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Updated Shakeology Thoughts

2 Jul

Chocolate-Shakeology

I have officially gone through my first entire bag of Chocolate Shakeology!  This equates to about a shake a day for a month.  A few months ago I gave a review on Shakeology based on a one packet taste.  Adam and I made a shake and gave it a whirl.  We loved it!  You can check out the full review here.  When I ordered the Insanity workout program I received a month’s supply of Shakeology as part of a Challenge Pack (a great way to bundle costs).  I knew from the sample that I wanted to give it a more everyday try.  Now that I’ve been drinking it more often I feel obliged to give an update as a regular user.

The Good:

  • Taste.  I still really like the taste.  Though I will say when I got my first bag it seemed different than the packet – but I think that might’ve had to do with expectations and anticipation waiting for it to arrive.  Overall I still give it an A for taste!  I mix mine with ice and water everyday.  It’s simple, but the ice makes it more smoothie-esque.  I know there are many recipes out there, but this easy one suits me just fine!
  • Ease.  This is a huge one for me.  It is so easy to drink a shake and know I’m getting some awesome nutrients.  I’m not a great chef and with my real chef (Adam) gone, I have to be more conscious about being a better eater.  Shakeology helps me know I’m getting lots of good stuff in one drink!  I love that I can mix a shake right before walking out the door – it’s awesome.
  • Cravings!  I actually sort of miss it when I don’t drink it for a few days.  When I was on vacation I didn’t bring any with me and boy did I miss it! That was one thing I couldn’t wait to get home to!  I knew I liked it, but I was a little caught off guard by the, dare I say, craving for it.
  • Health Benefits. I like the way it makes me feel.  I won’t say that wow bang boom my face is clear and my skin looks great and my health is at 100% (maybe I need to use it longer for those effects ;)), but I do like the way I feel when I’m drinking it.  A little bit could be a placebo effect (I know this is supposed to be healthy and make me feel great – oh look, now I feel great).  Either way I feel healthier and better when I drink it.

The Bad:

  • Expense.  It’s still expensive.  At $139 a bag (that lasts about a month) – it ain’t cheap.  It’s about 5 bucks a shake, which is a lot for me.  (Edit: Shakeology is a little under 139 per bag – so comes out to more around 4.5 per shake). At this point it is a cost I’m willing to work with (Adam is gone and I am buying less groceries :)).  If the cost becomes too much of a burden (remember, I’m planning a wedding people!) I will likely suspend it for a time until I’m able to budget for it.
  • Appropriate Expectations.  It’s not a miracle drug.  Shakeology is an awesome health drink, but I’m not going to expect it to cure my asthma or runner’s knee.  As long as your expectations are correct you’ll like it!  But maybe at 139 /bag you might think it should cure cancer ;)
  • Auto-Delivery.  Beachbody automatically enrolls you in auto-delivery.  Yeah – this was a shocker for me.  I knew you could do auto-delivery, I just didn’t know you had to opt out instead of opt in.  If you want to just try one bag be aware of this feature.  As soon as I figure out how to opt out I’ll let you know.  :)  Because I’m happy still using it I haven’t spent much time investigating.  But it was irritating seeing an unexpected charge on my credit card.  (Edit: check out Heidi’s comment below to see the logic behind auto-delivery aka Home Delivery).

Overall:

Personally I am enjoying the benefits of Shakeology and it allows me to spend less time on one meal of my day.  It makes more confident that I’m getting healthy foods in on a daily basis (hooray!) – because we know my Ramen dinners might not be doing the trick. ;)

I’d recommend it to folks that are looking for a convenient way to get better nutrition and are willing to spend a few extra bucks on it.  For me, at this stage in the game, it is a worthy expense!

-Kelly

Edit: I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with Shakeology in any way.

Getting Back Your Fitness Groove…Post-Vacation.

26 Jun

Well folks, after a lovely week in Hilton Head, South Carolina, it’s back to reality for me!  And I must say, it’s been a bit of a strugglebus.  Not so much in terms of getting back to my job and routine, but just getting back to focusing – I feel like I’m in a daze!  It’s amazing what a little bit of extreme R&R can do.

The week was filled with a little bit of this:

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Ahhh the sweet ocean.

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I swear we aren’t naked.

A little bit more of this…

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Oh lounging by the pool, you are amazing.

And maybe a little too much of this…

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Frosty Frog’s famous daiquiris!

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These are not the same cups as the above photo. Oops.

Yeah…

All in all, it was a fabulous trip full of family (19 of us!), food (some heavenly stuff), and relaxation (by the pool or ocean, um amazing).  Hilton Head is a long standing family tradition; Adam’s family has done it for over 30 years, so it’s something everyone really looks forward to.  During the trip I managed to get in a couple runs and even started group Jillian Michaels morning exercise.

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Group exercise in the living room!

We did the tape 4 times!  Yeah, I’m impressed too.  Unfortunately as you all know, fitness is not the cornerstone of healthy living…it’s more about the food.  All our activity didn’t quite make up for our indulgences, but hey – isn’t that what vacation is for?  I will say, I was sort of excited to return to the somewhat straight and narrow – my body truly has become accustomed to a healthier diet!  Not only accustomed, but dare I say craves it?  Win, I say.

As I’ve rudely and abruptly gotten back into the swing of things, I’ve been mentally keeping track of what has helped most.

Tips for returning to a healthy lifestyle (post-vacation sloth):

  1. Visualize it.  Often if I think about what my workout will be Monday morning, picture it in my head, plan on it, think about it, plan, plan, and just get it so stuck in my head that it’s happening.  And you know what?  I will be okay with it!  Usually if I let myself not plan on it, it’s much harder to talk myself into it when the alarm is going off.
  2. Unpack/Settle in.  Nothing is a better excuse (for me) to not work out than “my house is a mess, I have no clothes, and I haven’t even unpacked my bag!” – Nevermind that I’ve been back 3 days and the bag is still just sitting there.  I will somehow find a way to make that a valid excuse (trust me, it has worked marvelously in the past).  Remove the barrier to working out and just unpack already.  After this trip I unpacked as soon as I could and it was an amazing call.  Trust me, you’ll feel so much better.  I did!
  3. Plan food. Take extra care over the first few days to just get back to eating healthy.  The main reason?  Brain training. I want my brain to associate delicious treats and frozen drinks as a treat.  I mean, that’s what they are, right?  I’m a huge fan of everything in moderation (thanks Mom – the phrase has stuck with me!) and vacation is a perfect time to indulge in some not-so-usual treats.  But… I want to be upfront with myself that I’m no longer on vacation and it’s back to the usual.  I don’t want to let my vacation eating habits linger on for days or weeks or months.  Honestly I feel better when I eat well, and being a bit strict for the first couple days has allowed me to quickly regain those benefits!
  4. Don’t beat yourself up.  Yes, it’s important to get back at the routine and start filling your body with healthy yummy things.  But… it won’t help anyone to beat yourself up about it.  I’ve been focusing a lot on the reasons I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the first place.  That often is helpful in getting me back to better habits without making me feel like dirt.
  5. Just do it.  Visualization and planning will only get you so far when it comes to working out and eating well, at some point you just have to do it.  Get up and keep on keeping on.  The past few days I haven’t focused on quality workouts (yeah I’ll admit it!), more just getting up and getting in my exercise.  I’ve definitely noticed labored, slower runs, and less than stellar JM video performances, but again just glad I’m getting out there!

So far the transition back to reality has worked out well and I even managed to pack myself a stellar lunch/snack bag for work this morning.  Yeah I was so proud I took a picture to send Adam.  I’m doing it, I’m really packing my own healthy stuff and doing it!  Cue groans from those of you that have no sympathy for me losing my little chef :)

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I’m not typically a “show-your-fooder” – but I mean come on. This lunch is perfection! Fruit, veggies, yogurt, protein bar, chicken, oatmeal, and Shakeology. Amazing. Feel free to pat me on the back.

Though I have to admit I’ve had a couple flashes of returning to my old extremely lazy food prep days.

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Dang he caught me! And that non-English jargon is just Kelly-speak for excitement.

The ramen story: I love ramen (well cup noodle to be exact) because it’s fast, easy, and delicious.  Yeah and with a million grams of sodium my body loves it too (not).  Adam is always annoyed when I eat ramen because sometimes I won’t even cook it – yikes, I know.  I got rid of all my ramen during a food drive conveniently during P90X, but as a joke Adam’s parents got me more for my birthday (much to Adam’s dismay). I’ve been holding onto that ramen for a special occasion (when Adam won’t know I’m eating it).  Last night we had a dinner skype date and I opted for whole wheat spaghetti instead – yeah I’m making strides.  :)

Here’s to hoping my post-vacation tips will encourage me to continue to have a successful week!  It’s good to be back!

-Kelly

How do you cope with reality life after vacation?  What tips can you share on not being lazy and eating real meals?

Guest Post: P90X from a Guy’s Perspective

20 Jun

After an awesome guest post from Lyndsay, engagement pictures, and vacation – could this week get any more exciting??  The good news – it sure can.  The second and final guest blogger of the week: Adam!  Yep Lucy, you were right!  He’s going to share a couple thoughts on completing P90X as a guy – adding a little different perspective!  Enjoy :)

View More: http://emilyweisphotography.pass.us/kellyandadam

Adam’s the guy on the right – okay you saw through me, this was just an excuse to post another engagement picture.

Hello races, reps, and ramblers, and happy almost Friday!  Kelly and I are still on vacation with my family, but before we head back to the real world, I’m making my first foray into my fiancée’s blog.  Since we just finished P90X about a month ago, I’ve decided to give you some thoughts on the program from the perspective of a guy trying to gain weight.  I’ll do a quick recap of my results before discussing a couple points I feel are important to guys trying to pick or progress through a training program: P90X vs. the gym, and how to handle a nutrition plan (especially if you’re looking to gain weight).  I ask only two things of you as readers: 1) if you love this post, make some comments about how awesome of a guest I am; 2) if you hate this post, make some comments about how awesome of a guest I am.  Should work out well.

Results Recap

Overall, I was very pleased with my results from P90X.  I gained a ton of strength (increased the number of pull-ups I could do by about a billion percent), and I saw a lot of physical change as well.  By the numbers, I gained some inches in my chest and lost some in my waist (always nice), but I didn’t gain any inches in my arms.  I also lost weight throughout the program, which was not intentional (I’m a pretty slim dude to begin with).  You can check out this post for full results.

Adam Back Oct-May

The Battle Royale: P90X vs. the gym

Round 1: The Time

Performing an intense workout regimen takes a ton of time and dedication, whether that’s at home or at the gym.  While P90X is rather lengthy for a DVD based workout (averages >1hr/day for 6 days a week), it carries a lot of benefits over traditional gym-going. (Random side-note: who decided that Yoga X needed to be an hour and a half?!  Someone needs to have a talk Beachbody.)  With P90X, your workout time is not constrained by the hours of the gym, you eliminate travel time to and from the gym, and perhaps best of all, you don’t have to plan workout/work clothes and materials in advance (I find this last one to be a huge time saver).  P90X takes Round 1!

Round 2: The Iron

Working out at a gym has long been the standard for weightlifting and building mass for the average guy.  P90X claims to be able to get you nice and jacked from the comfort of your own living room, without all those big machines and huge weight racks.  Well… can it?!  Yes and no.  P90X can definitely be as effective as lifting at a gym; however, you need a broad range of dumbbell weights to do so.  With most dumbbells costing about $1/pound, it can get very expensive to accumulate the appropriate weights.  One option to get around this would be buying adjustable dumbbells.  I don’t particularly like them (they can be awkward to lift with and usually only go up to about 50 lbs anyway).  Also, you could use the bands that they suggest in the videos to avoid buying dumbbells.  I’ve tried the bands, however, and while convenient for traveling, I don’t think they’re intended for maximum bulk gain.  In the end, if you’re planning on slowly building your way to a home gym (as I am), investing in the weights for P90X makes sense.  If you don’t see that in your future, then you might be happier spending your money on gym fees.  Tough call, but I’ve gotta give Round 2 to the gym.

Round 3: The Accountability

One of the best ways to succeed in a workout program is by doing it with a partner.  The added accountability does wonders for your workout motivation wherever you may be training.  So what does P90X have over the gym in this regard?  Well, most of the moves in P90X can be done simultaneously with your partner.  Whether it’s camaraderie or competition you’re looking for, it’s just a little more fun if your partner is doing the same move at the same time.  It’s easier to shout at your wimpy roommate for not doing enough pushups if you’re in the privacy of your own home, too.  In the gym, however, a partner can still motivate effectively and provide accountability.  Also, if you’re not significant others, roommates, or neighbors, a gym can often be a convenient place to meet up with a partner for a workout.  Round 3 ends in a draw.

The Skinny Guy’s Nutrition Plan

I have always been on the thinner side, so you might imagine the horror when I realized I was losing weight (10 pounds off at first weigh in) during P90X.  I was following the nutrition plan to a T, and I couldn’t figure out why I was losing so much weight.  I did end up gaining a pound of that back before finishing, but I was still disappointed that I wasn’t able to gain weight during the program.  A few weeks later, we read through the Insanity program to get Kelly started on it, and it suggested eating an extra 300 calories per day if weight gain was the goal.  Whether this was omitted form the P90X nutrition guide or I just missed it I can’t say.  But I can tell you I wasn’t eating an extra 300 calories per day.  That would have added up to 2100 calories per week, and maybe then I would have been gaining weight!  In the end, I learned that as a skinny guy with a high metabolism, I probably need to be eating even more than the guide’s suggest to actually gain weight.

To clarify, this doesn’t mean I can have an extra Snicker’s bar or two.  You still need to eat healthy foods that are within the realm of whatever plan you’re on, but you just need to eat a lot more :)  For some guys, even sticking to a specific nutrition plan can be tough.  When eating out with friends, it can be socially embarasssing to order a salad, or perhaps veggies instead of fries.  If anyone gives you crap about it, I say forget ‘em; just say, “I’m trying to be a little healthier, and every bit counts.”  And if the still give you crap, just take solace in the fact that your six-pack will be laughing at their beer gut in about 3 months.

Final Thoughts

So in conclusion, I think P90X is an excellent at home workout plan for guys, especially if you are thinking of working towards a home gym in the future anyway.  It gives you an excuse to start building your army of dumbbells!  With that said, the variety of weights and machines available at a gym may still be more attractive to the most hardcore of lifters.  Secondly, if you’re looking to gain weight, it may be a good idea to eat an extra 300-500 calories per day above your nutrition plan (depending on your metabolism).

Before I sign off, I just want to take a minute to thank my amazing fiancée.  I’m so proud of her for achieving a dream of hers in starting this blog and putting her ideas out there to help others in a similar situation.  Thank you so much for being a part of her readership and helping me support her in her goals.  It means the world!  Have a good weekend, everyone!

-Adam

Guest Post: Lyndsay’s Top 6 Tricks to Jump Start a Better You!

18 Jun

Good morning and Happy Tuesday!!  Especially happy for me off in vacation-land :)  I’m having an awesome time with Adam and his family, lounging, tanning (with sunscreen), and surprisingly getting a little fitness in too (think group fitness videos – it has been hilarious)!  I’ll be back to the real world soon enough, but until then I wanted to share an inspiring guest post from my real-life friend Lyndsay!  I stumbled upon her blog a few weeks ago (I didn’t even know she was a blogger!) and fell in love with it.  Check her out at alltheshinythingsblog. Enjoy her healthy-living tips and inspiring journey to a healthier state 0f being!

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Say hi to Lyndsay! Man alive – even her pictures are fabulous!

hello readers of races, reps, & ramblings! i write to you today over from my little world at alltheshinythingsblog!

kelly was kind enough to share her space for a day so i could share with you a little about my own weight loss journey over the last year, which has really ramped up over the last 6 months or so. i hit my first major milestone a couple weeks ago, 50 lbs down! my weight loss journey has been mainly motivated by a desire to ramp up my health & avoid the long term consequences of obesity {a word i don’t like to throw around lightly. but i was, by definition, obese. that still hurts to admit}. i was first inspired to share my journey by my own readers, who have been so overwhelmingly supportive of this journey. and i received such a positive response to my tips & tricks for my own weight loss, kelly thought it might be something her audience would like as well!

so here they are…

my top 6 tips&tricks to jump start a better you!

1. start slowly, but strictly. i downloaded the my fitness pal app, and it was a lifesaver. i didn’t know what i was doing when i started–things i thought were lowfat/lowcal still ended up being 600+ calorie meals. i set my goals, pretty aggressively, and limited myself to 1200 calories a day. the app is great because you can add in various workouts, which alter your calorie limits to include them. and it has a really useful database with most foods, or you can add your own. it also lets you track your progress, and i still enter my weight in there, to keep me honest and on a steady downward trend. i think this helped me lose my first 10 lbs or so, and quickly. its a great place to start.

2. cut down your portion size substantially. i wasted some food when i first started, and it was a price worth paying. i know people say “with all the hunger in the world, how can you WASTE FOOD??” actually, the question should be–“how is you eating more of whats on your plate going to solve any of the world hunger problems?” answer: its not. so stop kidding yourself. for me, if i ordered a sandwich or a salad or whatever when i was out and there was no one to share with, i ate half and took half home. immediately. asked for the box before i even started eating. and if it wasn’t reasonable to take home? i threw half away. cue the gasps. but let me ask you this: is your future diabetes/cardiac problems/high blood pressure/etc worth the maybe $5 you threw away? absolutely not. its a very small price to pay for health. for me it was worth it. {note: i’ve gotten much better as i’ve gone along about learning how to get smaller portions, so i now rarely waste food. but if that’s what it takes when you’re starting, do it!}

3. take your own food with you. after i started tracking calorie counts in my fitness pal, i was amazed that there really aren’t any healthy takeout options—i know kelly&adam noticed this when they were on the p90x meal plans. maybe there are a few low-cal {and high sodium} soups at various places, but in general, all meals are 600+ calories. and it sucks, right? so i started making my lunches at home and was able to keep my meals closer to 300 for a meal plus a couple 100 cal snacks throughout the day. in the end i consumed the same, but i ended up saving money and strung them out over the day so i was never hungry. i still do this all the time, and i always always always have a luna bar or a banana in my bag in case there is nothing healthy around.

4. later in this process, i started having some stomach issues and discovered i was lactose insensitive/intolerant {not allergic}. so i cut out dairy to feel better. and let me tell you–the weight FELL. OFF. i was amazed at how much of my diet had consisted of dairy–cheese was a staple for me. cubes, sticks, slices were my favorite snack. i added to every salad, sandwich, eggs, you name it. i ate tons of things with butter in them. my only redeeming grace was that i consumed skim milk {drop in the bucket, no pun intended.} so when i cut it out, the first 3-4 weeks were really hard. my food tasted so bland, and i felt like there was nothing in my house i could eat. but then, my taste buds readjusted. my pantry became filled with things that were friendly to my stomach and my waist line. and i honestly–HONESTLY–do not miss it. i thought i would never enjoy eating again. i was wrong. so if you’re desperate for a quick trick: cut out dairy for a while. it will help you. {ps. make sure you’re still getting appropriate nutrients. i felt very comfortable calculating my own and replaced things with soy/almond milk and tofu as appropriate. if not, make sure you see a dietitian/physician before making any drastic changes.}

5. don’t eat late. along with my lactose issues, i was having problems if i ate much food in the evening. i couldn’t sleep and i felt awful. so now i pretty much stop eating sometime between 4-6pm. if i get hungry after that i allow myself to still drink anything i like–i find dark chocolate almond milk is usually my go to choice, since it has enough substance to quench hunger, but doesn’t hang around long enough to hurt me. many of us consume 1/3-1/2 of our calories after 5pm–we go out to dinner, have a drink, have a bedtime snack, etc. they add up really quickly. if i removed those hazards as an option, i found i stuck to my diet so much better. also, knowing that i would stop eating early in the day made my early day choices better–i made sure i ate a well balanced breakfast and a nutritious lunch, because they were my primary meals of sustenance. it worked for me.

6. most importantly: don’t freak out when you have a bad day. in the beginning, i would get so discouraged when my weight would creep back up a pound or two or even five sometimes. but that’s the way it goes. no one is perfect. {well, some super fitness people are, and kudos to them. i’m not one. i’m super normal.} but then the next day i would get back at it, and not try to balance my bad day by starving myself, although sometimes i would eat a little less the days following until i was back on track. now i have a pretty good cadence going where about 4-5 days of the week i’m pretty good, and i always have a few days of the weeks where i eat something bad. the last two days i haven’t been able to get enough chocolate. but today i’m okay. and i guess i’ve learned to give in when i need to for the sake of the long game.

you’ll notice i don’t have any points in here about working out. why? well, to be honest, i didn’t change my fitness regimen much at first. now i run a little more, i do some fitness dvds now and then. to this point, i was enough above a healthy weight that diet changes were enough to get me here. but i’ve noticed its slowed a lot the last month, and i know whats coming: the last 25 are going to be pure sweat. i’ve been reading a lot about kelly’s experiences with p90x and getting the bug to maybe sign up for another 10k {i ran one with my dad a couple thanksgivings ago & it was SO FUN}.

i hope some of these tips help you if you’re struggling or just looking for a way to be a little healthier. i used to read all these blog posts about successful weight loss stories and wonder if i’d ever get there—and i did. and you will too!

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Lyndsay before beginning her healthy-living journey.

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Here you can see her progression.

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BOOM! Here she is now. Pretty fabulous I’d say.

Hope you enjoyed Lyndsay’s story – it was pretty amazing to get to see it happen in real life!  I can’t wait to see what she does next.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

-Kelly

Friday Favs!

14 Jun

Good morning and HAPPY FRIDAY!  We did it!  We made it!  And… I only did my whole half-a-block of cheese thing for dinner one night this week.  And only skipped my workouts twice.  And watched only 5 episodes in a row of Season 1 Grey’s Anatomy last night while sobbing hysterically over the story lines.  Okay – clearly things aren’t going quite as I had planned.  But before you panic that I’m going to go off deep end – I’m heading off to vacation to recharge soon and honestly the situation sounds worse than it is!

On Wednesday my Uncle was admitted to the hospital while on vacation in Alaska – very scary.  Because Alaska is 4 hours behind me time-wise, it made for a very, very long night.  Thankfully Uncle E is doing well and was discharged yesterday.  They still aren’t quite sure what happened, but possibly an infection.  This was the first time I was super thankful that Adam is a doctor.  He made my family so at ease, and while he didn’t know exactly what was going on (as he wasn’t there and didn’t have my Uncle’s chart), he could translate some of the procedures and tests so everyone felt more comfortable.  Talk about rocking the routine a bit.  Not your usual Wednesday.

And after that… I sort of let myself fall off my routine wagon.  For one major priority: sleep.  After a couple late nights I am just dragging.  This week has been a good lesson in planning ahead, and when I come back from vacation it’s time to turn back to my habits I’ve formed (chopping parties being the main one).  The good news – with my new workout program even if I skip one workout, I’ll probably have running or something else on the schedule.  I’m still meeting the standards for a healthy active adult.  And really – isn’t that what it’s all about?  All said and done, I’m relieved my Uncle is doing well – nothing like an experience like that to put things into perspective.

Fitness Updates

In other news…so far I am loving the Jillian Michael’s workout DVD.  Who knew that 30 minutes of exercise could be so taxing??  After the hour+ of P90X, this has been a welcome change.  I’m looking forward to continuing to use it – it’s been awesome!  My runs this week have been 2 miles each and I’ve successfully completed 2 of them.  Unfortunately, I’m still having knee pain…but hoping it will dissipate as I get stronger with my exercises.  Fingers crossed.  I guess this is just more validation that Insanity wasn’t the right call right now!

Vacation, Beach, and Guest Posts, Oh My!

Tonight I’m off to vacation with Adam and his family to the beach – I cannot wait!  Because I won’t be in full-on blogger mode next week I’ve arranged for a couple of guest posts to shake things up!  Man alive, doesn’t that sound exciting??  I think you’re supposed to be a legitimate blogger before you can really pull off the whole guest post thing.  But here’s the deal folks – I’ve been wanting to share this content anyway, and this vacation is a great excuse.  And somehow doing a guest post makes me feel totally legit, right??  Well anyways, I can’t wait.  One of them is a friend from real life who I didn’t know was a blogger.  Her story to a healthier state of being is pretty awesome.  I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too!  My other guest is a secret mystery person that you may even feel like you already know! ;)

And just because it’s Friday, I’m going on vacation, and I’m in a remarkably excellent mood – I wanted to share some Friday favs!  Enjoy!

 Friday Favs

Favorite Protein Bar

After trying several different bars Adam and I finally settled on Balance bars as our absolute favorites.  They have a good amount of protein, pretty good stats, and taste amazing!!  They don’t leave you with a terrible taste, and honestly I look forward to eating one every day.  My favorite flavors are S’mores, Lemon Meringue, and Chocolate Mint Crunch.  Delightful!

My current fav flavor!

Favorite Running Shoe

In a running world full of Mizuno, Brooks, and Asics… I stand by my forever trusty (and not quite as popular) Adidas running shoes!  Since starting to run long distances with my very first full-marathon I’ve used Adidas shoes.  At this point I’ve tried 3 of their styles and I have loved them all.  Currently I use the Adidas Boston and it has been great.  Why am I so loyal to Adidas?  Well it may not sound exciting or spirited, but they are the only running shoes that don’t make my feet fall asleep when I run!  I’ve tried almost all of the other brands, but continue to find success with Adidas.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

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Maybe not my favorite color scheme, but keeps my feet awake!

Favorite Healthy Treat

Froyo has got to be my absolute favorite thing.  It is divinely delicious, and if you prepare it correctly it can be healthy for you too!  The big trick: knowing how to make it.  While doing P90X, Froyo was on the meal guide, however it was only 4 oz.   Which translates to something like  .25 lbs.  Yeah – shocker… most froyo places measure in lbs (in the US).  So it wasn’t .4 lbs it was .25 lbs.  Talk about portion reevaluation!  This realization has helped me stick to a healthier treat when I do indulge.  Additionally while doing P90X I got used to plain original froyo.  Yep – just the boring white flavor.  But the amazing thing: now that I’m used to it, I actually prefer it (I used to hate it)!!  Now my go-to froyo is a bit of original flavor loaded with healthy fruit.  It makes for a great treat without causing too much damage!  It takes time to become accustomed to no more cake batter or chocolate, but now that I have made the switch, I don’t feel any guilt!

Score.

OH so delightful.

Happy Friday to all and to all a Happy Friday! (yeah…can you tell I’m excited?)

Kelly

What’s your favorite froyo flavor?  Do you have an awesome protein bar you love?

The New and Improved Fitness Plan

11 Jun

After sadly saying goodbye to Insanity (for now), it was back to square one for the next few months of fitness.  Over the past couple days I’ve been doing some brainstorming and mapping to determine the best plan to recover from Runner’s Knee while maintaining (continuing?) my fitness level from P90X.  And finally, I think I have it!

There are 3 main components to my plan: running, hip/knee exercises, and strength training.  Running and strength training are things I’ve been doing for 6 months or so and I wanted to make sure to continue.  I have loved the combo and feel like I’ve really found the right mix for me.  Running for the mental release aspect (stress relieving, calming, etc,) and strength training for the improved toning and strength. The added hip/knee exercises will be the icing on the cake to get my body back to uninjured bliss.

Running

Conveniently enough, my sports med doc gave me a running schedule to work myself back up to higher mileage.  I used this as a starting point and thought about my priorities and timing.  My next big race is in November, and I’m in no real rush to get to mileage like 8, 9, 10 plus.  I’d rather start slow and steady, and keep my mileage low and fast over the summer.  Once August hits I’ll begin official “Half-Marathon Training” and work my mileage up to those higher distances.  Over the next 6 weeks I plan to not run over 5 miles at a time.  I also plan to gradually work on speed.  The first few weeks my goal will be: run without hurting.  After I’ve successfully passed that level – onto speed work!  I’m hopeful my first couple weeks will go smoothly to allow for speed work (something I’ve never really done before – an adventure!).

Strength-Training

After many months of P90X I am mentally ready for a change, but I don’t want to give up the convenience of already-planned workouts right from home.  Interestingly enough, at my last physical therapy appointment on Friday my amazing PT recommended a workout DVD that would be low impact on my knees.  Score!  Her recommendation?  Jillian Michaels: Ripped in 30. I have never done a Jillian Michaels DVD, but my PT had me at: it won’t hurt your knees. At this point – I’m willing to give anything a go!  A huge benefit: these workouts are only 30 minutes!  After a usual 75 minute workout with P90X, this will be a breath of fresh air.  And will allow me time daily for…

Hip/Knee Exercises

The newest addition to my workout routine should hopefully be the missing piece of the puzzle!  Upon completion of my physical therapy, my PT gave me an awesome list of exercises to strengthen my muscles and improve my knee alignment.  My plan is to incorporate different ones daily.  Since I’m used to working out for more than an hour in the morning, I’m hoping 15-20 minutes of exercises will round out my morning session.  Ideally this added piece will help me continue to heal and strengthen my body to prevent future injury.  These exercises include things like hip raises, lunges, and all sorts of things that involve a strengthening band.  Sounds good to me!

So what does this look like?

Once I realized my priorities and strategy I had to sit down with the ever handy Microsoft Excel to map it all out.  I made groups of rows for weeks and plotting everything out.  The key?  Balance.  I wanted to make sure I allowed my body enough time to rest, but still allowing some great working out.  I have made such strides that I don’t want to fall backwards!  I’m still tweaking the final version – but here’s where I’m at now.  Running 3-4 times a week.  Lifting 5 times a week.  Hip exercises 5 times a week.  And… a couple ab rippers/yogas/cores thrown in for good measure.  I’m looking at my weekday workouts as required, and my weekends more on the optional side.  If I’m traveling or away from home I might not be able to squeeze them in every time.  And that’s okay. During the summer and such a crazy busy (exciting) time of my life – I’m okay if I miss a few workouts.  Once fall hits that might be another story.  But honestly, I think mentally I need a less intense program for now.  I deserve a little rest :)  Just a little.

Oh yeah, what about nutrition?

Well, I’ve thought about that one too. After my very successful “post-it note eating” I’m sort of craving something a little different as well.  I’m leaning toward straight old fashioned calorie counting with a focus on higher protein.  I know I know.  That’s so restrictive!  Calorie counting is no fun!  That’s limiting!  That’s not trendy!  Well here’s the thing folks.  Truth be told I’m not fantastic at eating the right amount on my own.  Cue gasps.  I can’t intuitively know and listen to my body about portions and food.  Because you know what my body says?  EAT THIS WHOLE BLOCK OF CHEESE RIGHT NOW.  It might also say… You should also eat this whole thing of cherries too. Honestly I can’t really trust my brain to not let me eat a whole box of white cheddar cheez-its mindlessly while I write this blog post (note: that is not currently happening, phew).  So as much as counting calories isn’t fun and can feel restrictive at times, it is what I need to do to stay conscious of what I’m eating and remain healthy.  I know many people can be successful without this, but sadly I’m not one of them.  Maybe in time that will change!  Here’s to hoping I can train my body to not crave entire blocks of cheese. Dang it.  Now that I’ve said it so many times I really want to grab some cheese right now.  See?? Gah.

Eat me. Eat all of me! YUM!

I’m planning to log my calories in My Fitness Pal.  I’ve used it before and find it really helpful.  This free app is fast, easy, and sort of fun to track things.  I don’t want to obsess over my calories – oh no I ate 50 more than planned!  But, I do want to use it as a tool to make sure I’m not letting myself get too comfortable (multiple days far above my plan might be a red flag).  Remember folks, I’m not very good at feeding myself!

Hey brain – start ONLY wanting this stuff! Come on, be a buddy.

Wish me luck!

I’m really excited about my plan and feel like it will really accomplish my goals nicely.  Tomorrow will be my first day starting the Jillian Michaels DVD and hip/exercises – woot!  Should be a great change.  I’m looking forward to printing this puppy out, taping it on the wall (where my Insanity calendar used to hang), and enjoy crossing the days off!  Yay for plans!

-Kelly

Have you ever created a work out program from scratch?  What tips do you have?

Successful half-mile run!

6 Jun

Well, after an exciting/disappointing assessment from my most recent visit to my sports med doc, I put in my first couple runs on my training schedule!   Tuesday I ran my half mile jog and this morning I graduated to my 1 mile run.  Yep, that’s all!  I felt pretty good, though a bit tired.  It’s funny, when you are used to running at higher distances it’s amazing how short half a mile can feel.  That was a pretty nice feeling.  Though it reminds me of my rehab days from my ankle injury a couple years ago.  After getting out of my cast/crutches/cane/walking unassisted, I was absolutely elated when I was able to first run a half mile without stopping!  This week I’ve been trying to recall that experience and the joy at being able to run any distance.  So whether it’s 7 miles or half a mile – I’m going to celebrate it!  Running really is a gift, and I am so fortunate to have a body healthy enough to do it!

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Do you see the giant bird I spotted on my run this morning?

Because I am not able to do Insanity (yet), I have fallen back to my trusty P90X videos.  I really enjoy the workouts and I am to the point where I don’t like missing a weekday of a workout (Hallelujah!).  I am not doing them in any particular order at this point – just one a morning to maintain.  Over the next week my plan is to create a workout schedule for the next 6 weeks.  It’s going to be called “Get My Knees and Hips BUTT KICK Strong”  or something like that – I’m still working on it :)  I’m hoping to combine running, P90X videos, hip/knee exercises, and maybe throw a couple Zumba/other videos in there just for some spice – I have been doing P90X for more than 6 months so I’m ready for a mix-up.  I’m looking forward to sitting down and mapping it out next week!

 Ch ch ch Changes…

This is Adam’s last week living in Indianapolis and bittersweet for sure.  It’s finally sinking in that he’s leaving (sniff).  Adam begins his residency program in Nashville, TN on July 1st and that next chapter will be incredibly exciting!  I get nervous butterflies for him just thinking about his first day!  I will stay in Indianapolis at least through our wedding (January) – so it’s back to long distance for a bit.  Womp, womp.  It’s going to be a shock to the system, but I figure I’ll have more time to wedding plan, workout, and blog about both of those things!  Additionally for my birthday a few weeks ago, my family got me a TV and cable/Netflix (I think they thought I might be lonely).  I am not used to having a functioning TV (sort of got used to living without it for the past couple years), so I guess I could call that my fiancé replacement :)  If you don’t hear from me, I’m probably fine…just watching whole seasons of Lie to Me in my pajamas oblivious to the world for shower-less days on end.  Yikes.

 Pause for a moment of Mushy Gush (or skip ahead)

Remember that cabaret Adam sang in last week?  The one where we got to dress up like fancy people.

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Heading to the cabaret. Yay for fancy clothes!

Well, a review of the show came out, and I almost dropped my computer when I read it.  Please bear with me while I share an excerpt – I’m bursting with pride!

Baritone Adam N., undeniably the most impressive member of the cast, is a recent IU Medical School graduate who is leaving Indianapolis soon to move to Nashville where he will undergo his residency. Showing the sort of star quality that might have landed him in the entertainment big leagues had he chosen that route, Nagy was stupendous in both his vocal and dramatic interpretation during his swan song performance of Jason Robert Brown’s “She Cries,” from the musical “Songs for a New World.”

For serious!  I can’t make this stuff up.  At another point it calls him electrifying.  Wow.

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Looking good Dr. Adam!

Learning to feed myself again

So in addition to losing my singing, working-out, doctoring fiancé…I’m losing something else.  I have a big confession to make.  A big one.  Like I don’t even want to admit it.

Deep breath… so Adam has been on vacation the past couple months (i.e. no work).  Because of this extra time and his kind heart, he has made my food for the last 2 months or so.  And by food, I mean every single thing I eat.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snacks… yeah… everything.  I know, I am beyond spoiled.

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He even tells me if I need to get things to supplement the meals he makes.

I’m almost embarrassed about how much of a help he is to me…I don’t want to use words like “helpless” or “lost”…but that’s what next week could be like for me.  Pathetic, I know.  So one new exciting aspect to this blog could be “Kelly learning how to feed herself again.”

Quiet on the blog front

In our last couple days together in Indy we’ve been doing exciting things like Wedding Registry and packing.  It’s a thrilling life, I know.

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Doesn’t this towel look lovely for our registry? I swear I’m not pregnant – just my purse underneath it. Adam says I look like a creepster in the picture. I say classy.

The nice safety net is that although Adam moves next week we’ll just have 4-5 days apart before reuniting for a week of family vacation (with his family in Hilton Head).  Woot!  Because of this upcoming departure, things will be pretty quiet on the blog front for the next bit.  I want to make sure I’m soaking up every last minute of time together.  Send me strong thoughts and vibes so I don’t totally lose it next Tuesday when the moving truck pulls away!

Happy almost-Friday! :)

-Kelly

Weekend Relaxation and Insanity in the Morning

2 Jun

What a great weekend!  It all started with an amazing Thursday evening.  Adam is a wonderful singer and performed in a local cabaret.  It was a great opportunity to dress up and listen to my favorite crooner.  On Friday I left for a weekend in my former-home, Madison, WI.  I spent time with old girlfriends, and it was fantastic to catch up.  We enjoyed shopping, eating things not on the P90X nutrition plan, and even went to see Wicked!  It was phenomenal.  I even managed to find some green accessories and shoes for the engagement photo session next week. Score.  All in all, an awesome time.  I left Adam behind, but I don’t think he was too upset…reportedly lots of video game and TV time occurred.  Oh the horrors.

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Delicious heavenly cheese curds from Madison’s Farmer’s Market. I may or may not have eaten this entire bag. (Hey! I shared…)

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This chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream…totally on the P90X nutrition guide ;)

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Green shoes and accessories from a successful shopping trip!

After such a relaxing and somewhat indulging weekend, I’m actually really looking forward to starting Insanity in the morning!  I’ve had several days off from a serious workout, and I’m sort of itching to get back at it!  Last week, though I had finished with P90X, I did do 3 of the DVDs just to have something in there.  Watch out, bright and early Insanity begins!

What is Insanity?

Insanity is another at-home fitness program by the some company as P90X.  The program is made up of a series of DVDs I’ll watch and requires no equipment (cool!).  It varies from P90X in that its primary focus is high-energy interval training (I’m imagining something like P90X’s plyometrics, but I’ll find out soon!), instead of using weights for lifting.  Insanity comes with its own nutrition plan and the program lasts 60 days.  This evening I spent some time reading about the program and planning out the meals for tomorrow.  Insanity DVDs typically last 30-45 minutes and are done 6 days a week.  The short duration will be a welcome change, though I’ve heard they are so hard it will feel longer!

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Opening up my kit to learn all about my next 60 days!

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Day 1 begins with a fitness test and ‘before’ pictures.

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Adam carefully reading the nutrition plan. He’s going to be my chef this week – what a doll!

Tomorrow morning starts with the fit test and introductory DVD bright and early.  I’m excited to see what it will bring.  Wish me luck!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

-Kelly

Have you done Insanity?  Any tips for a beginner? 

Awesome Recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

29 May
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Mmmm.. delicious oatmeal bake!

If you love oatmeal and are looking for a unique (and super simple) preparation of it – this recipe is for you!  Ani over at Miles For Thought shared this awhile ago and I have been in love with it ever since.  I think Adam and I have made it three times in the past couple weeks.  It’s awesome.  Thanks Ani for letting me share it – it is so worth a share.  Her blog is full of tasty and healthy recipes – so check her out.  This oatmeal bake is really easy (a requirement for me), nutritious (lots of fiber!), and has a small ingredient list (you don’t need to go out and buy a ton of things to make it happen!).  While doing P90X, Adam and I counted a serving as a carb, half a fruit, and half a protein.  We love this recipe because it makes enough for a quick breakfast for two days for the both of us.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups oats (old-fashion or quick oats both work)
  • 2 cups original Almond milk (can use any milk – I’ve done half almond/half skim and that’s great too)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 medium bananas (mashed – 1.5 cups.  Tip: mash the bananas in the peel first.  Also err on the side of more banana.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I’m not a huge nutmeg fan, and omitted it from my bakes and it still tasted great!)
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Super easy – not many ingredients!

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. If you don’t have an 8×8 dish you can use cake pans like I did.  What can I say?  I’m a super classy baker.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, dry first and then wet.
  3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan or pans.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown along the edges and set in the middle. Remove from oven and serve warm.  This stores well and you can reheat it for breakfast days later.  Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition: 304cal, 58g carbs, 5g fat, 10g protein, 8g fiber

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What a helper!

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Pre-mash the bananas in their skin and it makes the stirring process a bit easier.

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Tada! Ready to go in the oven. I even stored the mix in the fridge over night and baked it in the morning. Worked like a charm!

Give this one a try – you won’t regret it.  Enjoy and Happy Wednesday!

-Kelly

Do you have any great oatmeal recipes?

 

Cake Batter Protein Shake

15 May

When it comes to cooking or food prep, I like simple.  I mean really simple.  (Check out my simple salad or simple asparagus here).  I tend to be pretty lazy about food (it’s really a problem).  Because I want to focus on healthy eating, I’ve gotten a little better about spending time to produce a quality meal/snack.  But if you love simplicity like me, you’ll love this simple cake batter protein shake!  Add just a couple ingredients and suddenly your normal (perhaps somewhat chalky) protein shake turns it into a delicious treat!  Originally I found this recipe on pinterest months ago and altered the recipe to be even simpler (are you noticing a trend?).  I can’t find the original pin, but please know that this recipe is inspired by another recipe somewhere out there on the intarwebs.

Ingredients:

  • Protein powder
    • We use chocolate or vanilla muscle milk.  We’ve used other brands – essentially whatever we find at Costco :) Both flavors work for the recipe.
  • Sugar-free instant pudding mix
    • Again you can use chocolate or vanilla depending on your fancy.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
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Not many ingredients – both vanilla and chocolate pudding pictured.

Directions:

  1. Put 1 or 2 scoops of protein in a large cup (depending on your preference/needs – I use 1, Adam uses 2).
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of instant pudding mix.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
  4. Fill cup with water while stirring (helps reduce chunks).
  5. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  6. Add crushed ice cubes.
  7. Drink and enjoy your cake batter heaven!
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Mmm…cake batter deliciousness!

Could it be any more simple?  Just a few alterations and it really does make for a fun treat!  Now it doesn’t taste exactly like cake batter – but it is an awesome way to spice up your usual protein shake.  I haven’t tried branching out beyond vanilla or chocolate, but I’m guessing there are many wonderful possibilities!

Enjoy!

-Kelly