult at times and I spend time researching some verses/sections in order to understand them better and to address my unease with some areas (the animal sacrifice, death penalty, and murder for land acquisition have been particularly troublesome). I have realized that I am very much a child of The New Testament, which is as it should be. So, reading that always brings me back to life :). It reinforces my beliefs and the way in which I try to conduct my life. And reading from Proverbs every day has been reinforcing the importance of wisdom in all aspects of life. So, that has led me to pray for wisdom in my thoughts, words, actions, and interactions every day. Hopefully, it’s working! LOL!!

Anywho, it has been very good for me to start each morning with reading a little from the Bible and praying The Lord’s Prayer, followed with a prayer of thankfulness, and asking for wisdom, focus, and blessings on various things in my life, as well as the lives of family and friends. It took a little while, but a new morning ritual has definitely been ingrained as I am not really tempted to check my FB/IG before reading and I don’t even think about turning on the TV first anymore.

365 DAYS OF FITNESS

Day289Day 43 (April 2nd) vs. Day 289 (Dec 4th)

Yesterday, I completed Day 290 of 365 Days of Fitness! I’m just 10 days away from reaching 300 days straight of working out at least 10 minutes a day and I’ve been going hard with the wedding date fast approaching! I still almost can’t believe that I’ve gone this long when initially I was just trying to get through 28 days!! And, I have no doubt that I’ll make it through both my honeymoon and another vacation that I have planned within the last 75 days!! Knowing that people are inspired to start their own challenge or even just work-out on a day that I post an update on IG/FB definitely helps to keep me going!

And that’s it! I have housework to do and wedding day errands to run, plus Day 291 to get done! So, time to go!!

Lata Gatas!!

HAPPY SATURDAY!!!

(Oh wait! One last thing! Completely unrelated. Anyone else watch Justified? I always knew that I would probably like the show, but never watched it as I could never remember when/where it aired. But, trusted friends had been telling me it was really good and right up my alley. So, when I learned that I get free streaming from Amazon Prime, I asked Wei to download it to my Kindle. Welp, I finished season 1 on Thursday and I am LOVING this show!! Great characters, good action, and quirky humor! Check it out if that sounds like your cup of tea! And, if you are already watching it already, NO SPOILERS!! I just started season 2, so I have 3 seasons to go before season 5 premiers in January!)

365 Days of Fitness: Strong Curves

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Just coming on really fast to update you all on 365 Days of Fitness. Yesterday, I completed Day 216 AND the Strong Curves 12 Week At-Home Bodyweight Program!! The last 4 weeks were KILLER, but sooooo worth it!! I’ve experienced such great progress and strength gains. When I started, I couldn’t do ONE unassisted chin-up. It’s not easy, but now I can do 3 sets of 3!!

And the strength I have gained in my legs, arms, back, and core are paying rewards in yoga!!

Crow to headstand to chatarunga to upward dog to downward dog flow.

Compass pose done the first time EVER. Sunday, September 22, 2013.

Day 217: Compass pose done the first time EVER.
Sunday, September 22, 2013.

Now, to take a break. NOT from exercising silly ;)!! Just from Strong Curves! It’s been an intense 12 weeks of doing Strong Curves 3 days a week and I haven’t been eating the best, because it makes me so hungry! So, my weight has stayed pretty much the same (with some up and down on the scale). In order to get my eating back on track and to give my body a chance to recover, I’m going into an active “rest” week. I originally planned to do 20-30 minutes of Vinyasa Flow yoga a day with a DVD I picked up about a month ago on Amazon, Shiva Rea Daily Energy Vinyasa Flow. I really like this DVD because it has seven 20 minute practices that you can do solo or mix and match. You can also follow pre-set programs that do the mixing and matching for you.

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I may still do this only, but I’m also feeling like I may throw some hip thrusts and cardio in there too. We’ll see how I feel and how the week plays out. But, I will definitely do at least 20 minutes of yoga every day. If I can do what I did above with one practice a week, I wonder what I could accomplish practicing every day!!

Okay, before I go, wanted to share two more things. I haven’t taken an after picture for Strong Curves and it may have to wait until next week … because the bloat is on, if you get my drift. But, I figured I’d share some more before and after pics from April and August. You’ve seen the abs in the past, but this is the first time I’ve posted my leg progress on the blog. You see, my lower body takes a lot longer to respond to exercise and diet. But, I’m getting there and I’m hoping that next week’s shots (plan to do a full body comparison to May … after a good week of eating *fingers crossed*) will look even better.

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And last, but definitely not least, two weeks ago, I decided I was going to start a new 10 minutes a day 365 Day Challenge. I have a dear friend with two very small children whose beloved 34 year old husband died this past week after an unexpected 9 month battle with leukemia. About three weeks ago, they placed him in an induced coma and I went to see her at the hospital. Her sadness, pain, and suffering hit me so hard. I tried my best to say the right words and tell her to keep faith and keep praying and God is a healer and performs miracles. But, I felt so helpless to really comfort her (though she has told me several times that my visiting that day and talking with her over the months has given her hope and kept her going). I just didn’t feel well-versed enough in scripture to explain why these things were happening and why, despite all their best efforts, things just went from bad to worse.

I had been praying for my friend’s family since her husband was first diagnosed, but I’ve never been comfortable with or good at praying on my own. After that visit with her, I started saying little prayers multiple times a day, awkward as they may have been and felt. The Sunday after I visited her, I was watching In-Touch Ministries with Dr. Charles Stanley (I really like him because he is a teaching pastor). I needed some spiritual encouragement and direction. He was doing a sermon on “A Strong Church.” In it, he spoke about the need to have a church where you bring your Bible and you study it. A few moments later, as I was preparing to leave for hot yoga, I started posting the following poster as a fitness inspiration:

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And something clicked. Yes, this applied to fitness, but it also applied to me and something that I’d been thinking about for years. I was really ready to work on developing a closer relationship with God and Jesus. I thought, “Just like I can devote at least 10 minutes a day to my physical health, I can devote at least 10 minutes a day to my spiritual health! I mean, shoot! I spend 30-40 minutes on Facebook and IG every morning!! I need to give some of that time to God!”

And 365 Days of the Word began that very day. I asked for suggestions on what books or apps might be helpful and several people recommended YouVersion The Bible, which is chock full of reading plans. I started The One Year Bible that day and completed Day 15 this morning.

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Now, instead of waking up and grabbing my phone to check Facebook and Instagram for notifications and turning on the news to create background noise, I start my cup of coffee, say a prayer, and spend some quiet time alone with God and the “Bible.” I still have to stop myself from checking FB and IG and turning on the TV first … in fact, I turned on the TV yesterday and had to quickly turn it off. But, I’m working on replacing my old habits and routine with a new one, just like I did with fitness … one day at a time.

Okay, I have fifty gajillion other things I could share about this, but I know that I have started to ramble! This post ended up being far longer than I initially intended … but that’s how it almost ALWAYS is with me. Once I start, it’s hard to stop me ;) and I thought it was important to share this new journey. I hope that you are glad that I did so.

Okay, that’s it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I need to go wash this hair and maybe …. maybe … there might be a blow-out in the immediate future that I’ll be sharing ;).

Lata Gatas!!