Thursday, January 31, 2013

Facebook Page!!!

Well, it has been in the works but it is up and running...A Facebook Page!!!  If you like what you have read on the blog and want to get daily updates as well as motivation and inspiration, "like" Goal: Fit 4 Life on Facebook!  My goal is to make a community of like-minded individuals to share our journeys to becoming our best selves.  Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!!!  If you enjoy the blog and know others that may as well, please share it!  I'm going for a fit and healthy epidemic!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year, New...Husband?

Just like everyone else in the world, B and I decided to have healthier ambitions for the new year.  We started out super strong.  Not cheating on food, working out everyday, and what not.  Then the first week was over and we needed to restock our fridge from Costco.  Now if you know my husband personally, you know that he is OBSESSED with Costco.  He loves the samples.  If there is a sample of something he knows I won't like, he makes me go get it to give to him.  I'm a terrible liar/actress so I'm sure my face is beet red as I fumble through an unnecessarily long story about how much I love the sample that is being dished and pray they won't see me hand it to B around the corner.  Sometimes I put my foot down and refuse to do this.  I feel like it's cheating the sweet old sample ladies in some way.  He even jokes about bringing different disguises so he can go back repeatedly for the best samples.  For this goodie-goodie girl, it's humiliating!  But I digress...Yes, the samples are wonderful and B plans the best times for our grocery shopping to ensure the most samples.  But then there's the Costco food court.  I grew up splitting a chicken bake with my brother-from-another-mother after church on Sundays.  Yeah, the food court was good but it wasn't something I lived for.  My husband goes absolutely bananas over the $1.50 polish dog and soda.  From a budget stand point, you can't beat that.  From a healthy stand point, I want to throw up thinking about it (and the nasty polish burps that fill the car on the way home).  So this was our first downfall for the new year.

Then came football with the Seahawks in post-season play offs.  Neither my husband nor I are particularly fans of the Seahawks, but B is from the Seattle area so he feels a sense of pride when they do well.  Downfall number two:  pizza on game day for both of us and beer for B.  Even though these "downfalls" didn't occur on a daily basis, I started to worry that we wouldn't see results that I wanted to see.  B can sometimes work 80 hours a week which translates into zero time to work out. As the end of the month approached, I was scared to do our weight and measurement checks...

Yesterday I decided we would go ahead and check B's weight and measurements.  I was amazed by his results!!!  Not only did he lose 10 pounds in 28 days which is awesome if you are not on The Biggest Loser, but he lost a total of 11.5 inches!  AMAZING!  I wish I had remembered to reset my body fat percentage caliper when I did his BMI the first time because that would have been really interesting to see how much body fat he lost. If you're wondering about me, I lost three pounds which I was pretty stoked about because I was going more for muscle gain than pounds lost. 

The point in me telling you this is not only to brag about my amazing husband losing 10 POUNDS and 11.5 INCHES, but to let you know that you don't have to be perfect to see results.  Life happens.  Football games come on tv.  Sometimes you really are too tired to go to a gym or even walk around the block.  If you have more on days than off, you will see results.  More importantly, you will FEEL results.  You'll have more energy.  Your knees will hurt less.  It will be easier to play with your kids or grand kids.  You can get the results you want, but it is up to you.  Only you can determine how hard you work for it.  Good luck and YOU CAN DO IT!  Below is a sample of what a day looked like as far as meals went.

Breakfast:  2 scrambled eggs with salt-free Mrs. Dash and a serving of fresh fruit (sometimes I threw spinach in my eggs or had sliced veggies too because you can never have too many veggies!)

Snack 1:  A serving of fresh fruit and a healthy fat like half an avocado or a handful of nuts

Lunch:  A bowlful of mixed salad greens with chicken or tuna.  A lot of times I used the other half of my avocado for something creamy so I wouldn't be tempted to use bad-for-me dressing.

Snack 2:  A serving of fresh fruit and a low-sodium rice cake with natural peanut butter

Dinner:  Grilled chicken or salmon and steamed green veggies like asparagus and broccoli.  Sometimes we would have brown rice or quinoa as a side.

*If we were ever hungry in between meals, we would snack on hard-boiled eggs, veggies, or nuts.  Veggies are free in my book, meaning you can eat as many as you want, but portion control your eggs and nuts.

We would drink a cup of green tea with meals and lots of water in between.

This is just an example of a typical day, there were some variations.

New & Not So Improved Website

Hey, everyone!

It was just brought to my attention by a friend that didn't make sense.  Having done so many of their workouts, I just pull my own exercises and make a workout based on their format of 3 rounds of 4 exercises at 50 seconds active, 10 seconds rest.  This makes the 12 minutes. So when I went to their website to see what she was talking about, I was greeted by a much different website than I was used to and thought was awesome.  Boo!  But, they must have their reasons for changing their easy to follow videos for confusing step by step pictures and changing their name?  Anyway, to get to the workouts that I'm familiar with, click on the tab labeled "archive".  This takes you to the old website and you can just click on one of the pictures (all the workouts have names modeled after songs or sexiness) and look at the workout.  The gal talks a lot at the beginning and the end and she can be kind of annoying so I apologize in advanced for that.  Here's how I would do it.  I would have a notebook and pen handy and write down the name of the exercises that she does.  If you don't know the name, just write it down in a way that you'll remember what exercise it is (ie. push up spiderman thingys).  Listen to her directions because she will tell you how long you do each exercise for and how many rounds.  Most of the time, it is the format I mentioned about.  If there are more than four exercises, chances are you are doing less amount of rounds.  Once you have what the workout is written down, you need to get a stop watch or an app on your phone (I use Interval Timer). You are doing the workouts on your own, not with the video.  The video is just to show you what the workout is. 

I'm really sad that they changed everything up.  I'm sorry if this is confusing.  Maybe I'll just have to start doing my own workout videos. ;)  Until then, here are some simple workouts below.  If you don't know what the exercise is, Google it.  :)

Each one you do for three rounds, 50 seconds active, 10 seconds rest

Workout 1 (this is the Fit Test on BodyRock)
*push ups
*tricep dips on couch
*sit ups

Workout 2
* jumping jacks
*alternating lunges

Workout 3
*jump rope (if you don't have one, pretend)
*mountain climbers
*push ups

Workout 4
*high knees
*tricep dips on couch
*sit ups

Monday, January 28, 2013

Where To Start?

 I've had several people contact me in the last couple of weeks about how to start out.  Most people make New Year's Resolutions about becoming healthier without really knowing where to start.  This post will hopefully be a good guide for those of you who don't know where to begin or a good refresher for others.  These are just some tips that I've learned throughout my years.

First off, start small.  I think the problem a lot of people have is that they decide that today is the day I'm going to eat perfect and cut calories and workout for two hours and run five miles and so on.  That really is the quickest way to failure.  That is not sustainable for someone who wasn't already been doing some of those things.  If you are a parent, there are so many ways to be creative with working out when you involve a child.  Have dance parties in the living room.  Make games out of doing jumping jacks or sit ups.  If your child is of the counting age, they will love to help you count things like push ups or sit ups or whatever.  If you take your kids to the park, play on the equipment with them.  Do the monkey bars, play tag, etc.  Not only will it help you to be more active in a less-obvious way, but it will strengthen their relationship with you and teach them that being active can be fun. :)

Now, you may already be doing some of these things.  If so and you are ready for more, I highly suggest checking out  The workouts are killer but are usually only twelve minutes.  Anyone can spare 12 minutes.  Most of the exercises use only your body weight and the instructor shows how to modify for your level.  The nice thing about high intensity interval training (HIIT) is that you are doing YOUR best for that amount of time.  It is not about the reps, but about your effort.  You get as much out of it as you want.  Once you get the idea of how HIIT works, it is super easy to make up your own workouts.  It also shows just how easy it is to workout anywhere.  You have a spare minute at work, find a corner and do a minute of jumping jacks or squats.  It's not enough to make you too sweaty for work, but it's getting your heart rate up and is much better than nothing.  If you have ten separate minutes that you did something, you have ten minutes of working out logged in.  Studies have shown that doing more than one short workout in a day can actually burn more calories than doing one long one.  I mean think about it, if you are only working out for 10 minutes in the morning, you're going to push yourself harder because you realize that is a short amount of time.  Then you do another 10 minute workout in the evening and same thing.  You now have a 20 minute workout that was a higher effort than if you did all 20 minutes at once.  Make sense?

Next, there's nutrition.  Here's the part that I failed on for so many years.  Because I worked out so much, I thought I could eat whatever I wanted.  It doesn't really work that way.  Yeah, I can give in to my cravings every once in a while, but not every meal like I was.  I suggest eating 5-6 small meals a day.  Each meal should consist of a protein (chicken, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc.) and a complex carbohydrate (fruit, brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta or bread, etc.)  Veggies are a free food.  Eat as many as you want/can.  The brighter the color of the veggie, the more nutrition it will pack.  Try to eat different colors of fruits and veggies through out the day.

Stay away from high fructose corn syrup!!!  Check your labels on bread, cereals, and any other pre-packaged food and try to stay away from this.  Your body doesn't know how to digest this and stores it as fat and it hasn't been around long enough to know of any long term effects on the body.  Why take the chance, right?  There are so many other ingredients that you should watch out for too, but this is a good start.

Take a multivitamin to help with any nutrition deficiencies you may have.  Dr. Oz has suggested cutting the vitamin in half and taking half in the morning and half at night.

Sleep!!!  Do everything you can to make sure you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep.  This is when your body heals and repairs itself from your busy day.

It is important to remember that you will not be perfect.  You will not always eat the way you should, or you'll miss workouts, or you won't get enough sleep on some night.  Don't stress about this and let it spiral you back to your starting point.  This is my biggest downfall.  Sometimes I'll cheat and have some food I've been craving and then I'll think, "Well, the day is already ruined, why not ruin it more?"  Then I'll feel too disgusted with myself to work out for a couple of days and it is a nasty, viscous cycle.  Forgive yourself for those times and realize that it is not about perfection.  My favorite analogy is "If you drop your cell phone, you don't stomp on it just because you already dropped it.  Why should eating be that way?"

I hope this helps!  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  If there is something you want more information on, ask and I'll look it up.  I want to know what would help you out. I love helping with this kind of stuff!  Have a fantastic day!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Skinny" Pants!!!

I'm sure that every woman has a pair of "skinny" pants. You know, pants from the skinny days that you keep in your closet "just in case". Since we're moving back to Idaho soon, I decided to go through my closet and get rid of the stuff that I never wear. Once I became a mom, my clothing has mostly consisted of yoga pants and t-shirts I got from various running events or to support a sport team. With this being said, there are quite a few things I can get rid of.

While going through my stack of dress pants from my teaching days, I came across my "skinny" pants. My "just in case" pants, if you will. These pants were bought at a time that I was very depressed. My first husband and I were separated and I was living at home at the age of 25 while I student taught in my hometown. Never had I felt more like a failure. My diet consisted of nothing but random pieces of comfort chocolate and maybe some white Zinfandel. My exercise consisted of opening the before-mentioned chocolate. Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight really quickly. I felt disgusting. I bought the pants and was so shocked that they fit that I ran out of the dressing room to show my mom and made her guess the size because I had never been that size before. Life got better or at least I tried to believe it would. I started eating meals again with all my chocolate and would randomly jog or play volleyball with the varsity girls I coached. It didn't take me long to not fit in the "skinny" pants anymore. I think I wore them once or twice before I realized breathing was important. Ha!

Fast forward to today...My situation couldn't be more different. I'm in a healthy and happy marriage with a beautiful baby girl to keep me busy. I work out at least five days a week and try to eat clean most of the time. I'm at my lowest weight since middle school but not because I'm ignoring (read: abusing) my body, but because I'm trying to keep it in the best working order I can. I know that I weigh ten pounds less than my pre-baby weight and my pants are all big, so I decided to try on the "skinny" pants out of curiosity. They freakin' fit!!! Like before, I ran out to tell the nearest person, my husband. I must say, this felt really good. I know that I earned that size. I know that I can maintain that size without sacrificing my health (or sanity).

I broke my vow to never take a picture of myself in the mirror and took one. I even took one of the tag and was all prepared to post these photos with this blog. I stopped myself because that number is my journey. Not yours. Your get-healthy goal size may be a 14 right now. It may be a 2. The key is not to compare yourself to others because your journey is different. Recognize that, embrace it, and set the goal. Let me know when you make your goal so I can celebrate with you. For now, I'll be celebrating with a cup of mint hot chocolate. Cheers!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Power of Protein

I've spent a majority of my life turning my nose up at meat. I don't like the taste or the texture. I even spent a good chunk of my adolescence as a vegetarian. I always assumed that I got enough protein from milk, cheese, and peanut butter. Although these things do have protein in them, there is also a lot of fat as well. Fat is fine in moderation and healthy fats are actually essential to any diet, however, moderation is the key word. I put cheddar cheese, and lots of it, on everything I ate. I mentioned in my first post that I was known for how much food I could put away. Well, most of that was cheese-based. Grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos made with Nacho Cheese Doritos, scrambled cheese eggs, pizza, quesadillas, you name it. If it had cheese, I probably ate it on a daily basis. And let's not forget my other love, peanut butter. One of the best foods to eat as a runner are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I take that information to heart. Ha! I haven't been keeping bread in the house to steer me away from eating so many of these sandwiches. One time B and I were in Costco and I said I needed to get some more of the organic strawberry jam. He thought that we still had some in the fridge and I made the comment “We go through jam like crazy!” He then looked at me and said, “No, YOU go through PEANUT BUTTER like crazy. Jam is just an innocent bystander.” I laughed so hard because he was right.

Some of you know that I'm in the process of getting my personal trainer's license. Obviously, with that comes a lot more information about nutrition. This has caused a lot of evaluation of my own eating habits. What I have realized is that I haven't been putting enough protein into my body. The word “protein” is derived from the Greek word “protos” which in itself means “of prime importance.” According to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) 12% of the diet should be from protein. Of a 1,500 calorie diet, that's only 180 calories. The Institute of Medicine has started recommending 10-35% of your calories be from protein. That is 150-525 calories from protein in a 1,500 calorie diet. Everyone has different needs. I feel that the more active I am, the more protein I need to help with lean muscle mass. Protein is used to build, maintain, and restore muscle in the body. It only makes sense that the more muscle I try to build, the more beneficial protein becomes to me.

Studies also show that protein can help you feel full for longer. Who doesn't want that? If you're someone who feels like you're constantly hungry, try eating more lean protein for a week and see if that helps with your satiety. In fact, I think I'm having an “aha moment”...Maybe the reason why I was constantly eating when I was younger (you know, my “Pork Chop” days) was because I wasn't actually eating pork chops or really any other source of lean protein. I would stuff myself with other food to feel full and satisfied when my body was needing the meat. AHA!

Other Sources of Protein

Now I realize I've been talking about protein in the animal meat variety. There are other ways to get protein in case you don't like meat or are a vegetarian. There are a variety of protein powders out there. One thing I would suggest if you want to take this route is to do your research. There are different kinds of protein powders like whey, soy, and even milk-based. Be aware of the ingredients in the powders. Going with the eating clean philosophy, a lot of protein powders don't jive. I'm currently using MRM Whey for after workouts. This was suggested to me by the bloggers of He & She Eat Clean. Again, do your research to see which are best for you. I know there are a lot of studies going on against soy so just be careful.

I did an earlier post on quinoa and how it has a lot of protein in it and it does!!! One thing that you need to know about other non-meat-based proteins is that they usually don't make a complete protein on their own and you need to pair it with another food that will complete the protein chain. Some examples of protein pairing that make up a complete protein are beans and rice, almonds and broccoli, and pumpkin seeds and asparagus. Look at my sources for more information about protein pairing.

Since making a conscious effort to eat more meat-based protein, I have noticed a different in my muscle mass.  I still don't crave meat, but I've gotten to a place where I accept it.  I know it is good for me and if I can live with the mantra "Eat to live, not live to eat" 80% of the time, I'm doing pretty good and it's helping me be healthier in the process.

As always, I hope to have helped! :)

SOURCES and more information:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Part Three: Post Pregnancy

I'm willing to bet that there are thousands of women who look up post-pregnancy work outs or weight loss every day. This is most women's fear, right? To never get back to their pre-pregnancy body. I know it was mine.

I had taken up running in the last couple of years before I had E. When I discussed my plans for running after giving birth, I felt like most mothers had the attitude of “pshh, good luck with that.” I understand that motherhood is hard and that you have this whole other being that you need to put first most of the time, but maybe I'm selfish to think I need to put my health first a lot of the time too. I think our goal as parents is to not only be a good parent, but a great role model. I want my daughter to grow up riding her bike while I run or going hiking as a family. I want her to grow up helping me in a garden or walking around a farmer's market. I want her to spend more time outside than watching tv or playing video games. In order for me to ensure that she has this childhood that I'm dreaming for her, I have to evaluate how I spend my time.

I knew that if I didn't have a fitness goal for after pregnancy, it was very possible that I would fall into the trap of not losing the baby weight and turning to high calorie, low nutrition foods for energy. It turns into a vicious cycle and eventually ends with someone down the road wondering where things went wrong. I'm a huge fan of “The Biggest Loser” and most of the women that are not in their twenties on the show talk about how they always put everyone else first and it usually started with when they had kids. However, there are ways to stop this cycle.

It's always been said that a woman has to wait 6 weeks after giving birth to start any kind of exercising, possibly more if there was a c-section. Good news!!! That is old news. Read below what the Mayo Clinic says:

“In the past, health care providers often instructed women to wait at least six weeks after giving birth to begin exercising. The waiting game may be over, however. If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it's generally safe to begin exercising within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section, extensive vaginal repair or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.” (Mayo Clinic website)

I had a c-section, but because of quick recovery time due to exercising during pregnancy, I was walking for exercise the same day of the birth. Now this wasn't fast paced walking and it was uncomfortable but not painful. I immediately started walking everyday for as long as I had time for or could tolerate. Within three weeks, I was able to jog for short amounts of time. Within three and a half months, I crossed the finish line of the Missoula Half Marathon with a new personal record, faster than I had run my previous half marathons. Did I mention that I was below my pre-pregnancy weight by 8 weeks PP? I definitely don't say this to brag. I say it so that people know that it is possible. I had a few friends tell me that every woman would hate me because of how fast my body rebounded. I think that this is ridiculous because it didn't happen naturally. I literally worked my butt off. I have a very well worn jogging stroller. I joined a running club. When I wanted to go to Target to shop, I walked the three miles with my baby girl to get there. I did home work out videos. I made up my own work outs. When E was sleeping, I was sweating. That's how I made it happen and that's how anyone can make it happen.

I'm fortunate enough that I can be a stay at home mom. I understand that a majority of women are not able to do this. You have a harder road than I do. You have to constantly fight with this thing called “time.” As with everything else in life, you have to make the time for things that are important to you. Go for a walk on your lunch break or do some squats or push ups when you have a few extra minutes. Ask for extra help from your honey around the house or with the baby. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people, especially for your health. Some research even shows that exercising and the feel-good hormones it produces can actually help fight again postpartum depression. Who doesn't want that?

Below are some links to some different post-natal workouts. To get to where I am now, I walked/ran (trained for a half marathon), lifted weights, and discovered Consistency is key to achieving your desired fitness goals.

One last thing...Nutrition is so important!!! I could lift weights and run all day and not get the results I want in my body if I'm eating junk. I try to do an eating clean approach 80% of the time. It is not realistic to turn down ever going to a restaurant with friends or getting a sweet tooth fix, so this is the other 20% of the time. If you only have friends that eat out all the time, time to find some new friends who like to do more active things. :)