Category Archives: 365 Days of Fitness

365 Days of Fitness Complete … and Then Some

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365DaysofFitnessComplete

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.

CliffsofMoher adaremanor

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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Building Defined Abs

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Jan_Dec2013_AbsAbs progress Jan-Dec 2013 (148.5 lbs to 122 lbs)

I often get asked about what I do for abs. I’m hourglass shaped and tend to hold most of my excess weight between the area beneath my navel to mid-thigh. So, my upper body and abs are the first to show the results of weight loss/strength training. If you are more apple-shaped/top heavy, then it will likely take more work for you to see results in the abs just like it takes me more time to results in my legs/glutes. With that caveat, here are the things that I do to get defined abs!

1. LOSE WEIGHT/FAT: Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym?” It’s true. 90% of getting defined/tight abs is losing weight/fat. You’re not going to see muscle covered by fat. If you do a lot of ab work, but still have a tummy/gut/Dunlap disease (your waist “dun lapped” over your belt … LOL!), then it’s likely your six-pack is hiding under subcutaneous fat and losing weight will make them come out of hiding. Cardio is a necessity to burn calories and strength training helps boost base metabolism. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective way to burn calories and boost base metabolism! A simple 25-30 minute HIIT treadmill workout for beginners is: warm-up walk for 5 minutes; 1 minute sprint (fast as you can) followed by 1.5 min walk/jog, repeat 6-8 times, cool down walk for 5 minutes. I used this C25K week 1 treadmill workout as my time guide.

2. ABS OF STEEL by TAMILEE WEBB (VHS): I’ve used this tape for 20+ years. It has three 10 minute workouts and I’ll do it 3-5 days a week (abs don’t need rest/recovery every other day. 1-2 days of rest in a week is adequate). I recently found that the VHS I use can be found on sale on eBay (pink box/blue leotard) and you can download it to your computer at TamileeWebb.com!

3. BICYCLE EXERCISE FOR ABS: I just added in the last few months because my lower abs were not progressing in strength the way I wanted or had experienced in the past. I realized that this was likely because I wasn’t doing the Captain’s Chair lower leg lift exercise that I used to do 1-2 days a week when I worked out at a gym. I corroborated with some online research that this is one of the top three effective exercises for abs as proven by EMG testing (see article here). So, I started to think about buying a Captain’s Chair for my home gym. But then I looked at the #1 exercise (Captain’s Chair was #2) and discovered it was something that required NO equipment, can be done anywhere, and is the most effective for the total core (upper abs, lower abs, AND obliques). It was a no brainer. I started incorporating one to two 60 second sets (60 sec rest between sets) into my workouts 1-2 days a week. I saw my lower ab strength increase within a week or two and that resulted in improved performance during running and yoga (especially inversions).

Bicycle for Abs Demo

via LiveStrong.com

So yup! That’s what I do for defined abs. But again, remember number one is the most important!! Case in point, I’ve been doing Abs of Steel almost every day for the last several weeks, but barely doing cardio and still eating like I’m on the cruise! So … the abs aren’t looking like they did in December!! So, it’s definitely time to get the eating back in order and cardio back in effect for real! With that, time to get on the exercise gear and hit the basement for The Biggest Loser Cardio Max for Day 325 of 365 Days of Fitness (and Day 5 of 28 Days of Fitness).

Lata Gatas!!

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How do you get “six pack”/defined abs?

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?

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!!

365onHoneymoon1#KISMET

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! 😛 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!!

365 Days of Fitness – The Halfway Point!!

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Yup!! This morning’s Strong Curves workout marked day 183 and the halfway point of my 365 Days of Fitness!! This is when the going gets tough and the tough get going (to work)!! Time to make my breakthrough. For the last decade, I have started falling off after 6 months of exercising regularly and eating well.  And, this year, I am committed to breaking that pattern!! My new mantra is: “If you’re tired of starting over again, stop quitting.” I will also be reminding myself, “It’s a LOT easier to STAY in shape than it is to GET BACK INTO shape.” Because, at 41 years of age, it’s definitely getting even harder!! The ol’ joints just aren’t what they used to be!!!

On another note, I picked up a Polar FT4 heart rate monitor watch from Amazon about a month ago and am really liking it!! I purchased it after reading many positive reviews about it from my curlfriends on IG!! I’ll have to do a review soon. But, quickly, you wear a chest strap and then input your height, weight, and sex into the “watch” to get a more accurate reading for calories burned during your workout. And, you can monitor whether you are training inside or outside of your optimal heart rate zone.

Finally, here are a couple progress pics from the beginning of my challenge to now. The first one speaks for itself.

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Next up is a collage of pics that show where I was in August 2011 and wanted to get back to when I started this is a 28 Day Challenge back in February. The middle picture was essentially my starting point when I weighed 148.5 pounds. And, the last pic is Day 172 seen above, where I am down about 23 pounds. I actually weigh more in the August 2013 pic than I do in the August 2011 pic, but think I look more muscular. So, I’m cool with that!!

Progression

This last pic is from a night out last Friday. I looked like a lumpy sausage stuffed badly in its casing when I purchased this dress last November after seeing Folake of Style Pantry rocking it here! So, it hung in the closet until last week, when I was looking for another dress and stumbled across it. Let’s just say, I was pretty dang pleased when I saw how it fits now (I know, it doesn’t look like it, but I was!!! LOL!! :)). #WINNING

Ellidresscollage(The dress is from Elli, but is no longer available. Sorry!!)

And, just because … this cracked me up when I saw it, because I hop out of bed around 5:30 am every weekday morning, give Wei a kiss, and then hit the basement for my workout (well, after a leisurely cup of coffee). So, I could relate. LOL!!

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For a daily dose of 365 Days of Fitness (plus hair, food, and random acts of nerdiness), follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook!!

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Have you been on a roller coaster ride with your health and fitness? What have you done or are you doing to “stop the madness?”