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Archive for April, 2016

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be regularly going to a Pilates class, I would have laughed at you. I’m the poster child for high-impact, ass-kicking kind of workouts.

But then I hurt my back.

Actually I didn’t hurt it, I learned that I have arthritis in it. Yep, at the young age of 33. The doctor told me to build my core through physical therapy, stretch my hamstrings more (they are ridiculously tight), and no more high impact workouts.

So, I found myself wandering into a Pilates class. But little did I know, I’d picked one of the toughest, most crazy-hard Pilates classes I could have. I lasted less than 10 minutes before I couldn’t complete all of the exercises the retirement-age, tiny woman instructor was doing. No wonder there were so many male athletes in it!

Now about a year later, I go once per week and I’m able to complete her class all the way through MOST of the time (all the time would be too easy). And I’ve noticed some great changes in my body. My legs look amazing, my core is much stronger, and my abs feel great.

And, for those times when I’m traveling for work and don’t have a gym, I’ve found an amazing online video by GymRa that still kills me every time.

So, consider me a convert. Pilates is definitely something I recommend you try.

But remember….true transformation comes from diet first!

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I live in Texas, which is technically the South, but last week I was in an area of the country that was, what most people would consider, the “deep south.” I was there for a work conference, staying at a major university hotel with a conference center attached to it.

Food

The hotel is about 10 minutes walking distance from other food options. Luckily, they do have a cafeteria, but healthy options are not this cafeteria’s strong point. Breakfast was biscuits and gravy, eggs,  grits, potatoes, and bacon. The lunch special was fried chicken.

How I got around it:

  • I asked for eggs and two pieces of whole wheat toast for breakfast each morning. They didn’t have peanut butter, but luckily I’d brought my own. So I put that on the toast with a little bit of grape jelly (I know, I know, that is bad, it was less than one of the individual servings each day) and had that.
  • The first day lunch I was able to get a turkey sandwich wrap made with turkey, cheese, lettuce and mustard. I ended-up tearing off about 1/3 of the tortilla.
  • I went to a local organic grocery store and stocked-up on vegetables, Greek yogurt, and fruit. I’d brought peanut butter, nuts and various protein bars with me, so I had those for snacks. The hotel room had a fridge. If not, I request a medical exemption (I don’t tell them that I’m hypoglycemic, I just request one) and ask for a fridge.
  • For dinners, I chose the healthiest thing I could on the menu where we went. The night I was on my own, I went to vegetarian restaurant and had tofu, falafel, and veggies.

 

Fitness

The fitness center was pretty much non-existent. It was a hotel room converted into a fitness center. It had 2 old treadmills, 2 old elliptical machines, one old reclining bike, an ab bench, and a mat for floor work. No weights, and exceptionally low ceilings (a normal jump up meant I hit the top of the ceiling). I could buy a pass to the university gym for $7 per day, but I’m too cheap for that and didn’t feel like working out with that many students.

Here’s how I made it work:

  • I did a Pilates video one day
  • The next day, I did HITT training exercises for 20 minutes, then had some time later in the day for an hour long walk around the campus (which, thankfully, was very hilly and beautiful weather)
  • The following day, I did an online no weights exercise video (not linking to it because I didn’t like it that much).
  • The following day, back to the HITT training and hour long walk

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Shown next to 1 cup water for scale

 

My most recent go-to evening snack is my homemade fruit & nut yogurt parfait. It only takes a minute to make and I really look forward to it at the end of the day. AND, it keeps me full and my blood sugar even, so no hypoglycemic attacks, all night.

Why not just buy yogurt with the fruit in the bottom? Well, most of those include more added sugars. For example, take this Chobani Fruit On the Bottom Cherry Greek Yogurt. It has 17 grams of sugar (see “Evaporated Cane Juice” in the ingredients)! My version below only has 10 grams of sugar and tastes very fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt (I make this in a coffee cup to keep me accurate)
  • 5 frozen cherries, thawed in the microwave (so slightly warm and with cherry juice)
  • 1 Tbsp shaved almonds
  • Organic cinnamon
Nutrition Facts (from SparkPeople Recipe Calculator)
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 184.4
  • Total Fat 7.6 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  • Cholesterol 7.5 mg
  • Sodium 49.0 mg
  • Potassium 191.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
  • Sugars 10.1 g
  • Protein 16.9 g
  • Vitamin A 0.5 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 1.0 %
  • Vitamin C 4.5 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 12.7 %
  • Calcium 20.9 %
  • Copper 8.7 %
  • Folate 0.4 %
  • Iron 7.1 %
  • Magnesium 11.1 %
  • Manganese 30.8 %
  • Niacin 0.3 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
  • Phosphorus 8.3 %
  • Riboflavin 8.3 %
  • Selenium 0.0 %
  • Thiamin 0.7 %
  • Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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