Catching up {Workouts and Life}

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As I read other healthy living blogs, I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one feeling like there just isn’t enough time in the day or week to accomplish everything on my to-do list. Sometimes blogging just has to take a back seat, and even though I sometimes feel guilty about it or stressed to get posts written, realizing it’s OK to take a break is so refreshing. Sarah wrote a post earlier this week that hit me hard. It was as if I was writing it myself! I’m finding myself in a recent job change, increasing love for fitness and teaching and no longer just being on my own. Being in a serious relationship and moving to that “we” thing is awesome, but it’s also a big change for someone who hasn’t had that in a longggg time. My normal blogging time and teaching time and “Monique” time is just not the same as it used to be and I wouldn’t change that for the world. As we grow up, our priorities change, right? It’s such an exciting time, but sometimes it can be a little stressful! Sarah’s post was a great reminder to not let myself get stressed out over these types of changes, but to embrace them and live life. Blogging will always be here, but random nights with the bf or friends of family won’t- it’s more important to DO those things, rather than sit at home, writing a post because it’ll “screw up my schedule” if I don’t.

And, with that, let’s catch up on some stuff!

Workouts- Last week

Last week was my last week teaching my Thursday night double, which was totally bittersweet! On top of that, RM and I headed to Chicago with some friends so my weekend workouts were a bit different than usual. Overall, though, it was a great week of workouts. We did SO MUCH WALKING when in Chicago. Our hotel was about a mile from all the action (just in the wrong part of the city), so getting to and from anywhere was at least a 2 mile walk.

    • Monday- After work, I ran 3.5 miles and then did the workout listed at the bottom of this workout post. I kinda died a little…

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    • Tuesday- I went to a BodyPump during work since I had a hair appointment after work. What is it about BodyPump that gets me every time?!
    • Wednesday- I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill before teaching (and doing most of) UXF Burn. I’m not sure what we did to get so dirty?

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    • Thursday- Last double:( In SHRED, we did 3 rounds of stations and then we did some across the floor cardio and partner ab stuff. We had a big group and everyone seemed to enjoy it! Kickboxing had it’s biggest crowd to date and we worked super hard!

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    • Friday- Nothing. We had an early flight so there was definitely no morning workout for me! We did do some walking, though.
    • Saturday- I got up and ran 4 miles, although I think my mapmyrun GPS wasn’t working because it was saying I was running all sub 8 minute miles… highly doubt that! After, I did some core work at the gym and then RM wanted to go for a walk so we went on about a 45 minute loop- we were walking so fast!

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    • Sunday- We had all intentions of going to the gym at the spa before our massages, but a late lunch got in the way of that. I did walk for about an hour in the morning while getting breakfast and Architecture tour tickets.

Catching Up- Life

The past couple of weeks have been so busy!! I feel like I’m on auto-pilot going from one thing to the next. Anyone else feel this way? I have a full recap of Chicago coming soon, but besides that, here are some things going on:

  • My garden is growing so much! Over the past couple of weeks I have picked kale and green beans, and both taste so fresh!

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  • I recently started reading The One and Only by Emily Griffin for a book club that my college friends and I started. It’s really just an excuse to get together to drink wine, but we decided to throw a book in the mix, too!

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  • I had to buy new Tom’s when walking around in Chicago and I’m actually happy about it because I’ve been meaning to buy a new pair for a while now. Love this blue!

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  • I’m heading to the Cape this weekend with RM and his brother, sister-in-law and their 1 year old son. I think the weather is supposed to be crappy… why can’t it be nice when I have time to go to the beach?!
  • My parents are coming next weekend for my mom’s birthday- any good meal suggestions?

Questions for you: When’s the last time you skipped workout for sleep? Have you had any garden-fresh veggies this summer? Do you read Emily Griffin books? Are you in a book club?

My 2nd Stitch Fix Review {Hint: I loved it!}

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As I mentioned in my review of my first Stitch Fix, I just wasn’t that impressed. First, I couldn’t receive one for over a month, second, once I did schedule one it got cancelled and third I just wasn’t that crazy about what was in the fix. I went into my personal account, updated my style likes and dislikes and was hopeful when pressing the confirmation button for my next fix. And… I’m very happy to say that I LOVED my 2nd fix! Besides the earrings, upon first look I wanted to keep everything!

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On top of that, the personalized note from my stylist, Alison, was SO sweet and, well, personal.

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Look at these colors!

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I just couldn’t wait to try them on… especially the white skinnies, which, as Allison said, were the PERFECT skinnies. Here’s a recap of my items:

Level 99 Shauna Skinny Jeans- $118

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Sadly, I wasn’t able to keep them because they were a bit over my price limit, especially for it being the middle of summer already. Also, I know they’re supposed to fit tight, but they were a little too thin for me to wear that tight. However, if they were half the cost I would’ve snatched them up in a heartbeat! Lucky for me, I scored a pair of awesome white skinny pants (for a much cheaper price) at Banana Republic while in Chicago.

Market & Spruce Colibri Paisley Print Sleeveless Top- $44

I loved this shirt from the moment I laid eyes on it. The pattern, color, style, and ultimately fit made this a sure keeper for me. I love that it can be worn with skinny jeans (looked fantastic with the ones they sent me!) for a casual look or tucked in and worn to work with a sweater. I thought the price was very reasonable too.

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Skies are Blue Anabell Lattice Detail Sleeveless Blouse- $54

Again, I loved the color and design of this shirt, as well as the loose, flowy fit. I especially liked the way the cut at the top was close to the neck, thus exposing more shoulder- such an attractive way to show off the shoulder! I definitely plan on wearing this to work, too, as the color will really pop with a black suit.

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Tart Kaiya Solid Belted Dress- $98

I loved this dress, but sadly it was just too big at the top and made me look like I was swimming in it. It would’ve looked so cute with a pair of brown wedges or boots. I even really loved the belt and planned on buying that, but realized I couldn’t since it came with the dress.

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Bay to Baubles Roxanne Pave Chandelier Earrings- $32

Although these are pretty earrings, they aren’t really my style and I didn’t feel like they really went with the other items in my fix.

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As you can see, it was really hard picking what I was going to keep and what I was going to send back- that’s the problem with getting a good fix! I think what I picked was the most practical as they can both be worn at work and for play.

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I haven’t scheduled my next fix yet as I like to wait until I have a special occasion to do it for… or maybe a time where it’s been a while since I’ve shopped. It would be too expensive of a habit if I scheduled them monthly!

If you’re on the fence about doing your first fix, I highly suggest it!

Questions for you: White skinnies- yay or nay? Do you have a tough time finding clothes that’s “just right”? Are you a big jewelry person?

5 Motivation Tips to Get Your Workout Mojo Back

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Good morning! Happy Hump Day! I don’t have a workout for you today, but I do have a topic that I think is a fun thing to talk about: getting back into consistent workouts after a brief hiatus.

I was recently asked a question on Instagram that I thought would make a good topic for discussion on the blog. The question was:

“Have you ever gone a period of time without exercising and needed to get back into it? If so, what did you do to motivate yourself to get back to where you were?”

What a great question, right? I’m sure if this person is going through this, she’s not alone. In fact, I’m sure many of us can relate to this question in one way or another. While I can’t say I do this often, unless it is health related like a stomach flu, pneumonia, sinus infection, injury, etc. (being a fitness instructor teaching 3-5 classes a week makes it hard to go on a hiatus!), I can see how easily it is to choose after work drinks with coworkers over a workout on day, and then shopping after work the next day, and then “you just don’t feel like it” feelings the next day… and so on and so forth. You get the pattern. Pretty soon you look at your gym bag and sneakers in the corner of your room or backseat of your car and realize you haven’t used them in a week… or two weeks. Crazy how time flies like that, right?!

It happens. For one reason or another, if you don’t make the gym a priority in your day and schedule that time in, it happens. It’s all too easy to say “what’s one more day?” and end up skipping your workout. Trust me- I’ve had days where I’ve felt like skipping, but before I skip, I ask myself these questions:

1. Why don’t I want to go to the gym? Too tired? Too much going on/no time? Too sore? Not feeling well? Friends are getting together after work? Sheer laziness? Pending on what’s causing those feelings for me will determine whether or not I listen to my body and skip the gym or coax myself into going.

2. If I skip today, what do the next few days look like? Will I have time for workouts those days? If I’ve already planned a rest day because of a long day of travel or other commitments, I’ll usually suck it up and workout.

3. What will I be doing instead? If I have a long laundry list of things to do (say I just got home from a trip the day before and then worked all day), I think that’s a very valid excuse to skip the gym. During that time I can clean, do laundry, grocery shop, meal prep, etc.- all things I categorize as ‘active rest’. Now, some days you just want to go home and veg out in front of the TV and you know what? That’s ok, too! It’s all about balance, so if you find yourself doing that fairly often, it’s probably time to talk to a motivating friend and get your butt to the gym!

But, if you still find yourself skipping the gym regularly even after asking yourself those questions, here are 5 tips to get yourself motivated to get back into the groove of working out on a regular schedule:

1. Put it in your calendar- things on the calendar usually mean that they are something you’re looking forward to, right? And something you’re not likely to skip, right? Well, do this for yourself and put your workout on your calendar. If it’s a scheduled part of your day, you’re likely going to think about it, get excited about it and ultimately, not skip it.

2. Workout with a friend- If you know you have a friend counting on you to join them for a workout, whether it be a Zumba class, bike ride, jog or something else, you’re less likely to bail on the workout. You wouldn’t want to ditch your friend, right? And, look at it this way- you’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone: working out AND catching up!

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3. Try something new- Whenever I’m about to go to a new class or try a new workout, I’m always way more motivated and excited. Even though a lot of the “boutique” studios in Boston can be quite pricey, most of them offer a “free first class”, so you can take advantage of that and jump around to all the places that offer that. Also, ClassPass is a great way to get motivated for your workouts- there are so many different places and classes to try that I found myself doubling up on workouts because I was so excited!

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4. Plan out your workout in advance- If I’m not motivated for the gym and get there without a plan of attack, my motivation slips even more. You’re also more likely to waste time at the gym if you go there and wander around figuring out what to do next. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got way better things to do with my time than wander around a gym, wasting time. Another thing I like to do is check out fitness blogs for inspiration, motivation and new workout ideas (some of my favorites are here). When I read those blogs and see what they are doing and where they’re working out, I’m motivated to get out there and try some of those things myself! A friend of mine tells me all the time how she prints out my workouts to take to the gym with her on days I don’t teach- this is a great way to have a plan for your workout that day.

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5. Treat yourself to some new gym clothes- It’s no shocker that I am a Lululemon addict, right? But if paying the hefty price that Lulu charges is not your thing, head over to a Tj Maxx, Marshalls or Old Navy where you’ll be able to find some super cute and super affordable new clothes. I promise, you’ll be way more motivated to get to the gym!

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And, when all else fails, just give yourself some time. If you’re really not feeling the gym and can’t shake that feeling, maybe your body is telling you something. Maybe you should check out some other forms of exercise than the ones you’ve always done. There’s no right or wrong way to exercise (unless, of course, you’re doing something dangerous or incorrectly and therefore hurting yourself), so as long as you’re getting out there and being active when and where you can, the intense stuff (if you want it) will come along again. Our bodies are a lot smarter than we think and muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Although getting back into it may not be easy and likely won’t be comfortable, your body will remember what it was capable of doing before your workout hiatus and you will get back to that point- and likely even stronger and further- if you keep at it. Every bit counts and every workout is a step in the right direction. Just. Keep. Moving!

I hope that helps! As I was writing it I was actually becoming more and more motivated to workout- funny thing about that!

Questions for you: Have you ever gone on a workout hiatus? How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym or to do a workout? Do you like working out with friends?

My 5 favorite quick and easy (but relatively healthy) dinner ideas

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I am sure I’m not the only one with a schedule this summer that leaves little room for much “real” cooking, right? Throughout the winter months, I seem to have much more time to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up delicious and healthy meals, but there’s something about the summer months that causes my schedule to fill up so quickly! With that said, I’m often left with figuring out what to cook that will not take much time (when I get home from the gym I’m STARVING- read: Hangry) yet still be tasty and healthy.

Here are some of my favorites!

Quesadillas

I love all types of quesadillas because they are so versatile and relatively quick and easy to put together. Sometimes I’ll just do cheese but I try to spice them up a little by adding in chicken and peppers and onions. Lately, when I have leftover roasted veggies I end up putting those in my ‘dilla- a great way to use up leftovers without getting bored and feeling like you’re eating the same thing over and over.

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Eggs

I usually do them scrambled, but sometimes I do hard boiled or over easy… Heck, sometimes I even microwave them for the fastest and easiest type of egg! I try to incorporate some type of veggies or greens (spinach or kale) to add in a little exta nutritious value. I usually top my eggs with slices of avocado and salsa- makes for a super tasty meal! RM will often make us frittata which is a fun way to change up my normal egg consumption.

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Quinoa bowl

Even if I don’t have a lot of time to cook a real meal, I will usually whip up a batch of some staple items: quinoa, chicken, roasted or sautéed veggies, sweet potato, etc. and one of my favorite things to do is throw them all in a bowl together! RM laughs at me every time I suggest eating ‘quinoa bowls’, but they are so easy, delicious and healthy that I think they are a very suitable dinner idea… And good idea at that!

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Smoothies

I’m not talking your regular old fruit smoothie. I’m talking a smoothie packed with protein, flaxseed, chia seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, spinach and then some fruit. Regular fruit smoothies are loaded with sugar and very little protein or “staying power”. Although it’s “natural” sugar, you still want to be careful not to incorporate too much, especially first thing in the morning which will likely kick up your sugar cravings for the rest of the day. RM has a Vita Mix and I always ask him to make me a power smoothie when I get home from the gym.

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Pizza on a wrap or flatbread

I used to loveee English muffin pizzas (heck, who am I kidding, I still love them), but I have started to turn to wrap or flatbread pizzas because it looks and feels like I’m eating a real pizza! I usually just top them with cheese (because it’s quickest and easiest), but sometimes I’ll add peppers or other veggies. The beauty is that if you broil them this dinner takes no time at all! I try to use wraps that are high in fiber and protein (some have more than others).

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A tip to make these basic meal ideas even healthier and easier? Prep a bunch of veggies at the start of the week so you can easily incorporate them into whatever you put together!

Questions for you: What’s your quickest/easiest meal you throw together during the week?

 

Guest Post: Marblehead Marathoner’s Weekly Workouts

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Good morning, friends! Since I’m still in Chicago, I decided to reach out to a friend for a guest post. Her name is Cara and she blogs over at Marblehead Marathoner. Funny little background story- Cara and I went to college together and met during orientation! We didn’t end up in the same group of friends at St. Mike’s, but we’ve recently reconnected… over fitness, of course! If you think my weekly workouts are crazy, just wait until you read through Cara’s workouts last week- she brings crazy athlete to another level! It’s inspiring to see how often she changes up her workouts. We’ve got some fun things planned in the next month or so (once life slows down a bit!), so be on the lookout :)

Here’s an example of a week of Marblehead Marathoner’s workouts- enjoy!

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Thanks for having me over today! I’m Cara from Marblehead Marathoner and I’m really excited to share my weekly workouts with Burpees to Bubbly fans! I love working out, being active, and motivating others. I work out with Beantown Bootcamp and love trying new fitness class throughout our awesome city. Every Friday morning  this summer I help lead a free bootcamp at 6:30am at Christopher Columbus Park, so if you like the work outs below please join me!

I believe in a full body approach to training and fitness happiness. I think anytime you can mix up what you are doing and work different muscle groups you will start seeing results. So the next time a friend mentions a new class they love, go check it out with them!

Monday

Upper Body Strength Training & Speed Training on the Treadmill 8 800s in 3:13 with 400 recovery

Cara guest post arm workout

Tuesday

Morning: Legs day! Stair repeats, lunges (1/4 mile weighted with 20 lbs dumbbells each hand), 100 squats, 4 hill repeats ( 2 backwards, 2 forward).

Evening: Cycling Class at B/Spoke. Mostly hill simulation with a few weighted arm exercises.

Cara guest post B.Spoke

Wednesday:

Tababta Style! Each exercise is 25 seconds on 5 seconds off. 4 cycles for each drill.

  1. Wall climb, hands on ground, legs running up wall.
  2. Lung Backs Prison Style- hands behind head ( 2 cycles each leg).
  3. Squat Jumps with Donkey Kicks.
  4. Wall sits.
  5. Planks with leg raises.
  6. Box Jumps.
  7. Step Ups ( rapid fire! 2 cycles each side).
  8. Single leg squats with bench. Fully sit between squats.
  9. Push Ups ( modify on knees).
  10. Crunches on stability ball.
  11. 2 mins on the bike with resistance high and aim to burn 20 calories in the 2 mins.

Repeat entire cycle for full one hour workout.

Cara guest post tabata

Thursday:

Hills and Drills! I headed to Beacon Hill and ran 10 hills with 5 squat thrusts at the top of each hill. Finished with 10 hills and 50 squat thrusts and some burning legs.

Cara guest post hills and drills

Friday:

Free Friday Bootcamps at Christopher Columbus Park 6:30am with Beantown Bootcamp. A mix of cardio/ strength/ agility always changing and motivating!

Cara guest post bootcamp

Saturday: (typically my long run day but this weekend moved to Monday)

4 rounds in a tennis tournament aka 6 hours of tennis. A full body work out if ever there was one!

Cara guest post tennis

Sunday:

30 min yoga for runners DVD

75 mins elliptical cross training

Cara guest post yoga

Here is a total body do anywhere workout for your to try this week on your own. You can watch the video here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwtu6bYowRU

Do Anywhere Work Out:

  • 25 Jumping Jacks ( straight arms and legs, clap those hands together at the top!)
  • 25 Push Ups ( modify on knees or challenge yourself and use a desk/ chair elevate your shoulders higher then your feet).
  • 25 Jump Lunges ( Total, make that knee touch the ground! Stand tall!  Belly button pointing straight ahead)
  • 25 Dips ( move the legs further out to make it harder, remember to drop down straight and aim for getting that bum close to the ground!
  • 25 Sit Ups ( come all the way up- touch those toes!)
  • 25 Burpees ( challenge yourself with a hand release at the bottom, stand up straight at the top of each one).
  • 25 Squats ( get low! Drop that bum below those knees, chin up, belly button facing straight out, not down!)

Repeat 4 times.

Nice work! You just completed 100 Jumping Jacks, 100 Push Ups, 100 Jump Lunges, 100 Dips, 100 Sit Ups, 100 Burpees, 100 Squats

You can follow me to find some fun fitness ideas and motivation!

https://www.facebook.com/cara.elisa.5

https://twitter.com/carabednar

http://instagram.com/marbleheadmarathoner

https://www.youtube.com/user/carabednar/videos

http://www.corepower.com/cara-bednar-pages-81.php

Thanks again for having me!

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How about those workouts, right?! I love how Cara varies her workouts from day to day- it really is the ultimate way to see changes and keep your body guessing and growing stronger. Big thanks, again, to Cara for sharing a week of her workouts with us!

Questions for you: Have you been to Beantown Bootcamp? What’s your favorite sport to play (that ultimately replaces a workout)?

Let me know if you try any of the workouts that Cara shared with us- I know I will be trying them!

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