Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Will Get There

Hello again!

It's been two days since the Return to Blogging, and I know you've been waiting with bated breath to see how my crazy fitness and nutrition plan has been going.

Well, friends, wait no more.

Let's start with Tuesday, the day that my "mission" started.



Breakfast: I made Poached Eggs with Tomato, Swiss Chard, and Chickpeas for breakfast this week. It reminded me of one of my favorite Nom Nom Paleo recipes, Uova in Purgatorio. But guess what, y'all? This was better. I loved it and am already excited to make it again next week.

Lunch: I brought a huge salad for lunch today. Hy-Vee (my favorite grocery store ever) has a great salad bar, and I threw together a bucket o' veggies, a sprinkling of blue cheese and slivered almonds,  and a couple tablespoons of sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.

What makes lunch a huge success is that it was our staff appreciation luncheon, and our administration bought us huge Subway sandwiches and delicious-looking desserts. I attended the luncheon but ate my salad instead of the other goodies.

Dinner: I made one of my new favorite recipes, Blackened Shrimp Tacos. I think I could eat queso fresco on everything. To drink, I had a kombucha, as I'm trying to up my intake of probiotics.


Snacks: I ate an apple and a Quest bar (my new favorite protein-packed treat).

Overall, I was right on track in regard to my macros.

Workout: I did a leg/butt workout that included deadlifts (starting with 135 pounds and working up to 165, as I'm still re-building my strength), good mornings, leg press (373 pounds), calf raise (on the leg press machine), two miles on the elliptical, and Week One: Day One of Sore to the Core.

Basically, I killed it.

Mini-Goals: I hit my 10,000 steps and drank four Camelbaks of water.

Tuesday was a success!

Breakfast: This could get boring. I ate the same thing I did on Tuesday.

Lunch: Again, this is pretty boring, as I ate my leftover tacos. But, I added some roasted asparagus.

Dinner: I forgot to take a picture of it, but I made one of my new favorite, easy, made-up recipes that I so cleverly call Chicken with Peppers and Queso Fresco. (I told you that I could eat queso fresco on everything...)

Snacks: I had an apple after my workout, and then things get a little trickier. I finished up some Good & Plenty that I had leftover from my weekend road trip. Then, J and I went to a show, and I had a beer (followed by soda water w/ lime) as well as a few of the steak fries he ordered.

But, all of that kept me within my macros!

Workout: Today was another kick-ass day at the gym. It was chest/back day, so I did bench (starting with 45 pounds and moving up to a formerly-easy but currently-difficult 85 pounds), close-grip bench (55 pounds), lat pulldown, machine back extension, seated cable row, Week One: Day Two of Sore to the Core, and two miles on the elliptical.

Mini-Goals: Yet again, I smashed my 10,000 steps and drank four Camelbaks of water.


Breakfast: You guessed it! I ate my last serving of Poached Eggs with Tomato, Swiss Chard, and Chickpeas

Lunch: Yep! I brought my leftover Chicken with Peppers and Queso Fresco -- but I also brought some asparagus.

Dinner: Tonight I made an oldie-but-a-goodie: Crab Cakes w/ Mango Avocado Salsa. I forgot just how amazingly delicious these are. I also had kombucha because, well, probiotics.


Snacks: I had a Quest bar and some Metamucil. (I'm not even ashamed to admit it, and I don't care that it makes me sound like an 80-year-old man: Metamucil is the best stuff in the entire universe.)

In order to fit my macros, I had a serving and a half of the crab cakes and salsa.

Workout: I took a day off of abs and lifting because wow, I am sore. My muscles are like, "Yeah! We remember this! But it's been a while, yo!" Instead, I laid by the pool for a bit. Because I was still short on steps, though, I headed to the gym this evening for an elliptical workout and ended up cranking out three miles.

Mini-Goals: I'm killing it, y'all. Those 10,000 steps had nothing on me, and I have been chugging water like it's going out of style.


I'm really digging this plan.

I am someone who needs routine, someone who appreciates guidelines. I have given myself both with this plan.

Nutritionally, I am eating a wide variety of food: veggies, meats, cheese, fruit, grains, etc. And while there have been moments of huh, I could go for a snack right now, they have been few and far between; my meals fill me up and keep me full for quite a while.

As far as fitness goes, it feels good to be a regular at the gym again. I have spent years poo-pooing the elliptical, but y'all, I am giving myself a damn good workout on that machine. I have a long way to go before I feel like I can compare it to running (which is a kick-ass core workout for me), but I'm not hating it as much as I had anticipated.

But, I'm likely not hating it because I'm pushing myself like crazy. What I've been doing this week is starting with a super-fast mile -- and pushing myself to beat that super-fast time the following day. So far I've significantly smashed my records. After my super-fast initial mile is done, I do another mile or two at a moderate pace to keep my heart rate elevated and to get those steps in.

Tomorrow is Pedal Pub Day, so as I previously mentioned, I am not going to stay within my macro guidelines; I am going to have a nutritionally-sound breakfast, lunch, protein-packed snack, and four Camelbaks of water, but then I am going to have a few adult beverages and likely dinner out. And that's okay.

And aside from pedaling around Northeast Minneapolis, I'm probably not going to workout. The original plan was to get up super early and workout before school, but I foolishly had a coffee with my friend at the pool, and now I'm wide awake. While I'll set my alarm for 5:00, waking up that early is not likely. But, I'll still get my steps. 

This is my new "everything in moderation." And I'm really excited (and amazingly motivated) to see where it takes me.



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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A New Mission



It's been a while. Like, a long while. Like, six months a while.

Oops.

Life has been incredible the last six months. Some highlights include celebrating Christmakkuh with my family and my boo (J) in Omaha, celebrating New Year's with J and his daughter in St. Paul, road-tripping with J on our first family vacation to Florida and to Ohio, flying to Santa Fe with J and wandering around the city while he worked, being selected as one of ten teachers to participate in the Bridging Cultures Initiative, being asked to present at big conferences in Des Moines and St. Paul, finding an amazing group of like-minded friends and colleagues, and I could go on and on.

Overall, life has been ridiculously amazing.

J and I jet-skiing in the Gulf of Mexico. 

What hasn't been amazing, however, is my focus on healthy living.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been battling a foot injury. Yes, you're reading that correctly: have been battling, not battled. You may think that it should be back to perfect now; after all, I was in a boot for a collective six weeks (minimum, probably longer), went to physical therapy for another six-ish weeks, received a cortisone injection, and followed every single one of the doctor's orders (for once) for seven months.

But you would be wrong.

I finally went back to the doctor at the end of April and had another MRI. The talus bone healed (yay!), but they didn't know what was wrong (boo!). So they sent me to a specialist -- which is what I wanted them to do back in October.

The appointment with the specialist was by far the best, most productive orthopedic appointment I have ever had in my life. He ordered more x-rays, gave me some shoe inserts for my semi-flat feet, injected more steroids into the joint, and gave me a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel treatment option: surgery to break up the scar tissue (from a horrible ankle sprain I got in a soccer game seven years ago) that was likely impinging on stuff it shouldn't be.

(Fun fact: the specialist knows my brother! They both trained in Michigan! Small world.)

I am hoping that the injection and the inserts help, as I'm not super excited about a surgical option. (I've never had surgery, and that terrifies me.) However, it's been pretty uncomfortable over the past week, so I'm not sure how lucky I'm going to be in that regard.

As you can imagine, this has been extremely frustrating. At this time last year, I was prepping to run a half marathon -- a half marathon that I would end up PR-ing by almost 20 minutes. I was powerlifting crazy amounts of weight, and I was two months out from running 17 miles of a Ragnar relay.

I was in the best shape of my life.



And now, I'm far from it. I have gained 20 pounds in the last year. Just typing that makes me want to puke. Twenty pounds. How does that happen?!

Actually, that's a silly question. This is exactly how it happened: I have been eating (and drinking) whatever the heck I want and have not been able to run or lift like I want to. My cardio has been limited to swimming (puke) and cycling (fun -- with the right spin instructor). My lifting has been limited to upper-body and weight machines (that do nothing for my quads, hammies, or booty).

I want to look like I did last summer. I want to rock my jorts and slinky tank tops. I want to look smokin' in whatever sundress I throw on. I want to live in my bikini at the pool. Yes, I realize I can do all of those things now. But I want to do all of those things and feel like I did last summer; I want to be where I was a year ago both physically and, more importantly, mentally.

So, I made a plan.

I am going to print this off every week and record -- in pen/pencil -- my plan and how I accomplished each daily goal.
I'm not anal-retentive. Not at all.

Let's break it down, shall we?

The top portion of the document is clearly my meal plan: what I am going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

While I love Whole30 and Paleo and believe that they are excellent nutritional plans, they are not realistic for me at the moment (I like tortillas and rice), so I'm trying something new: IIFYM.


I put all of my information into the IIFYM calculator and determined the number of grams of carbs, fat, and protein I should be eating in order to gain muscle and lose fat most effectively and efficiently.

(Side note: I abhor counting calories and macros, but I need to do something and am excited to give this a go.)

The bottom of the top chart is where I will record how well I did macro-wise for the day. (I use MyFitnessPal to track nutrition.)

The workout section is where I plan what workout I am doing when, and the miscellaneous section is where I note what kind of outside-of-work activities I have going on that day so that I can plan accordingly.

The bottom half of the page shows my targets for the week: I want to hit 10,000 steps per day (which I am finding to be difficult when I can't run), do four days of Sore to the Core ab work (so my tummy can be back to its flat-ish self), do four days of lifting and four days of cardio (which can be on the same day, obviously), and drink at least three liters of water each day (which equals four of my Camelbak bottles, hence the four boxes).

And that's it.



I know that it's not just a couple of goals. I know that this won't be easy. But I also know that I can do it.

(I should also add that there will be some days of exception to my brilliant plan. After all, summer is coming up, and lots of fun, celebratory adventures happen during this time. For instance, I will be partaking in a "pedal pub" on Friday, so while I will workout in the morning and have a nutritious breakfast and lunch, I know that I will be drinking beer and eating not-super-healthy food for dinner, and I'm okay with that.)

The one goal that did not make it on my chart (but may in the future) is blogging. I really like writing. And I really like how it keeps me accountable. I can't promise this will be an everyday activity, as I have a lot of amazingness in my life right now and blogging takes more time than you may believe, but I hope to write at least a few times a week -- definitely more than once every six months.

I look forward to y'all (hey, Mom!) joining me on this journey.

Peace and love, yo.


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