Tag Archives: healthy-living

Ch ch ch changes!

5 Feb

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks!  With the wedding behind us I’m now focusing on the next major life event: relocating to Nashville, TN.  I’ve made it to The Music City safely and there are no words to express my excitement and contentedness.  It’s just so amazing to be reunited with Adam and live in the same apartment.  We keep reminding each other “Hey I’m your wife/husband and we live here together.” Pinch me. Okay…yeah, vomit.  Sorry.  But seriously, we’re just so thrilled.  All is right again!

photo (4)

Hooray! Officially a Tennessee resident!

Adam is working nights and I still haven’t started my new job yet, so we’re in this strange twilight world land all the time.  But… I’ve been using the time to do all the work that you sort of forget about when you get married: thank you notes, name change stuff, moving stuff, etc. etc.  Most of it requires a lot of paperwork and running around, but I’ve made some decent progress and I’m feeling good!

photo (3)

We also drink out of these fancy glasses when we’re bored.

Speaking of work… I found a new job and I’ll start in a couple weeks!  The position involves a LOT of travel, which I’m excited/scared about.  I used to travel a ton for another job and it makes ‘balance’ in life a very tricky thing.  HOW WILL I BRING MY WEIGHTS IN MY SUITCASE?!?  A crisis I still haven’t settled.  I know being healthy on the road will be a challenge, but something that will force me to be more creative than ever before!  Plus I’m so used to this whole ‘healthy’ thing and I love it.  Well, I love how it makes me feel.  That’s something I definitely don’t want to give up.

Speaking of healthy… as promised I am just giving myself a get out of jail free card and just enjoying food to my heart’s desire.  Honestly the week or so before the wedding I was pretty stressed and didn’t do a good job of “everything in moderation.”  I didn’t really purposefully deprive myself, but let’s just say I was really ready for some pizza after the wedding.  (Note: we did order a pizza the Sunday after the wedding).  But… now that I’ve had my fill of chocolate and chipotle and deliciousness I have been reminded of why I generally try to eat well in the first place (And why I stay away from deprivation: it just makes you want more).  You. Just. Feel. Better.  I’ve toned down the candy this week and I’m already feeling a bit more like myself.  Adam and I are planning to start P90X3 one of these weeks before I start my job and I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine.  Though this mental break from exercise and meal planning has been welcome.  I’m a huge fan of planned breaks – it always is a good reminder of why you put in the work to stay healthy in the first place!  Though I do feel a bit rebellious to admit how little I’m exercising and how much chocolate I’m eating. Wahaha. Everybody needs a break right?? :)

And finally… my “bridal style” has been featured on a blog!  I know, right!?  Nuts.  I’m planning on doing a couple wedding posts once I get gather the energy to do it right :)  So in the meantime, check out the blog post with a few of the professional shots!! :)

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

Yay fancy wedding pictures!

 

 

http://www.theblacktiebride.com/black-tie-bride-style-kelly-at-the-fountainview/

Have a great week!

-Kelly

Advertisements

Wedding Workout Prep

16 Dec

Sickness strikes… and with it, no motivation for health and fitness.  I’m talking zero, zilch, nada.  Funny how that works huh?  All I want to do is sleep, eat, and hibernate.  I have had a cold for about 3 weeks now (brilliant timing right?)… and let me tell you – no fun at all. I’ve sort of been taking it easy fitness wise just to get through the shows with what knee/vocal/sick strength I have…but with White Christmas finally over (tear), my attention now is turning to the event just under a month away!

Goodbye White Christmas!

Here’s our last White Christmas promo – from the TV station.  It was so fun, I was like a fancy person!! Hard to believe that our 4 weekends of shows have come to a close.  It was such a wonderful opportunity and seriously the time of my life. Such sweet memories. Though  I must say, I definitely feel the need to recover. I am le tired.

http://www.wishtv.com/indy-style/footlite-musicals-presents-white-christmas

Wedding Plan!

Alright folks, I’ve got a confession.  With 32 days until the wedding… I feel like 85% of my posts over the next 6 weeks will be wedding related in some way, shape, or form.  For this I deeply apologize, BUT it’s pretty much the only thing on my brain.  I’m just SO focused on it that it’s really hard to work up some passion about my usual topics!  And let’s be serious… weddings are fun.  And soon it will be over and then you’ll NEVER have to see a wedding post again*  Cue the celebrating or sadness.

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in terms of “Wedding Workout Prep” is starting my road to healthier habits and fitness long before I was even engaged. Adam and I had a priority of getting healthier and using each other as accountability partners.  We went through the growing pains of learning those new habits and getting used to working out on a daily (or at least weekly ;)) basis.  This process occurred while we WEREN’T under the stress of wedding planning.   Which meant… by the time we were engaged we were more in maintenance mode vs. “Oh crud, I really want to love these pictures… time to tone up” mode.

dress

Can’t wait to wear this in a month!

I now have realized I need a plan– mainly because I’ll no longer be tapping/dancing/sweating to death every night AND the holidays will hit here soon.  The sickness has also bumped me off my fitness bandwagon a bit, time to get back at it.  I want to enjoy some delicious holiday food, but people I have to fit in that dress! For the past few weeks this is what I’ve been up to:

Due to knee issues I’ve sort of given up on completing a full round of P90X (the plyo/legs workouts are just not possible).  So I’ve been doing sort of a P90X/ChaLean/Yoga hybrid.  Very fancy, right? Between the sickness and shows I’ve been getting in my workouts a solid 4 times a week (except this last week when the sickness was ridiculous… I did nothing.  Yep no working out.  At all. Strange).  I won’t complain, but it is a bit strange after being a bit more regimented.  I want to up my workouts to feel my best going into the wedding, and help with any pre-wedding anxiety or stress that may hit.  I just always feel better when I’m working out.  Fact.

I’ve done a pretty good job overall sticking to my “Eat What’s in the Bag” diet.  This fancy ‘diet’ was sort of coined by Adam.  I pack my lunch box in the morning full of everything to eat the whole day: veggies, fruit, lunch, snacks etc. Everything in there is good for me, and if I just eat what’s in there and don’t stray… I’m good to go.  It’s incredibly easy to follow, and prepping my food once a week (usually Sunday evening) means I just throw the bag together in about 15 minutes each morning. It’s amazing. I’m planning to keep this going (well indefinitely because I really like it).  But my biggest hurdle will be not gorging over the holidays.  Must be (sort of) strong.

For a little fun, let’s compare the MONTH BEFORE wedding prep for Adam and Kelly:

Kelly’s Plan (or Goals ;))

  • Workout 6 days a week (continue P90X/ChaLean/Yoga).
  • Bring my videos/equipment to keep up my schedule during the holidays (SO hard!)
  • Prioritizing healthy eating.  Enjoy holiday treats in moderation. (Can that even be done!?)
  • Making Adam work out with me when he’s with me for my own accountability :)
  • Keep doing the habits I have learned, don’t panic or do anything extreme!

Adam’s Plan

  • Work 14 hours a day 6 days a week
  • Try not to kill patients
  •  Sleep when possible
  • Work on wedding stuff in any remaining free time
  • Eat as much food as possible to gain weight.  Operation Make Adam Not Super Skinny has begun.

It’s so cute, when we first got engaged Adam had all these goals about us both getting into great shape for the wedding… and then reality hit.  He’s in his intern year of residency, so working out just isn’t really a priority.  I keep telling Adam that he’s just wearing a suit so honestly it doesn’t matter.  As long as the suit fits!!  Adam has the terrible luck that when he doesn’t workout – he loses weight.  What a poor dear.  So I’ve been reminding him weekly to eat up!  The last time I saw him he had a small pudge, so efforts are working :)

My big takeaway: Keep on keeping on.  I really don’t want to put pressure on myself to do anything extreme or unhealthy, because let’s face it – a wedding is a lot of pressure.  And especially our 300 person (fingers crossed it will be less) wedding… that’s a lot of eyes on me.  I don’t want to let this pressure manifest itself to something unhealthy.  Just take every day as a chance to be healthy and active.

Wish me luck!

-Kelly

What did you do in preparation for your wedding?  Any tips?  HELP!

Learning to Like Yoga

12 Nov
photo(10)

My trusty yoga mat – maybe I’m also learning to tolerate it because Adam used it to propose. He’s a tricky one.

Yoga and I have long been sworn enemies.

“Wait, I just have to stand there holding that position?!  Where is the cardio?  Where is the high intensity?  I’m bored.  Are we done yet?”

“Hmm, so you’re telling me that I need to just relax and sit there?  And  empty my mind?  How the heck do I do that!?”

and…

“I’m expected to hold positions called ‘downward facing dog’ and ‘tree’ and take this whole thing seriously?  Yoga people are in la-la loosey goosey land”

All of these thoughts have crossed my mind about yoga at one point or another. For many years I had a flat out yoga boycott. “It’s stupid and touchy feely, therefore I will not do it.”  That seemed to be enough for me.  I happily avoided yoga, pursuing other fitness endeavors including running, zumba, or the elliptical. But within the last year, something within me has changed: I have learned to appreciate yoga.  This has been a conscious effort and it hasn’t been without work!  It’s a huge step and honestly, I’m not that upset about it :)  These are some of the reasons I wanted to ‘learn to like’ yoga:

  • It is very complimentary to high intensity fitness.  Doing yoga on my “off” days is perfect.  It allows me to remain active and workout, without too much wear and tear on my body.  I use it for days off from both running or lifting.
  • It can be refreshing.  Once you understand it and know some basics, it can feel very refreshing when you’re done. It took me about 6-8 months to feel ‘refreshed,’ but eventually it happened.
  • I am injured.  Yeah, between my knees and now my ankle, I wanted a form of fitness that I can do despite injury or age.  Yoga rarely irritates my knees.  Yoga FTW.
  • Increased flexibility which helps other things.  Whether it’s running or dancing, increased flexibility can have a positive effect on performance.  I have really enjoyed the new flexibility gained.  Makes me feel less “old” :)
  • I feel like yoga is helping me have a more ‘well rounded approach’ to caring for my body.  Instead of focusing on burning calories and high intensity, I’m giving my body a little love by forcing myself to slow down, stretch, and smell the roses.   All things I need!
  • I can’t run so I need something where I can ‘zone out’ – after months and months finally yoga is that for me.

So how did I do it?  How did I force myself to learn to like yoga?  Well, first of all… it takes time.  And in my case, lots of time.  I didn’t expect it to happen overnight, and frankly I had very low expectations for even liking it at all.  Here’s what I did.

How I Learned to Like Yoga

  1. Start with a DVD.  I started doing yoga out of the comfort of my own home.  I didn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed in front of a bunch of yogis.  I didn’t have to worry about not knowing what the heck to do.  And for me, this method was perfect.  I could watch the DVD and learn on my own schedule and timing (conveniently could pause it if I needed more time to study a move).  The DVD got me familiar with the lingo and ‘language’ of yoga.  Heck, it even allowed me to laugh out loud at some of the ‘silly phrases’ that can come along with yoga.  What can I say, I’m mature.
  2. Start with a routine.  I did yoga every Thursday.  I just knew it was my yoga day and dang it if it was scheduled, I was going to do it.  I did the DVD as a rotation of other workouts so I was in the habit of working out every day and yoga was just the next one in line.
  3. Mentally prepare for it.  Starting about Wednesday morning I had to start ‘talking myself into yoga’ so I’d be ready by Thursday morning (and wouldn’t press the snooze button).  I would give myself the expectation that I was going to do it and think about all the reasons why I wanted to do it (distress, stretch, flexibility, stamina, mental health). Self talk can be a powerful thing!
  4. Start small.  P90X has a yoga DVD that is 90 minutes long. NINETY MINUTES!  Well knowing my hatred of yoga I knew that just wasn’t a smart way to get me to do it.  Adam and I found a yoga DVD that had 6 different segments that averaged 20 minutes long.  We could do anywhere from 20-60 minutes by combining different segments instead of 90 minutes.  This was my gateway to yoga.
  5. Get a mat.  Making a small financial investment in yoga made me feel more invested ‘in my practice.’ I guess I would liken it to runners buying their first pair of ‘real’ running shoes… just makes you feel like a runner.
  6. Be patient and kind to yourself.  Holy cow those first few weeks months of yoga were frustrating.  I felt like I literally couldn’t do anything. I tried to be kind to myself and constantly reminded myself that this was a journey that would take awhile and benefits would come.  They may take forever, but they’d come.  It took a lot of positive self talk (remembering the why) to get me to return.
  7. Have an accountability partner.  When I first started yoga I had Adam to encourage me to keep going.  And I could encourage him on the days he felt less than enthused.  Now that I’m out of the hating phase, I don’t need one as much – but it was incredibly helpful during those first few months.
  8. Take a class.  When you finally feel ‘ready’ – take a class!  Just a few weeks ago I took my first yoga class after about a year of doing yoga at home.  It was awesome!  I could understand what was going on and while I’m by no means great at yoga, I felt competent at least attempting most of the moves.  In the class I learned more proper technique for some moves and it was very beneficial.

So there you have it – my recipe for success.  I still don’t ‘love’ yoga, but I’ve made huge strides. This morning I voluntarily chose my yoga DVD because I’ve been pretty sore lately due to all the dancing and P90X, and I wanted a low impact workout to take care of my body.  Yep, I wanted to do it.  Crazy things can happen kids.  I guess it’s time to call a truce with my war on yoga.

Hope you’re all having a great week.  Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Do you do yoga?  Why?  Any major benefits you enjoy?

One Year of Strength Training!

22 Oct

Just a quick hello to say “Happy Anniversary of Healthiness to Me!”  Yeah, what a narcissist. ;) But, but… I’m SO happy!  (And dare I say, shocked?)  I’m happy I’ve been able to keep up this lifestyle for a full year!!   When I started P90X exactly one year ago today I was hoping and praying it would be a long-term change.  I wanted to make some improvements in my health for the better.  And I’m beyond delighted that I’ve stuck with my new habits for a full year.  Here’s to the next year of fitness and healthy eating being a regular part of my life!

IMG_3669

Now my fridge looks like this! (Well, when I remember to grocery shop ;))

Kelly Back Oct-May(2)

At the start of my journey exactly one year ago today!

ChaLean Extreme: Lean Phase

18 Oct

l_024eb0a0-e410-11e2-959f-419e1ca00016

It’s hard to believe I’m in the home stretch of ChaLean Extreme (just 1 week left!).  I am now in the 4-week “Lean” phase.  The first 30 days: Burn, the next 60: Push, and finally LEAN!  This last phase is similar to the rest of the program in that every day I’m doing a different workout.  This is so important to me and keeps me motivated (and interested!).  There are 3 days of weight training (Mon, Wed, Fri) with Tuesday yoga (they have a rest day, but I threw in my yoga DVD), and Thursday an interval day and Saturday as a cardio.  It’s a great mix of some variety filled fitness!  Woot!  The great thing about the lean phase is there are more full body movements.  In the Push phase we focused on one body part at a time, for example: Bicep curls.  We maxed out at a heavy weight, aiming to do 6 bicep curls.  Now in the lean month we are combining two movements.  For example, bicep curls with calf raises.  This engages the core (awesome benefit) and helps get the heart rate up a bit more.  The sets are up to 12, but with a lower weight to survive all those curls!

The structure of the lean phase workouts is great and really makes things fly by.  I look forward to the workouts, though they definitely are challenging.  AND the Extreme Abs workout?  Holy difficult!!  There are moves in there that I’ve never seen before (hello, clap sit up?) which is really fun, but also challenging.  It’s great.

The length of the lifting workouts is a bit longer: on average 40-50 minutes.  And when I add in Extreme Abs (16 minutes), it does make for quite a bit longer workout than phases 1 or 2.  But I love that it’s been a gradual increase of time and will really help when I go back to P90X (gah… 75-90 minute workouts).

The workouts themselves are accessible to a wide range of levels, with modifications offered for every move.  I really love this.  Chalene instructs you how to care for your body with good form.  With my knees there are some moves I just can’t do and it’s great to have a lower impact option.  I think ChaLean Extreme has been a great prep for P90X and also break from it!  Though I am doing less push-ups and pull-ups in ChaLean Extreme, so I feel like I may be losing a bit of strength there.  Let’s see when I start P90X in a couple weeks.

ChaLean Extreme has been a great, well organized program – the lean month is no exception!  Ready to bring it for just a bit longer. And I promise to try and get an after picture next week!  What a slacker…

Happy lifting! (and more importantly, Happy Friday!!)

Kelly

Dedication to Fitness and Healthy Eating

16 Oct

The last few weeks I slowly came to a realization.  I officially started my “lifestyle change” in October of last year, so I’m coming up on a full year of fitness (hooray!!!!). Perhaps it’s the length of time, or the stress of wanting to fit in my dresses for all these weddings. ;)  But I kept having the thought, “oh my gosh, I’m going to have to do this for the rest of my life.” (Editor’s note: duh). “This” referring to eating well (and fitness too).  And you know what?  I was pretty grumpy about it.  Dear goodness, I’m going to have to put in ALL this work for the rest of my life to stay this way???!!  I’m going to always have to pack and plan food?  Always have to get up super early to work out??  Never have a week of eating Qdoba for lunch and pizza for dinner every day?  Nooooo……

I cannot carry on at the thought of not eating delicious Qdoba multiple times a week.

Image courtesy of Imgur

It was the realization that I enjoy being fit, that I like fitting in my clothes, and I love the stress of not worrying about pictures ‘getting a bad angle’  … all things I worried about before I started my ‘get fit’ kick almost a year ago.  But this mood brought up not so pleasant feelings like:

  • Dear goodness, am I ever going to be able to enjoy eating junk without the thought of gaining the weight back? (or falling off the wagon)
  • Will I ever be able to just go out to lunch regularly like a normal person and not pack and plan meticulously?
  • Why can’t I just be like Adam and several of my other friends that don’t gain weight no matter what they eat?  Will I always have to carefully watch what I eat? Life is so unfair, wahhhh…
  • Why do so many people seem to eat whatever they want and live so happy and care free?  Some blogs only reinforce the thought, “Oh look at how much I can eat, I’m not a girly girl. Being careful about what you eat is for the birds!  You must be obsessive or weird to watch your food closely.”  When the reality is: some people gain weight much more easily than others.  And it’s okay to be that way too.  I mean right?  I am normal, right!?  Right??
  • Does it make me weird to have to watch what I eat?  I get razzed all the time at work about my affinity for avoiding sweets and packing healthy.  I’m not doing it to make others feel bad, I’m not doing it to prove my healthy supremacy, and honestly I just wish I could eat my weird healthy food in peace and quiet (and maybe hide it ;)).  AND, and… I don’t do it every day and I’m not perfect at it.  It doesn’t make me a bad person to have to watch my food.  It’s just my reality. Heck, it might be your reality too.

I was feeling sort of bogged down by all of these feelings.  A big contributor is not being able to run.  I think I never realized how much my running allowed me to be more flexible with my eating.  Now that I can’t run I do have to be much more careful.  I don’t want to say that I look at cake and gain weight, but let’s just say I’ve never been blessed with a super fast metabolism.  Such is life.

See! I’m running!

Image courtesy of Imgur

I have let the thought of meal planning for the rest of my days overwhelm me.  I sort of sulked about it and went to the “woe is me, poor Kelly will always have to be careful because she doesn’t have a killer metabolism. Life is so unfair.  What a tragedy.”  Yeah… let’s just say it was a pretty pathetic thing. Generally I just read the news and that helps me figure out there are much bigger problems in the world (seriously I recommend this tactic if you’re ever feeling some self-pity).  But still, it was a mood killer to be filled with these thoughts.  I continued to packed my lunch, still ate well, but I did so with a certain bitter flair.

Let’s face it… living healthy is a lot of effort.  I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I do try my best to be healthy (garh, cupcakes, cheese, and pb nom nom nom). To me my ideal ‘healthy-living’ looks like:

  • Packing a balanced lunch everyday
  • Grocery shopping once a week to make sure I have fresh stuff
  • Chopping parties to make sure I have easy to eat veggies/fruits.
  • Exercising 5-6 days a week.  And I love sleeping, so this is a big one.
  • Avoiding yummy, delicious foods in an office with treat bowls and tons of snacks/candy.
  • Will power. Using my stinking will power. Gosh it’s draining.

The past weekend I didn’t have full control of what I ate, (and I ate many sweets because, duh, it was a wedding) so I splurged a bit.  I was left feeling pretty lethargic, out of sorts, and honestly, kind of grumpy.  It sort of shook me out of my pathetic sadness funk and made me realize: Healthy living IS SO WORTH IT.  So I  dedicate this post to those days where you don’t want to keep living the healthy lifestyle, when you feel jealous that you can’t eat whatever you want all the time, and when you’ve forgotten why you keep at it every day.

Why it’s worth it:

  • Healthy living makes you feel your best.  It just does.  It’s like filling your car with the right fuel… it runs better.  When I’m eating well and exercising I feel more energized, less stressed, and happier.
  • Healthy living can help with other health problems.  When I’m eating well I also gain a clearer complexion, and less chronic aches and pains (less headaches mainly). Awesome side effect.
  • Healthy living to me means moderation.  It doesn’t mean I can’t ever eat sweets again (like mopey Kelly was convincing me), it just means that they stay treats.  They stay something I eat and enjoy on occasion.
  • Being stronger is awesome.  Seriously I love feeling like I can step up to the plate whether it’s moving boxes, cleaning, running, or dancing… I just feel more durable.
  • Eventually it is a great coping mechanism (instead of turning to food when I’m stressed).  For me, I FINALLY feel like this is starting to happen.  Honestly, I still turn to food when I’m super stressed (oh gosh, huge wedding decision must eat peanut butter.  THE WHOLE JAR YUM!).  But… it’s getting better.  I don’t feel the need to emotionally eat all the time.  It still happens, but I want my new coping mechanism to be exercise or yoga.  It’s taken me about a year to fix this habit (honestly I didn’t realize that I did it until a few months ago), but changing habits is hard.  Again – so worth it.
  • And a little vanity – heck it’s awesome fitting into clothes, it makes shopping less stressful, and I’m not scared of getting my picture taken.
  • Long-term.  I’m taking care of my body to last a long time.  I’m doing it for me, but also my future husband (eek!), future kids (I’m on the 10 year plan), friends, family, or anybody that wants me around for a while.  I want to be healthy for me, but also for them!
  • Healthy living makes me feel more ambitious and outgoing.  When I’m healthy I feel like I can conquer the world.  It’s an awesome feeling and is worth all the effort to make it happen.
  • Living my old lifestyle was JUST as draining, though not in the same ways.  Sure I’m not spending all the time up front… but I pay for it in the long run.  I feel more sluggish, less happy, and not nearly as optimistic.

Any more to add to the list?  Leave me your thoughts in the comments.  Let’s get pumped up on why it’s worth the effort!!

There’s a reason it’s called a “change of lifestyle” – it means learning new habits and acquiring new skills.  And it’s hard.  If it was easy we’d be a population of lean, healthy, fit people!  And there wouldn’t be such things as “healthy-living” blogs.  But at the end of the day… it is so worth it.  Now next time I’m complaining about being burned out or not wanting to chop another pepper, just point me to this post.  Truthfully, I just needed to write this letter to myself to remind me why I began it all!  And what an awesome journey it has been!

Happy Fitness, friends!

-Kelly

ChaLean Updates!

26 Sep

Hey Friends!

I hope all has been wonderful!  It’s been a whirlwind of a two weeks for me full of a wedding (no, not my own, 114 days til that!), a time-out on working out (Dr.’s orders), and moving.  I always said that I wanted to blog because I had something helpful or valuable to share…and let’s face it folks – the last two weeks just haven’t been very interesting.  So I didn’t blog, because whatever I said would have been painfully boring.  Sure I’ve been busy, but who wants to hear “Oh my gosh I’m SO busy.”  Gross.  You’re welcome for not blogging.  Let’s try and keep this stuff relevant and interesting. ;)  Additionally, it’s one of those things where when faced with the choice of blogging about healthy living or actually trying to live healthy, I’m going to pick the latter every single time.

So what has been so important to keep me away from all my blogging friends!?  Well, a picture essay for you all to enjoy:

photo(86)

A lovely South Carolina destination wedding!

photo(85)

This lovely beach wedding was for Adam’s cousin, though sadly Adam couldn’t attend (stupid residency). I sang “Lucky” during the ceremony and had a lot of fun!

photo(87)

Oh yeah, and I wasn’t the most healthful eater. Oops.

photo(84)

But I caught the bouquet! Hooray! :)

photo(92)

Packing up my apartment! My lease is up and I’m moving in with my soon-to-be in-laws (the coolest people in. the. world.) until the wedding. Call me old fashioned.

photo(88)

I made egg scrambles for my parents. Let’s just say they were overwhelmed with my sheer amount of culinary talent.

photo(90)

My Dad picked out his suit for the wedding! Isn’t he dashing?

photo(91)

The bridesmaid dresses came in! I tried it on to show my gals! One lives in Seattle and the other in Atlanta, so pictures are everything! Please ignore the moving mess behind me. :)

Yeah – so life is crazy.  Anyone else out there a perpetual let’s-make-things-busier-than-needed person?  I do it every time.  But again, I must enjoy it :)  And if you’re crazy like me, I’m sure you do too!  Okay, onto some relevant updates!

ChaLean Extreme

I’m still pumping iron with Chalene and loving it!  I feel strong, lean, and really haven’t noticed adding any bulk.  This week I “restarted” week 4 of Phase 2.  Last week I had a non-emergent medical procedure that forced me to take 5 days off from working out (stir-crazy!).  I decided to just re-do my week and will begin my FINAL phase of ChaLean Extreme next week.  I’m still really enjoying the program and would HIGHLY recommend it as a terrific beginner program – because Chalene is so patient.  BUT, it’s also great for advanced folks because she really pushes you to lift heavy.  An awesome program.

I’ve also been doing some thinking on P90X vs. ChaLean and will have more words with a complete post – but I do find ChaLean to be an excellent introductory program to P90X.  I think it could really help people get ready to complete P90X successfully.  If you’re worried P90X is too extreme, ChaLean is a great thing to try, because it really offers many modifications (more modifications than P90X).  Additionally, ChaLean is shorter (avg. 40 minutes a day vs. 75 minutes a day).  If you’re not used to working out daily, adding just 40 minutes a day is more doable than the full 75 of P90X.  So if you’ve been wanting to give lifting a go – give P90X a try (I’m thinking of you Lucy!!).

That being said – coming from P90X to ChaLean hasn’t seemed like a huge step-down for me.  Sure it’s shorter and not as intense (time wise and variety of movements), but I think it’s been a needed break and variety while still pushing myself.  Honestly I recommend it either way.

I’m still struggling with the eating program.  It is not as structured as P90X, so I’m having a hard time sticking to it.  I’m doing sort of a hybrid of P90X/lower calorie thing.  It’s been semi-successful, but mainly I’m just trying to eat clean, healthy food.  Which I find difficult if I’m not structured, a struggle for me.  I’m not really doing ChaLean for weight loss (though I wouldn’t hate losing a pound or two) – so I haven’t stressed too much about staying to the recommended 1300 calories.  I will say – I would probably have better results if I followed that, but that’s just common sense!  Not practical for me at this point though.  But please note – your results will differ largely from mine if you do incorporate the eating program.

Knees

Yeah it stinks and still hurts and I still can’t do anything about it.  I try to run every couple weeks just “to check” to see if it’s better.  I ran yesterday to wake up to excruciating knee pain today.  I don’t have anything nice to say about it so I won’t say anything at all.

I’ve decided to abandon running to protect my knees for all the DANCING I’m doing.  I’m rehearsing choreography often and I feel like that’s enough strain on my knees.

Post-wedding I’m planning to get more serious as far as doctors, tests, solutions to my knees.  At this point I’ll just settle with being happy I can dance and do my lifting programs.  I don’t want to inflame them to the point I can’t work out at all.  Smart?  Yes I do agree.  So much for my “running” blog.  Yeah.  Poor me.  Hahah.  I think I’ll survive.

I think that’s enough for now.  Happy almost-Friday!

Kelly

Running After Runner’s Knee

20 Aug

025

Well folks, the good news – I’m running again!  I just finished my second full week of running and I’m feeling pretty okay.  I can’t say great, but I also can’t say bad.  I’ll take it!  My knees still feel somewhat achy, but are not full on painful.  Additionally I’m taking it slow and being very patient with myself.  I feel like until my alignment is really 100% straightened out I will probably continue to have achy knees.

To recap, what I have done since my Runner’s Knee diagnosis.

  • Took roughly 2 months off from running
  • Worked to improve my hip strength and flexibility through targeted exercises and yoga.
  • Stayed away from high impact exercises like Zumba, Insanity, or Plyometrics.
  • Focused on strength training (for my whole body).
  • Slowly working back into running following a running program from my doctor.

So far, it seems to be working, albeit far too slowly for my liking.  I know it takes time to develop the strength to improve my alignment, and it requires diligence.  From my doctor, research, and personal experience – these are the things to keep in mind when returning to running after Runner’s Knee.

1. Take it slowly!  You will not be able to BOOM run exactly how you were running.  And that’s okay.  Be patient and let your body get back into the swing of thing.

2. Continue to work on the root cause.  In my case, my runner’s knee is caused by week outer thigh muscles.  This is causing my knee alignment to be a bit off.   I have continued to work on these muscles even after starting up running again.  The exercises that help most: balance exercises, squats, or leg raises to the side.  Essentially anything that gets a little burn going in the outer thigh.  This is the number one thing to actually fix and lead to a successful recovery.  If you don’t attack the root cause – it will likely not “just fix itself”.

3. Maintain (or gain) a strong core.  Strength training can be a huge tool for runners to build endurance and speed.  I’ve continued to lift weights to remain strong and durable for my runs.

4. Increase mileage slowly.  I’m taking this one to heart and very carefully (and slowly) increasing my distance.  The most I’ve gone so far is 3.5 miles, with this week getting up to 4.5.  I really want to allow my body the chance to acclimate to distances.  No knee freak-outs please.  :)

5. Stay positive.  For me this translates to continuing to do other activities like ChaLean Extreme or Yoga.  If my knees hit another road block, I don’t want to fall into a dark pit of despair.  My positivity is also allowing me to focus on carefully and mindfully train.  I don’t want to get too excited and do some damage!

 

Until I’m back at it 100%, I’ll just keep plugging away at my recovery plan.  My doctor assured me that Runner’s Knee is relatively minor and it is totally possible to fully recover.  But I want to know…do any of you have success stories recovering from Runner’s Knee?

Have a great Tuesday!

-Kelly

Strength Training for Women

9 Aug

file000845412568

If you’ve been around here a time or two before, you know I LOVE lifting.  It keeps me strong and has been super helpful keeping my mind off running (or the lack there of).  It hasn’t always been this way though.  I used to be a little cardio monster…pretty much only doing cardio.  I had it in my head that I would bulk up with weights.  Genetically, it seemed completely possible to bulk up, as both my sister and I have always had arms a bit on the thicker side (really helpful in things like tubing behind a boat :)).

When I first started P90X last October, there was always this little bit of fear…am I going to turn into a manly lady?  Not that that’s a bad thing, just not what I’m going for here. Throughout round 1 of P90X, I found myself not bulking up, but actually toning up.  The heavier I lifted, the more it seemed to work and the tighter I got.  By round 2 of P90X I lifted as heavily as I could and guess what?  No evidence of going hulk!  In fact, I loved what the strength training was doing for my body!  As a previous cardio monster, I wondered how I was ever going to get that toned look.  “Come on, I’m running 40 miles a week – shouldn’t that be enough?!”  Well, for me the secret has been strength training.

P90X and ChaLean Extreme are both programs with a heavy focus on strength training.  Meaning we do curls, lateral raises, squats, tricep extensions, and presses – all with weights!  Most of the time I’m fluctuating between 5-15 lbs. per exercise, but this far exceeds my previous days of  my 5 lb. limit: “if I lift over 5 lbs. I will get bulky.”  In my experience, it seems that the only way I would get bulky is if I was trying to: supplements, hormones, or other means.  Amazing.  Mind blown!  (In a good way!)

Inspired by my experience of shattered ideas (that I’ve held for most of my life), I went to the internet to find some support.  Of course I found articles on bodybuilding.com or bodybuilder about the importance of strength training.  But what surprised me was the other locations that touted strength training for women (and training more than just the 2 or 3 lbs. that I thought would get me looking toned).  Discovery Health, the Huffington Post, Prevention, and Shape all had a few articles pop up in seconds, and there are literally hundreds more.  If you’re curious about women weight-lifting you’ll find all that you need in just a couple of clicks.  These were some of the highlights from my research (articles above) that stuck out to me, talk about empowering:

Reasons for Strength Training

  • You burn calories after the session.  A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that up an extra to 100 calories were burned in the 24 hours after a weight-training session.  Take that cardio!
  • Bye bye Belly Fat!  A study by the University of Alabama found that women who lifted lost more belly fat than those choosing cardio alone.  Yes please.
  • Injury prevention.  The stronger you are, the less prone to injury you will be!
  • A stronger core will make you faster (running).  This happened to me, and I was shocked!
  • Strength training revs up your metabolism!  Chalene is always saying that we’re waking up our metabolism.  And that’s a great thing!  As she said, “higher metabolism, more food” Yay :)
  • Strength training lowers blood pressure for 10-12 hours after the session according to William Haskell at Stanford.  This is one of plethora of health benefits – I’m not even talking vanity.
  • Strength training gives you a sculpted, defined look.  Period dot.  My arms didn’t change “size” in measurements during P90X but holy cow did their look change.  Much more toned!
  • Lifting weights is excellent for women because it can help with the battle against bone loss.  This is especially crucial to prevent osteoporosis.  Now that I think about it… I should really be talking my mom into this!
  • You feel like a champ.  I mean, I feel like a lot of words after a good strength training session.  But let’s just say champ.  Or maybe like Will Smith getting out of the space ship after kicking the alien’s butts in Independence Day.  Yeah, like that.

So if you’ve never considered lifting or strength training, I highly encourage you to give it a go.  It may surprise you, just like it surprised me!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

-Kelly

Are you a fan of strength training?  What benefits have you found?

ChaLean Week 1 Complete!

5 Aug

Happy Monday!  I’m excited to start my second week of ChaLean Extreme.  And when I say excited, no sarcasm here.  I am truly excited to keep at it.  Perhaps I’m still in the honeymoon stage, but I am seriously loving ChaLean (and Chalene :)).  Since I already gave you all the reasons I like it so far, I thought I’d share a bit of the schedule and type of workouts I completed this first week.

The first 30 days (of 90) is the Burn phase.  Each phase is 30 days and has a different focus (Burn, Push, Lean). I’m only assuming that each of the workouts reflect this focus.  I’ve definitely been feeling the burn with this first week!  There has been a big focus on lifting (heavy weight) and combination strength training.  Another nice thing about this program: 2 rest days a week!  This is perfect if you’re like me and enjoy variety.  I plan to do stretching or yoga on my days off to mix it up.

ChaLean Extreme Schedule:

Monday: Burn Circuit 1

  • This workout is about 35 minutes long (awesome!) and starts off with a nice warm-up.  I used 5, 8, 10, and 15 lbs. throughout the video doing squats, curls, and presses.  I probably could’ve gotten by with less variety in weight, but I have them so might as well use them! I was sweating by the end of it and really liked each of the exercises.  Throughout the video there was always a low-impact option (which I always took).

Tuesday: Rest Day!

Wednesday: Burn Circuit 2

  • Similar to Burn Circuit 1, this one is about 35 minutes long and focuses on lifting.  Many exercises had similar moves to circuit 1 and a similar lay-out – but it didn’t feel repetitive to me.  Again – another thoroughly enjoyable workout!

Thursday: Burn Intervals and Ab Burner

  • What a fun little change!  The heavy weights were gone in this workout, instead focusing on reps.  I used much lighter weights (I don’t think I went over 5lbs), but we did about a billion reps.  I sweat a lot and loved the upbeat feel of this one.  This day is a bit longer with Ab Burner (10 minutes).  I think I was working out for about 50 minutes total?

Friday: Burn Circuit 3

  • Back to heavy weights for this one!  More squats, push-ups, and curls.  A similar style to circuit 1 and 2, but again a nice new variety.  Loved it.  Around 30 minutes?  (Clearly I should’ve paid more attention!)

Saturday: Burn it Off and Recharge!

  • Made up of two different segments, this workout was more about cardio.  We did some classic plyo moves and a few with some light weights.  Again, there was always an option for low-impact with I always took.  Fun and energetic, I enjoyed the variety.  The recharge element consisted of yoga-like stretching.  This was the longest day or tied with Intervals, at maybe 45-50 minutes.

Sunday: Rest Day

Progress So Far:

Call me crazy, but I feel like I’m already getting results!  Yes, they are very minor…but I am feeling stronger and healthier.  I’m watching my diet more closely and even attempting to cook!  It’s amazing what really clean eating can do.  I feel more toned and can’t wait to see actual results.  I think my results of this week are more a mental thing – I’m just feeling great!

photo(63)

This is real life. I actually made this. BY MYSELF! Egg whites, peppers, soy sausage on a whole wheat tortilla. I’m fancy.

photo(64)

This week I’m taking it to the next level with pre-chopped bags of veggies to add to my egg whites. Extreme fancy.

After upping my calories to around 1500-1600 calories I’m in a much happier place.  It seems to be a more doable amount of calories for my size and activity level.  I’m not quite as angry :)  I’ve decided to continue to use the MFP app to track my food during the week.  With this program I’m giving myself the weekends off – at least from strict tracking.  Honestly tracking your food is hard work, and allowing myself a bit of a break will hopefully allow me to return each Monday refreshed to track again.  I’m still planning to eat well on the weekends, just not quite as intensely! This weekend I attended a bridal shower and enjoyed some of the tasty yumminess as a treat. :)  During P90X I allowed myself treats around once a week and this strategy seemed to work well.  Everything in moderation!

photo(62)

Working on drinking more water. I even added these fancy cut limes to the water. Are you noticing a fancy trend?

I feel like I’m just gushing about this program, sorry for the annoying enthusiasm about it – but I have just been so happy with it.  It could also be a rainbow of happiness just to have a program I can follow again that I enjoy, and that my knees will allow!  My heart is just happy to be working out again!

Kelly