compromising with my inner workout freak

Listening to your body is essential to a healthy, fit and active life. As much I want to go go go there are days when my body pushes back and tells me to take it easy. Years ago I would never have listened – I’d tell myself to suck it up and think I was that much better by pushing through pain, fatigue, and injuries. I’d like to think I’m in a different mindset now and that I’m strong enough to tell that inner workout freak to shut up and rest – but we all know it’s not always that easy, especially when you have goals.

TBT to me – sad and injured after way too much running when my body was clearly telling me to back off. I spent 2 months rolling out my IT band with a tennis ball and trying to ease the tension around my knee

So this morning there was a compromise between that inner workout freak and my ever evolving self…the legs were a bit sore from my lower body workout on Tuesday and as I was walking up the stairs to enter the gym I felt a nagging pain in my foot along the side of my heel. Nothing that worried me too much, just something that made me think I needed a low impact day. So instead of running on the stairs and cooling off on the treadmill I decided to ride the bike for 45 minutes and actually gave myself quite the little spin workout while also giving my feet a  break from the pounding. It’s so easy to forget how good it feels to change things up every once and a while.

Once I was done with cardio I had just enough time to get in the back and arm workout I had planned. Question for all the women out there who love to work arms and build strong biceps….How do guys feel about your muscles? Do they think it’s sexy? Are they scared you’ll get too big?

I’ve had many conversations with Florida about his and my thoughts on what kind of body we find attractive. For myself, I love muscle and looking tight and toned – I’m fascinated by the science and hard work that it takes to build the body you want. I know there are women out there who are afraid to lift because they don’t want to get “bulky” but I feel like there are equally as many men who will agree!

I’ll never get big and buff because it’s simply not my goal; however, I do love a good pump.

So Florida will have to deal. :P

But I digress,

Breakfast this morning was 3 egg whites and a few strawberries to add some fruit in my life. Followed by a boring bowl of oatmeal that I didn’t snap a picture of.

Mahi Mahi for lunch and I already can’t wait!

Have a great day!

Balance

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was nice. Filled with lots of relaxation which always feels good after my weeks and early mornings. We did a lot of cooking, TV and movie watching, more cooking and I got a workout and hike in. Not too bad!

We’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately. It’s so affordable at our local grocery store, which is a plus, and Nick always cooks it just right. Seriously perfect. Chicken can be hard but his is so moist and not well-done at all – I just love it. So he made the chicken and I was in charge of the Brussels sprouts. So good!

Cooked in a little coconut oil, chopped jalapeno and topped with some sugar free syrup. Mmmmm These were fantastic!

Saturday we lounged around in the morning. Drank coffee, read the news and then walked to Southport to grab a doughnut from this rad food truck that drives around the city selling doughnuts.

Doughnut Vault is aaaamazing and I’m not even a huge doughnut fan but these, they’re on another level. Nick and I always hope the Vault Van will be lingering in our hood and lucky us –

It was!

I’m working on this thing called balance lately ;) And it’s really working for me. For so long I’ve been an all or nothing kinda gal. Either deprivation or Can’t. Stop. Eating. So. Good. Can’t. Stop. It’s truly been a battle, especially living with a man and feeling like you can keep up with everything they east as well. But I’m finally feeling like I’ve found my healthy balance. I’m not going to say no to a delicious doughnut because in the end that just creates bad habits and it’s a downward spiral from there – a spiral I’ve been down before. Balance. Balance. Balance is my new motto.

We concluded the weekend with a drive out to Palos Hills, a suburb of Chicago, to see where Nicky Boy grew up and take a hike in the forest preserves. It was a bit chilly but so beautiful and just so nice to get out of the city and into nature with my love.

Pre-Workout

Pre- workouts, pre-workouts…I love pre-workouts! I may still be a little amped up from it this morning. LOTS of energy over here.

I love it! Like I’ve mentioned. I get up really early every morning to work out before work and as much as I love it there are some days that I question my sanity. On those days a pre-workout comes in quite handy. In fact, it’s essential.

I may or may not have felt a bit zombie-like today, so I was super pumped when I realized I had this sample in my purse –

I had been waiting for the right day to take it. It’s actually a fat burner that can be taken as a pre-workout due to the fact that it has the caffeine equivalent of 3 cups of coffee. That really isn’t tooooo much for me, so I also had a little monster as well. DON’T try this at home please. ;) My body can handle a lot of caffeine because I’m used to it (not necessarily a good thing) but I know how much I can take and the mix for ME was perfect.

I felt really energized and strong once I got the gym. I did a lot more on the stairs – in fact, I hit a personal record of flights within a certain amount of time. Yessss! So I did about 30 minutes there and ran for 15 – even my run was faster and stronger!

Now I’m anxious to get my hands on other pre-workouts. Does anyone have any recommendations? I’d love to hear about them!

Back to work for me and so excited it’s already Thursday. It’s still a bit chilly here in Chi and really wishing I was in Siesta Key right now, sipping on a fun drink and relaxing in the sun….

Guilt-Free Milkshake for these Cold Days…

Chicago is such a weird city. Growing up in San Diego you don’t really have to prepare much for weather in regards to clothes. Most likely if you have a light sweater with you, you’re good to go. Here, you have to prepare.  The hardest part though is keeping up with it all – the weather changes constantly. One day is 15 degrees, the next day it’s 70. MAKE. UP. YOUR. MIND!

Monday was absolutely gorgeous! A day you truly feel happy and grateful to be outside soaking up the sun. Two days later-BAM. It’s freezing again. Luckily I had my scarf in my purse but c’mon Chicago, I’m not amused. Clearly….

I know March can be a crazy month with the weather fluctuations. So crazy that it’s a possibility it could even snow again. Oy, please don’t! But I’m really  hoping these are the last cold days my scarf will see this year. *Fingers Crossed*

Some people tend to curl up and with something warm when it’s this cold. Hot chocolate or cider maybe…..but not me! I think I’m willing the summer to get here soon by making a cold refreshing dessert in 20 degree weather. Call me crazy but it’s just soooo good!

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up making these. Florida and I got a Ninja for Christmas and we’ve been completely obsessed with it ever since – making sauces, marinades, smoothies, etc. It’s amazing!

There’s really not much to it which is what I love – but it’s just enough to curb my late night sweet tooth craving.

Milkshake Recipe

1 cup Almond Milk (unsweetend)

1 Tblsp Stevia or Splenda

1 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia Seeds

A few cubes of ice

1 dollop of Fat Free Cool Whip

Voila! I know some people aren’t too crazy about using artificial sugars which I totally understand, but for me it works. Feel free to sweeten it however you like – there’re so many things you could do with this.

Building Biceps

Happy Sweaty Monday!

I absolutely love coming to the gym on Monday morning. I’m so consistent throughout the week that once the weekend comes I enjoy taking it easy and giving my body some time to relax. I still workout usually 1 day, but for the most part I’m letting my body recuperate.

Today’s workout – Cardio – Back & Arms

I did of intervals on the stairs and followed it with 15 minute run on the treadmill. I sometimes stray from running – it’s just not something I gravitate towards, but I find that my body reacts really well to it, especially when I’m trying to shed some fat and tone up my legs – it just works well for me!

After our cardio session we went to the weights. Since I gave us only 30 minutes to fit in back and arms I super set most of our workouts which I like because it keeps us moving and our heart rate up. I’ll usually do 3 to 4 sets of a back and arm exercise with no break and then rest for 30 – 60 seconds before starting the next super set.

I LOVE to work my biceps. I get so excited when I see definition and muscle in my arms, but what woman wouldn’t? I think as I get older too I’m more aware of the areas of my body that I want to keep defined and toned, keep looking young.

So one of my favorite ways to work my arms, and keep them looking tight and toned is a complete drop set of dumbbell bicep curls. A drop set is starting at a challenging weight, doing as many reps as you can get out and working your way down in weight.

I started with 22.5# dumbbells in each arm for my curls and worked my way down to 7.5#. I basically lifted to failure with each weight and by the time I got to 7.5#, they felt like 50s. Ouch. My arms were literally shaking. What this does is work your muscle fibers in a way that causes them to grow – a growth that doesn’t come easily from normal sets. By decreasing weight you’re recruiting those reserve fibers and challenging your muscle.

I think a lot of people have a misconception of women lifting weights. Yes, I want my muscles to grow. I want to be strong and fit but in no way does that mean that I’m going to get big and “bulky.” It’s just not really possible for women to get bulky if they’re not trying. There’s a lot of science and hard work that goes into building muscle.

Ladies – don’t be afraid to lift!