fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

fitness and nutrition

3 am Nachos

I sure do love nachos. Well they are not my favorite food but if I have a craving for nachos I definitely want to devour them.

I prefer nachos piled high. Lots of gooey cheese. Some onions. Maybe some peppers. For meat I favor fajita chicken but I wouldn’t say no to beef as in taco meat or some nice fresh shrimp. Diced tomatoes sprinkled on top. A sprinkle of shredded lettuce. Topped with avocado for a bonus. Black beans are a bonus too. I can tolerate a small amount of jalapeños but I would probably just go without. I’m sure I’m missing some topping but if I write any more of a description here it might just make me crazy.

I think I just described a mountain high pile of my dream nachos that should have my name on it. You see I was going to eat those nachos as a celebratory meal after my 5 kickass weeks in the CrossFit OPEN.

As fate would have it, the Mexican restaurant I went to was full. No bueno for me. No nachos. No oooey gooey cheese. Talk about a major let down. I moved on for sure, I lived another day or so.

Then Monday hit and I realized I’m back on my macro counting food plan. The macros that are limited to keep me on track with my health and fitness goals. So you wonder what that has to do with nachos, right? EVERYTHING!

Nachos are not your friend. Chips are not your friend. Beans are full of carbs. Cheese is okay but the oooey, goooey kind and quantity I refer to is just off limits. Nachos do not fit in my macros and I can’t have a cheat day on the first day of macro counting. Grrrrrr……

3am hits and I awake from a damn dream. A nacho dream. That’s it folks a dream about nachos and how I missed my chance at nachos last Friday. Then the dream became a nightmare when I realized I have some plans coming up that entail visits to my local Mexican eateries. Ugh, this is a real world issue.

Does anyone else have a nacho issue? I guess I am going to have to find a healthier version of nachos to fuel my desires for now and exercise my restraint and discipline. I will be digging deep to my core on this one.

Can you believe I woke at 3am because of nachos and actually wrote a blog about it? I sure did because it helped me defer and deflect my desire to eat those nachos. It may be a temporary win but it’s a win nonetheless.

Nachos are not a friend of this Chick. And I’m pretty sure my nachos are my counterpart’s tacos. Hehehehe, maybe she will write about her taco dreams one day. And for this girl, it will be a protein shake for breakfast possibly. No pancakes. No nachos. No surprise here.

I hope that I made you hungry for some yummy Mexican food. Remember there are some options that can be macro friendly when you eat out at Mexican but tacos, nachos, chips and margaritas are probably not on the list. And of course all of those are on my list of faves.

I am going to go back to bed now and hope for a dream of rainbows and unicorns or anything non-food related so I don’t wake up again hangry. Or I can celebrate my shoe addiction and the fact that I’ll be lacing up my brand new shiny pink, white and black Nike Metcon 4xds in a just a few short hours. Defer, defer, deflect those nachos. Moving on to my shoe addiction which I will have to save for another post.

I bet you never thought or expected my post-OPEN post to be about nachos. Since I am not your typical chick, nachos it is. My content is real. My content relates to my experiences, my relationships, my opinions, my adventures and of course my challenges and celebrations.

Enjoy my ride. Some days will be full of sunshine while others may be darker in nature. That’s why it’s called life. And what is life without temptation. Today’s temptation came in the form of nachos. I overcame this temptation and a few other speed bumps in the past 24 hours. 

Nighty, night or rise and grind peeps. Its technically Taco Tuesday and I may have just inadvertently annoyed my writing partner with this food post or maybe even you. Be sure to tag a friend today in honor of Temptation Tuesday. Instead of spreading joy today, I’m spreading nacho/taco dreams!

What could be a better way to start your Tuesday?

fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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dare to be different, hustle

Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?

We were out of school one day this week.

Naturally, I arrived at the gym at 6:30am.

A friend greeted me: “You’re off today.  Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?”

Maybe.  And many people would be snuggled up on a frigid January morning (and were!) But, for someone like me, a day off of work is a chance to start my day at the gym.  Although I was #team530am for nearly a year, my current schedule of work / life responsibilities doesn’t allow for crack-of-dawn workouts very often.  I miss that morning jolt of energy! There’s nothing like conquering a workout before the sun comes up. The time will come again.  Life just has its seasons.  #team430pm will have to do for now, as often as I can get there.

So, while others were relishing a few extra minutes of sleep, I was working on my burpee box jump overs, thrusters, and assault bike. Might not sound like fun to some, but it carried me on a wave of confidence and accomplishment for the rest of the day. Yes, it was challenging.  Yes, it asked a lot of me. But, as the corner of one of the signs in our box says, surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.  Getting to the box does just that, for one part of my life’s mission: to be healthy, strong, confident. All the friends who scraped themselves out of bed to workout are on their own version of that mission with me. This is also why online communities like the Stronger U group and many others are so helpful.

What mission are you on?  Do you surround yourself with others who are on that journey, to encourage each other and show up even when it is hard?

perspective

Ch-Ch-Changes: Chick 2’s 2018 Recap Post

2018. A year of change.

Here’s a recap of Chick 2’s year…one with much more change than usual.

Since I mentioned working on my weight a while back, here’s the 2018 tally.

Started a challenge on January 15 at 243.2 pounds.

Final weigh in of the year: 193.6 pounds. Total loss for the year (minus the first couple of weeks, which I gorged myself knowing that diets were on the horizon): 49.6 pounds. I did a series of eating plans, including keto, modified paleo, and now I am working with Stronger U Nutrition. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but right now I am primarily learning to pay close attention to what I eat and portion sizes. All the changes have helped me grow (and shrink!)

Pics above are February to December. Do you see a difference?

My major life change was moving schools. I worked at my previous school for 5 years. It was a great situation with many beloved co-workers. No school is perfect (since there are humans involved and humans are notoriously messy), but I had a lot of freedom and trust.

Still, for several reasons, the time was right to switch. It would be a better opportunity for my daughter and bring on new challenges for me.  The jury is still out on this life change…it’s been a tougher adjustment for both of us than I had anticipated, but I am still hopeful that it will work out.  (And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, lessons!) Pic below is me getting ready to host the governor’s wife in my library this fall.

My older daughter left the nest to live on her own.  It has been a Proud Mom Moment to see her work hard, scrimp, and come to a new appreciation of life’s challenges and earnings.  She puts in a lot of effort to maintain her independence.  She embraces her strength, uses her smarts, and works at her health.

I’d be leaving out a big part of my life this year if I didn’t mention my fitness family.  I spent a lot of my time this year sweating out stress while smiling at CrossFit Pure.  It was time for a change late in the year, so I’m happy to now call CrossFit Faded Glory my gym home. You’ll definitely hear much more about this amazing place in future posts.

I have worked through some setbacks with injuries, but I still stay as consistent as I can.  I know that my diet is the major part of my weight change, but CrossFit has changed my body shape as well as my confidence level.  It’s a journey I hope to continue.  Deepest thanks to all of my coaches and “classmates” (co-sufferers / co-crazies) who keep me going (in mostly the right direction) each day!

Goal post coming soon.  Until then, thanks to 2018 for all the lessons.  Welcome 2019 and more changes for the better!

fitness and nutrition

All that ASS!

Ass, buttocks, gluteus maximus, rear end, booty, butt and so on. We all have one or some version of one. The title seemed fitting as we will hear about my big ass and how my ass story has evolved over the past several years. Now that I think about it, I could have titled this blog differently but maybe you wouldn’t have been drawn to read it. Is the suspense killing you yet?

My ass used to be a bookshelf or so I called it. It seemed to have a ledge of some sort. (I will spare you a pic of this). One that could hold up a book if I leaned the proper way. I may be exaggerating a little but not much. My kids used to sing “baby’s got back” in the car and openly called it my jam. The lines of emphasis were her butt is just so big I can’t believe it’s so round it’s like out there…

I also coach lacrosse and parents sometimes catch my backside in photos when coaching their kids (again, I’ll spare you the pic). OMG that back side a few years back was like the side of a barn…again, maybe a slight exaggeration but one my loving and adoring family would point out. Was it out of love or other motivation? I don’t know but it’s in the past. It is just part of my story. I should have a new jam to symbolize my strength and new curvy backside! An anthem of sorts.

As my story unfolds, I can now say I’m a health freak, a workout-crazed woman, a food-weighing lunatic, a macro-mastering Mom, but guess what? It’s what I’m doing so others, including my family, will just have to deal with it. The new year is here and it’s time for new goals, new challenges and new dreams. I am ready for it all!

Each day we start over and reset. We each have the ability to have a good or bad day. We have the ability to eat healthy or not. We can choose to exercise or not. We each make those choices each day. As I found my inner spirit and what makes me launch forward each day with positivity, I celebrate each and every day and laugh with those I surround myself with. I make a conscious effort to remove negative influences from my life whether it be a friend who sucks the life out of me (not really a friend) or a food that just makes me sleepy (like cakes filled with carbs) or toxic work environments. When one can find the life balance that excludes or keeps these nuisances at bay, progress is easier to attain.

What changes can you make in 2019 to realign your quality of life?

Fast forward to now, today and I’m rocking the booty in my mind. Heck if I compare to my past buttocks size it’s definitely factual to state I’m rocking the booty, but others may have their own opinion. I have had my ass spanked more than once, in public, yes, by others who check its firmness jokingly, lovingly, or in a humorous way. That is cool, I guess or it doesn’t bother me. (I am flattered by the attention, I suppose) but for the purposes of this blog, we are going to see my ass through my eyes as it represents progress with my coach and my fit journey thus far.

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All those squats going up down, up, down, up, down. You get the song reference right? Lunges for days that make you feel the pain in your glutes the next day. So many reps that getting up from the toilet is a major struggle. Pelvic thrust in the early am when the gym guys think you are practicing sex moves or that’s where their mind goes. Anyway they are all worth it in the end when you put on that new pair of jeans and you can see your hard work via definition in the tight ass that you now proudly prance around with. Yes I said it. Prance, strut, flaunt. If you work for it be proud of your progress and show it. It also helps when you bump into people you haven’t seen in a while and they say “wow, you look amaze.” That does wonders for the motivation bucket! #bootygains

This week’s blog is dedicated to all those working on stepping up their ass game and all those who motivated me during my fit journey this far. Everyone needs a David (yeah, David), Geovanna (best butt in town), Mount (get lower he says), John (keep pushing), Noy (Tabatha who?), Vic, Lexie, Stefan & Kelsey (power couple), Tasha, Sarah, Tommy Morris (Mr. Faded Glory himself), Shane (getting dainty), Nick and so many more I forgot to note here. One squat at a time. One pistol at a time. One lunge at a time. One macro at a time.  You can improve your ass game if you commit to the process.

You don’t need a Brazilian butt lift, ladies or gents, to get results. You just need some sweat, some time, some effort and some motivation. Maybe even a kick in the ass from a workout buddy, coach or dear friend. A new pair of jeans is a great place to start for motivation of course. Don’t wait get that ass moving now.

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As I close out this post I sigh deeply knowing this month marks the 3-year benchmark of my health and fitness journey so far. Midlife crisis to some. Inspiration to others. Peaceful hustle to me. I have accomplished so much yet have so much further to go. Buckle up folks, you are in my story. Fab at 50 here we come!

This is what my last 3 years of fitness looked like:

2016 – 24/7 workout place with a friend 3-5 days a week then we added some fun 5ks. The Foam Glow Run, the Bubble Run and the Color Run. The add-on 5ks were to step out of my comfort zone and no, I didn’t run them all 100%, but I finished.

2017 – I was going to CrossFit after finishing up a bootcamp the previous fall. I competed in my first CrossFit open and that was when I could really see how I did against others in my age group across various strength and stamina workouts. I upgraded my runs to challenge me as well. I completed a Tough Mudder, Terrain Race and ran a 10k. What was amazing about the 10k was I hadn’t done that race since 1997 or 20 years prior. Talk about a milestone and recommitment to fitness.

2018 – This was the year I would stretch even higher. I would visit other CrossFit boxes when I traveled to see if I could fit in outside of my comfort zone. I did my 2nd CrossFit open and worked hard to improve my personal ranking overall in my age group and complete more movements than I could the year before. I ran the same 10k again but focused on trimming my time which I did by over 10 minutes.

My most exciting challenge of 2018 was competing in CrossFit competitions. One at my local box, one as a three girl trio, one as a dynamic duo with my workout buddy and then finished out the year with a squad competition with five fit people from two different boxes that I met over the years. Each team member has been important to my growth and development and this was a time to celebrate progress in a fun and dynamic way. I am so thankful for each of them and stoked I got to create a big memories with my badass squad to finish out 2018.

And finally, I focused on my nutrition and macro counting to get my weight in tune with my fitness. This was definitely a battle but I have learned to love water and learned I don’t need pizza and my chips in my life on the daily. I can be content with a high protein yogurt or chocolate covered nut instead. Life is all about choices and so is nutrition. It takes patience and commitment to stay the course.

2019 will have new goals for me to embrace. I am hopeful you all can get after your goals list and be a goal getter just like me. Next book title was firmed up as this blog post hits the internet. Big news. Big year. Big goals ahead. 2019 here I come!

More scribbles and rants to come from me in 2019. #kt247 #2chx #1095days

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fitness and nutrition

Water Weight?

I started a little competition at my box in the month of December. Eating clean for 25 of the 31 days of the month.

Pretty easy for me since I already count macros but this challenge has some interesting accountability points that I thought would give me another layer of accountability this month. Here I am with the challenge to combat This holiday month that is full of many temptations. #Decembergoals

Enter water: drink a full glass with every meal on day one!
Drink 6 glasses of water today. Ha, this was easy as it was the same day as my competition.
Drink 8 glasses of water.
Drink 1 glass of water for every alcoholic drink…on New Year’s Eve #evil

But I decided to set out a glass each day and fill it up at meals and make it a priority to drink my water. I then made it a point to bring water to the gym which I normally don’t do but I can now chug said water after the workout. Then I changed out my Sparkling Ice drinks for regular water. This is major for me!

Before starting the macro movement I struggled with water. Ice drinks got me through the first six months, no joke. And right about now I was getting sick of the Ice drinks or favorite flavors so now I am making the move to just plain old water. This is a miracle in my mind of some sort, but a lesson learned. You can overcome anything you set your mind to. Seriously, start small and test the theory. You can and you should!

And now that I am embracing water I have to deal with water at restaurants. I have a hard time drinking nasty tap water and sometimes that’s what you get. Sigh! Anyone have any suggestions? Send me a message or post. I’d love to hear about some trick to get over this small hurdle.

Scale report: I think the first week the water intake increased my scale but it could just be a coincidence. However I did feel like I went to the bathroom every minute on the minute. #realworldissues

Before I wrap up this blog I wanted to share a mid-week update. I have been in a YASSO mood. As in YASSO desserts. They have an amazing array of flavors but then they taunt us with their holiday treats just like Starbucks does! This time I fancied the sugar cookie flavor and it didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for a little pick me up snack, give the YASSO bars a try.

I can. I will. I am. Those are my action lines for 2019. No more I can’t. I won’t. I shouldn’t. Out with the negative in with the positive. All this stems from a silly water challenge. Funny how life flows. Glad to share my life views with you all over the 🌍.