Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kettlebell Workouts: Week 5

Welcome to the last week of the Swing in the New Year Kettlebell Challenge! 

Who's still swingin'?  Me, me, me!

I'm totally in love with the kettlebell.  Shh, don't tell my husband.

By the way, sorry this post is coming out on Tuesday instead of Monday as usual.  We had a crazy-fun-busy weekend away at an indoor water park.  It was a great time and we all came home with some kind of chlorine-induced skin irritation and completely exhausted.  We're already planning next year's trip.

Back to business....

My kettlebell challenge is almost over and I've been wondering: what's next?

Well, my BRF Anne is having a Fit February Challenge!  I'm going to continue with the 30 minutes of kettlebell 3 times a week for February.  Click on over and join me!  Word on the street: there will be a prize!

Now, for the kettlebell exercise of the week:

I've been loving all over this exercise that I got from Active.com: The Halo
 
Hold the kettlebell by the horns over your head.  Move your upper body in a circular motion keeping your core tight.  Good stuff.  It doesn't feel hard in the moment.  Wait until the next day.  Bwahahahaha!
 
This next move is what happens when my camera man, aka husband, tells me to break it down.  He also dared me to post it.  I don't have a problem making fun of myself. 


Happy swingin'! (Or whatever it is that you do when no one is looking.)

Did you make it to the end of the challenge?  Hooray!  I did!  Three 30 minute kettlebell workouts a week, every week!
Will you join us for Anne's Fit February Challenge?  I'm always up for a challenge!

Also, don't forget, the Pretty Muddy discount code GIRLTIME is only good for 2 more days and will work for any race location, nation-wide!  If you're in the Columbus area, join our team!  Register with the team Powerful in Pink for the 9am wave to hang with Anne and I for 3.1 muddy miles.  If you're on the fence about this mud run, check out the obstacles here.  They look really fun.

Have a great day, friends!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daily Hydration



It occurred to me this week that I have no idea how much water I drink in a day.  I know it's a lot and I was pretty sure it's enough but was curious exactly how much I drink.

As with anything else, there's an app for that!

I downloaded the free app, Water Your Body, from the Android Market.  Don't have an Android?  I'm sure there's a similar app for your network.

Water Your Body comes with default sizes of water bottles and glasses, but you can change the size of your vessels in the settings menu.  I usually drink out of a 12 ounce glass or a 22 ounce sport bottle.

How much water should you drink?  According to the app, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces.  According to other online sources, there isn't really a specific amount.  You should drink enough so your urine is colorless and odorless.  That sounds more logical than assigning an exact number of ounces. 

For the past two days, I've run inside on the treadmill (grumble, groan).  Compared to outside, it's hot on the 'mill, therefore I drank more water than I would have had I been out in the arctic temperature; my body needed more water than it would have had I run outside and I went way over in my drinking (according to the app).  The picture above was before 7am and I was already more than halfway to my total water goal for the day.  According to the Water Your Body app, by the end of the day, I ended up drinking 38 ounces more than my daily "requirement".

I probably will not continue using the app because I know now that I drink more than enough water and I don't need reminders to do so.

Do you have trouble remembering to drink? Keep a bottle/glass of water in front of you at all times.  Bring a reusable bottle (let's be green, people) with you wherever you go.  It's rare that I leave my house without my sport bottle.

If I have water in front of me, I will drink it.  The same goes for martinis and wine.

 
Have you ever used a water intake app?
Do you think you drink enough water?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kettlebell Workouts: Week 4

Woohoo!  Three weeks down!

I have to admit, other than running, this is the longest I've stuck with any exercise routine.  At least 30 minutes, three times a week for three weeks.  I'm seeing a difference in my arms, chest, waist and hips, are you?

I weighed and measured myself at the beginning of this month, and again last week.  I lost 5 pounds (!!) and one inch from my waist and chest (hooray!) and half of an inch from my hips and thighs.  I'm thrilled about the inch from my chest.  I used to wear a much smaller bra and I long to go back...hormones from pregnancy and breastfeeding are evil.

I don't ever share exact numbers for weight or measurements and here's why: I'm a small person and not many of you out there will ever weigh what I weigh because you're 6-8 inches taller than I am.  I don't want anyone to see the number on my scale and feel discouraged, so I just keep it to myself.

I didn't think to measure my arms at the beginning of the month, but I did measure them last week and I'll measure everything again at the end of the month.  I'm seeing a lot more definition in my shoulders and arms.  I've also noticed that certain exercises are getting pretty easy with the lighter kettlebell.  Hooray for getting stronger!

I have one pretty sweet exercise to share with you this week.  I'm having a hard time finding moves that are completely different from what I've already shared.

This one is called Spider Drags from Shape Magazine.

1. Start in a forearm plank with the kettlebell behind your right elbow.  2. Straightening one arm at a time, move to push-up position.  3. Reach over with your left hand.  4. Drag the kettlebell to the left side.  Lower down into a forearm plank, repeat with the other side.  That's one rep.  Try to do 12.  It's hard.  Have fun.

How is your Swing in the New Year Challenge going?  Are you keeping up?  Have you tried the Spider Drag?  I love the burn...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Waffles!

 
 
The waffles pictured above were, indeed, prepared by the non-cook.  Impressed?  Shocked is more like it.
 
Here's a funny story:
 
I had a hankering for homemade waffles.  (I've always wanted to use the word "hankering".)  I also want to get away from buying, and feeding my kids (and myself), prepared frozen waffles.  No, I don't have a waffle iron.  What non-cook has a waffle iron?! 

So I bought one.
 
Don't get excited, it's nothing fancy.  I bought a little Black and Decker number on sale at Kohl's for $24.99 and I had a 30% coupon.  Have I ever mentioned that I rarely shop without coupons?  It's my way of sticking it to the man.
 
I brought my new prize home, cleaned it, seasoned it and made the little ladies and I waffles for dinner.  (Randy had a work-thing and was totally jealous to miss breakfast for dinner.)

I found a pretty simple waffle recipe on allrecipes.com, but, according to me, it didn't have enough vanilla extract.  You can never have enough vanilla extract.  It took a couple of tries to prefect this recipe, but I think I've got it.
 
This part smelled pretty good.

This part smelled even better.

Oh my gosh, these are wonderful.  Eggo, eat your heart out.
 
 
Recipe:
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix it all up and scoop into waffle iron as directed by your owner's manual, wait for it to cook and enjoy. :)

What have you been cooking up lately?


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: The New Me


2013 will be the Year of Awesome.

Why?  Because I'm going to make it awesome.

I've got some exciting news to share, but first....

Friends, let's chat.  It seems like a lot of great things have been happening to me lately. 

They're not.

Things don't just happen. Something or someone needs to make them happen.  I am making them happen.  I'm putting myself in a position for great things to happen to me.  Most of the time, this means stepping out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes it means stepping way out.  Nothing worthwhile is easy, right?

You might think I'm brave, outgoing, comfortable in my own skin and think highly of myself.  I'm not, I am, I'm not and I don't.  Ok, I am outgoing, but that's about all I have going for me.  The rest of those things?  They take work.  A lot of it.

Two and a half very short years ago, I was unpleasantly plump and needed a new bathing suit.  While trying them on, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Who the hell are YOU?!"  It's pretty bad when a suit that's "flattering for every figure" was not flattering.  At all.

That day, right there in the Kohl's fitting room, I decided who I wanted to be...and it wasn't the person I saw in the mirror:  The couch potato.  The ice-cream-for-dinner eater (ok, some habits are harder to kick than others).  I had a vision for myself: to be healthy and active, and I had no idea where to start.

I have an elliptical machine; I started using it.  After a few months, I ran out of magazines to read and I was getting bored.  I needed to change things up.  I tried out running with Anne and never looked back.

With a lot of miles and eating real dinner instead of ice cream (most of the time), I became my Kohl's fitting room vision of myself and created a new vision: be strong (mentally and physically), take chances and to not be afraid of failure. 

I'm going to be fearless in 2013. (And I hoping to make fearless a habit in 2014...)

Fit Approach

Ever heard of it? (Click on the picture and check it out.)  Sweat Pink is where tough and girly come together.  As soon as I heard of it, I wanted to be part of the group.  I started filling out the application to join then I got to "the question". 

Why should I be part of their community?  I dread this type of question. (Um...I sweat a lot and I love pink?)

You see, I'm not good at selling myself.  Compliments embarrass me and I just feel like an idiot when I have to tell someone how awesome I am.

I don't think that I do anything extraordinary.  I run because I like to run.  I run long because I like to run long.  I run before the crack of dawn because that's when I can fit it into my day.  (And if that makes me awesome, aw, shucks, I'll blush.)

Two weeks ago, I received an email:

WOOT!  I totally sweat pink.

You never know what can happen if you don't put yourself out there.

But wait, there's more!

Pretty Muddy Women's Mud RunIn a moment of bravery about a month ago, I applied to be on the blogger team for the Pretty Muddy Run. If you read the guest post I wrote for Fitspiration for Moms last month, you know I'm not a big fan of getting dirty. I've never had anything good to say about mud/obstacle runs, either. My husband's jaw dropped when I told him. Why on Earth would I want to be on a team for a mud run?!


Because I'm fearless.

Fake it 'till you make it, right? I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. No. I'm running away from my comfort zone. It's nowhere in sight!

Ever heard of the Pretty Muddy? It's a women-only 5K full of fun obstacles. None of that running through live electrical wires or jumping over fire pits. (Seriously, who does that?!) Check out the website, it looks like a lot of fun! Enter the code GIRLTIME when you register for $20 off the registration price. Hurry, this code is only good until January 31! The Pretty Muddy in Columbus will be on September 14, but this code is good for ALL Pretty Muddy events nation-wide.

If you're in Columbus and are interested in joining a team led by Anne and I, don't register just yet, send me an email: riserunmomrepeat@gmail.com and I'll give you specific instructions.

Introducing...the new me! I'm brave, I'm sure of myself and I'm muddy. (wince)

ViewSport posted this on their Facebook page last week.  It totally hit home for me.
Some morning motivation for all of you ...


Please, share your visions of YOU.

Who are you?  Who do you WANT to be?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kettlebell Workouts: Week 3

The month, and the Swing in the New Year Challenge are half over already!

Ever since the little ladies were born, I swear, time moves faster than it used to.

How was your week last week?  Did you get in the three workouts?  I did!  Woot!

On Monday, I spent 30 minutes loving on my kettlebell doing some of the different exercises that I shared last week and the week before.  Thursday and Friday, I worked out with the kettlebell DVD.

I'm finding that as much as I'm bored with the music of the DVD, I like those exercises the best.  The trainer on the DVD is Gin Miller, ever heard of her?  She has a nice voice, makes fun sound effects and she even cracks a few jokes.  I like her. 

I'm going to share a few of the exercises in the video with you today.  Don't worry, Gin, I'm not giving away any of your secrets.  All of these exercises can be found elsewhere on the web.

Figure 8

Exactly how it sounds: draw a figure 8 in the air in front of you while holding the kettlebell by the horns.  Keep your core tight and bend your knees.  It's hard.  Enjoy.

Rock the Baby

This one is really good.  If you rock fast, you'll raise your heart rate and you can work up a great sweat.  If you go slow, you torture your shoulder muscles and who doesn't love a good torture session?!  Again, keep your core tight and bend your knees.

Dead Lifts

Really good for balance!  As a former gymnast, I used to do this all the time on a 4 inch wide  balance beam 4 feet off the ground.  These days?  HA!  My balance is a joke but getting a little better thanks to all of this practice.  Keep your shoulders back and your back straight.  Lift your leg as you lower the weight keeping your body in a straight line like a playground see-saw.  When you wobble (and you will), please, put your foot down before you fall.

Squat Side Leg Lift
Saddlebags?  What saddlebags?  I love this move.  Possibly my favorite.  Keep your core tight.  This one will get your heart rate up.

Have fun with these!  One two weeks to go!

How is your kettlebell challenge going?  Have you tried any of these exercises or any of the exercises in the past two posts?  What's your favorite?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Italian Breadcrumbs

Once upon a time, the girl who called herself a non-cook ran out of Italian breadcrumbs and was too lazy didn't want to drag the little ladies to the store for more.  She looked around the kitchen and found a leftover baguette that was getting stale and got an idea.

She can make her own breadcrumbs!

I'm not sure why she thought this as she was a non-cook, but that's the way the story goes, I swear. 

It turns out that these homemade breadcrumbs were way better than the store-bought and she never bought breadcrumbs from the store again.

The end.

I don't exactly follow a recipe, but here's the non-recipe from this non-cook.
Cut the leftover almost stale baguette (or any bread, really) into chunks.  We love the baguette's from The Anderson's General Store and usually, we have some leftover.  If we don't eat it on the second day, it gets too stale to eat at all.  Breadcrumbs is the perfect use!
Process the bread.  This takes a while.  Turn the food processor on and walk away for a minute or two.  There will be some large chunks, especially if you use a crusty bread, we're going to process it again later, so don't worry about the chunks yet.
The inside of the bread will still be a little moist and will mold so I spread the crumbs on a parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. spritz them a little with cooking spray and pop them in the oven set at 350 for about 4 minutes.  We want the bread dry, not toasted so watch it carefully.
When the crumbs are dry, process them again, for just a few seconds this time, they'll break up easily.
Voila!  You have breadcrumbs.  You can stop here if you don't want to season them.  You can always season them as you use them.
I rarely use plain breadcrumbs, so I season them as I make them.  I like Italian style, so I use oregano, granulated onion, granulated garlic and basil (you can add salt and pepper if you'd like).  I don't measure, I just sprinkle based on how much bread I have.
 Mix it all together, taste it, if it needs a little more, add it.  I store my breadcrumbs in an airtight container for two weeks if they last that long.
These breadcrumbs taste so much better than store-bought, and they're easy (and cheap) to make!  Score!

What have you been cooking up lately?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

EatSmart Precision Digital Scale Review


I've been wanting to buy a new scale for some time now.

You see, my old scale is....how can I put this delicately?

....ugly.  Really, really ugly.

You can imagine my joy when I got the opportunity to review the EatSmart Precision Digital bathroom scale!  Pretty new scale, come to Mama!

It didn't disappoint!  I love this scale for many reasons, first and foremost:
  • It's pretty.  Say it with me, folks, "Ooooh....ahhhhhh..." 
  • It's durable.  With two small kids in the house, you'd better believe that a glass bathroom scale would never have made it into my shopping cart.  The glass is tempered so it won't break if my little ladies jump on it when I'm not looking.
  • It calibrates automatically.  When I get up in the morning at 4:40, I barely open my eyes until I'm dressed and ready to run.  There is no way I'd be pressing buttons and waiting for a scale to zero out, but guess what?  There are no buttons to press and there is no waiting!  Here's how I weigh myself: I step on the scale.  Hooray for simplicity!
  • The display!  The EatSmart Precision is easy to read.  The 3.5 inch display is back-lit in blue so there's no squinting to figure out what my weight is.  On the other hand, my weight is large, in my face and impossible to not read.  Perhaps I should rethink this whole review...  ;-)
  •  It's precise.  I haven't gotten a wonky reading yet.
  • The price.  The EatSmart Precision is affordable.  It retails for less than $30 and is worth every penny.
  • Batteries included?  Nuh-uh!  Who does that anymore?  EatSmart does! (But the manufacturers of half of my kids' Christmas presents do not--take a hint!)
I will never go back to looking at this ugly old thing.

Ever.
 
EatSmart provided the scale for my review.  All opinions are my own.
 
The EatSmart Precision Digital bathroom scale is available for purchase at Amazon.
Follow EatSmart's blog.
Also keep tabs on them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.
 
Have you ever tried an EatSmart scale?  What did you think?
Do you have a pretty digital scale?  And old, ugly dial scale?
Poor thing.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kettlebell Workouts: Week 2

How is everyone doing with the Swing in the New Year kettlebell challenge?  I'm thrilled to report that week 1 was a success for me!  I got in three kettlebell workouts that were all about 40 minutes long.  I did notice that I'm no longer sore after doing the workouts with my DVD.  I feel the burn during the workout, and I definitely feel like I'm working, but I don't feel sore later that day or the next day.

This led me to wonder: should I feel sore?  I asked The Twitter and got an answer from Tweeps that they feel like they got a good workout when they're sore the next day, but that really didn't answer my question.  I went to my second favorite source of information:  Google.

According to About.com, and I'm paraphrasing here, it is not good to feel sore after every workout.  It is, however, normal to be sore after changing your routine, say for instance, using the kettlebell for the first time.  After my first workout with my new kettlebell, I was sore for two days.  After the second go-round with the kettlebell, the soreness was very mild and every time after that, I had no soreness at all. 

While I don't think I'm ready for more weight for most of the exercises just yet, I am ready for new exercises.  How about you?

Last week, I found some great moves at Women's Health.  This week, I went a little more hardcore.  There are a bunch of exercises listed, there are pictures, descriptions and links to demo videos at Intense Kettlebell Workouts.  A couple of the exercises are repeats from last week (windmill and swing) so I won't go into those again but the rest are brand new to us!

Kettlebell Clean:
This is not me.  My muscles don't look like that....yet.
The Kettlebell Clean
Source
I had a hard time following the description of these exercise: start in a squat with the kettlebell between your feet.  Stand up, pull the kettlebell to your shoulder while twisting your wrist.  This video helps.

Kettlebell Crunch:
Lay on your back holding the kettlebell above you.  Using your abs only, lift your shoulder blades off the floor.

Front Raises:
One arm!  Yikes!
With one arm out to the side, lift the other arm straight up in front of you and lower it.

Squats:
Hold the kettlebell at your chest and keeping your knees above your ankles, stick your butt out behind you and squat as low as you can (without falling over) and stand back up.

Have fun with these this week!

How are you liking the Swing in the New Year kettlebell challenge?  Are you finding time for your workouts?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Letter to My Four Year Old

Sweet Aleena Catherine,

Before you were born, I used to wonder what you'd look like, what you'd sound like and what kind of little person you would be.

Now, here you are, four years old.  You're exterior is beautiful, matching your personality, and you have a teeny tiny voice that makes everyone you encounter swoon.

Where has the time gone?  I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.
You were so tiny and I was so thrilled to meet you and so excited to get to know you.

Looking back, I know you cried (all day for six months) and you didn't sleep through the night (for a year and a half) but from here, it doesn't seem like it was all that bad. 
What I remember the most are your smiles and the way you laughed with your whole being when I tickled you and your hugs.  From the time you were 10 months old, you gave great hugs; you held on tight and you never let go too soon.

I remember how you used to play peek-a-boo by covering the top of your head with your hands, instead of covering your eyes and how you insisted on doing everything "my-by-self!"

I've very much enjoyed watching you grow and witnessing your sweet, funny and sassy personality develop. 
You make me laugh every day.
You never cease to amaze me with your intelligence and your wit. 

You're growing up right before my eyes.  Gone is the tiny baby I brought home four very short years ago.  In her place I see a strong, caring, hilarious little lady.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the ride for the past four years and can't wait to see what the next four bring.

I love you more than you'll ever know (until you have a baby of your own...in 40 or so years).

Happy birthday, Aleena.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kettlebell Workouts: Week 1

So....I have a kettlebell and the DVD it came with. The DVD has three short workouts, I put them all together to make one 37 minute workout. It's a great workout, but I can promise you that I'll be really, really bored of this after one week if I keep doing the same workout three times a week.  Plus, I want variety!  I need to sneak up on my muscles every now and then.

One option, that really isn't an option, is to buy more DVDs. Why is that not an option? Christmas was last week and this mama is broke.

Luckily, Google is my friend. I searched and found lots of kettlebell workouts posted right on the web just waiting for me to find them.

This one is from Women's Health. If you click on the picture, it will take you right to the web page it came from.

I'll use a heavier kettlebell for some (dead lifts, swings, figure 8) than others (windmill and half get-up).

Women's Health also posted this demo video of another kettlebell workout with completely different moves from the workout pictured above. I'm so excited to try these out!



Are you still swinging?  How is your kettlebell challenge going? Today was workout #2 of week 1 for me!  I'm hoping that I can swing with my mom tomorrow for my third workout of the week.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Changes for the New Year


Happy 2013, y'all!

I'm not a big fan of "resolutions".  I've tried that in the past.  One year, my New Year's resolution was to stop swearing.  I think I made it 3 hours.

Last year, I had goals.  One of which was to start using the weight machine (that I lovingly call The Monstrosity) that is in my basement.  I finally got around to accomplishing this goal in November, but hey, I did it.

This year, I'm making changes.  Some changes are fitness-related, some are not.

Fitness Changes:
  • definition in my arms ~ Hello kettlebell challenge!  I have a weekend trip to an indoor water park planned for the end of this month, I wouldn't mind my arms looking nice and toned by then.  Maybe that will be more noticeable than their pasty white-ness.
  • less jiggle in the belly ~ this will involve cutting out sugar.  I may not survive such a change.
  • wear my heart rate monitor for one run a week to make sure I keep my effort easy.  2013 will be the year of NO injuries, thank you very much.
Non-Fitness Changes:
  • play more games ~ board games!  That's something that we don't do too often in our house: we're not game players!  We got a bunch of games for Christmas and I really want to play with the little ladies.
  • make an effort with my appearance ~ this sounds totally vain, and it is.  During the average month in 2012, I wore make up three times.  I completely neglected my eyebrows, plucked them 3 times and didn't have them waxed a single time all year, luckily, they're blond, but seriously.  This needs to change!  I've done the work with the rest of my body; I'm wearing pre-baby sized clothes and I'm (mostly) happy with the way I look in them.  Now it's time to make the effort.
    • learn to accessorize ~  Currently, other than my wedding rings, I don't really wear jewelry.  It's not that I don't have the jewelry.  I just don't wear it.  I only take my earrings out to clean them, then I put them back in.  I never change them.  I have no idea how to wear a fashion scarf or how to coordinate those long really cool necklaces.  I'm going to need help with this.  My friend, Andrea, is very fashionable.  She's always accessorized.  I'm hoping she can teach me.  (Please, Andrea?)
    • show my damn eyebrows some love!
    • buy shoes that are not sneakers or running shoes ~ I have the cute outfit, the cute accessories, make up and sculpted eye brows and I'll wear it all with a dirty pair of Asics.  Hot.
By the time 2014 rolls around, I'll be a whole new me!

Do you make resolutions?  Goals?  Changes?  Another name?
Care to share a one or two?