Vacation Workout

I’m on vacation and yes, I have a workout plan. I know what you’re thinking, only crazy people workout on their vacation.

I’m not diligent about getting my workout in on vacation but if I’m away from exercise too long I start to not feel good and I get cranky. It’s better for everyone around me if I get some physical activity!

That being said, I fit it in when I can and don’t worry when I can’t. I don’t take away from family time and I don’t skip other activities that I want to do just to workout. My vacation is two weeks long and I maybe work out 4-5 times  at most.

If you choose to exercise on vacation don’t expect to make gains or lose weight. You may even lose a little strength and endurance but that’s ok…It’s a vacation after all, enjoy it!

A run, a long walk or even a stretching session can be good exercise and still keep you relaxed. Especially if you can do it early in the day before everyone else is up.

The following are 3 different workout plan options you can do anywhere. A hotel room, condo balcony, poolside or even on the beach. Do one of them, two of them or all 3 if you’re feeling really ambitious. Sorry if the pictures are a bit blurry or goofy… teenage photographer!!

Workout 1 – do each exercise for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest between and do the whole circuit twice.

Skaters – jump sideways from foot to foot

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Standing side crunches

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Pike shoulder presses – in a downward dog position, bend elbows to lower and then push back up


Sumo squats

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V-sit leg flutters

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Workout 2 – Do the whole circuit twice

Walking lunges x 20 reps

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Push-ups 10-20 reps

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Plank 30 seconds

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Squat with kickback x 20 reps – squat down and upon returning to start, press your leg back at your hip. Alternate legs.


Tricep dips 10-20 reps – these can be done on the ground if necessary but a bench or a chair makes them a little more productive.

Workout 3 – do each exercise for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest between and do the whole circuit three times.

Jumping jacks

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Side leg lifts

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Jog in place

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Heel touch crunches – in a crunch position, squeeze from side to side touching your heels with the tips of your fingers.

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Mountain climbers

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Happy Exercising!

My Favorite Running Stuff

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links)

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SPIbelt, ASICS running shoes, RoadID app, Hyathletic gloves

I’ve been a runner since I was 13. I’ve gone through dozens of pairs of shoes and probably hundreds of t-shirts, shorts, tights, socks, hair ties and who knows what else. I’m not super particular when it comes to my workout gear. I’ll wear a 10 year old ratty race t-shirt just as often as a $50 technical shirt. I don’t care. But, there are some things over the years that I’ve come to love and run with more often than not. Here are a few of my favorite things…

ASICS running shoes. I’ve had more Asics shoe models since high school than I can count and they have all worked well for me. I’ve avoided major injuries for 30 years and have always had comfortable runs so I see no reason to change my routine anytime soon. I’m currently wearing the Gel Kayano 22s and they give me just the right amount of cushioning without too much bulk. I’ve always been a fan of ASICS and would recommend them to almost anyone. I even recently made a convert of my husband!

Road ID app. The Road ID app uses GPS to track your run (or walk, bike ride, hike or whatever) and send eCrumbs to up to 5 people that you designate so they can keep track of you from any web browser. They don’t even need to have the app. I use it to let my husband know when I’m going out for a run alone or when I’m running a race so he knows when I finish. The app also has a Stationary Alert Notification feature that would let someone know if you stop moving for a preselected amount of time. A fantastic safety feature, in my opinion! And, it’s free!

SPIbelt. I don’t run with headphones so I’ve never had a need to carry my phone on my arm and frankly, I find armbands annoying anyway so I wear a SPIbelt. A spy belt is like the sleek, rich cousin of the 80s fanny pack. It’s big enough to hold my phone, keys, ID and a small snack or energy gels but not so big to be bulky or get in the way when I run. It’s usually hidden under my shirt or jacket so no one can even tell I’m carrying it. Another safety feature!

Hyathletic Flux gloves. These are a new addition to my stash of running gear. I’ve only worn them a few times but they’re quickly becoming indispensable. They’re thin and light as a feather. They keep my hands comfortable without making them clammy. In the past, I’ve tried gloves that are too thick and I end up taking them off halfway through my run. I’ve also tried using the thumb holes in my running jackets instead of gloves but they don’t quite keep my hands comfortable. I’ll admit these gloves look crazy when you take them out of the package (you’ll think there’s no possible way they can fit you) but, trust me, they work!
What are some of your favorite running gear items?

Happy Exercising!

1-Year Anniversary and 3D Pictures

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The 1-year anniversary of my breast cancer surgery is coming up in a couple days and I’ve been reflecting on the last year and how it all started. With a 3-D mammogram.

Regular mammograms are so important and when I was offered the option to have a 3-D mammogram done, I took it even though I would need to pay an additional out-of-pocket fee for it. My insurance only covered part of the screening. I didn’t really know the difference between a regular mammogram and a 3D one but my very quick and limited research indicated a 3D mammogram created better pictures.

Traditional mammography takes a single picture versus 3D mammography which takes multiple pictures or slices. The multiple pictures are used to make a 3D image that is clearer and easier to read. These images help detect more cancers and detect them early and help doctors see the size of the cancer easier. It also reduces false positives.

A lot of the research on the effectiveness of a 3D versus traditional mammogram is published by companies that manufacture the screening machines and doesn’t necessarily show a huge difference between them. There is some debate that the more accurate, clearer picture may show abnormalities that require further testing thus producing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Here’s some more information about the greatness of 3D mammograms from breastcancer.org

A study looking at 3 years of data on breast cancer screening with 3-D mammograms has found that the benefits of 3-D mammograms last over time.

The study was published online on Feb. 18, 2016 by JAMA Oncology. Read the abstract of “Effectiveness of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Compared With Digital Mammography: Outcomes Analysis From 3 Years of Breast Cancer Screening.”

Benefits of 3D Mammograms Last Over Time

“These findings reaffirm that 3-D mammography is a better mammogram for breast cancer screening,” said Emily Conant, M.D., chief of breast imaging at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was the senior author of the study. Dr. Conant also is a member of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board. “These results are an important step toward informing policies so that all women can receive 3-D mammography for screening.”

Based on my personal experience, I highly recommend a 3D mammogram. I was fortunate that my cancer was very small and caught very early. My amazing surgeon indicated that a 3D mammogram was the reason my cancer was caught early. A traditional mammogram may not have caught it and I would have gone a whole year before another screening. In hindsight, the best $50 I EVER spent.

But, sadly, many insurance companies don’t cover the full cost or even part of the cost of a 3-D mammogram. Many women, including me, can afford to pay out-of-pocket fees on top of our insurance coverage to have this more advanced screening but far too many women don’t have that option.

If you have the means, please consider donating to help someone and if you need assistance, here’s a search tool  to help. Please help me spread the word.

*steps off soapbox…

Happy Exercising!

Do You Share This Nutrition Goal with Me?

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Veggie Life

My workout routine is pretty solid at this point so one of my new goals is to work on my nutrition and eating habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around eating chips, donuts and candy bars and then expect to work it off on my next run. I eat pretty healthy about 80% of the time but there’s always room for improvement. I don’t like the idea of tracking my macro nutrients or calories very closely. Maybe that’s my problem! I find that to be a pain in the ass but I am aware of what I’m eating and I don’t eat mindlessly.

One of my nutrition goals is to reduce and possibly eliminate my red meat consumption for a variety of health reasons. I already don’t eat much of it because I simply don’t like the taste of it. I know, it’s crazy but a big juicy grilled steak as the ultimate meal just doesn’t appeal to me at all. However, I am aware that reducing my meat consumption means I need to get protein in other ways and lots of foods have protein, not just steaks and hamburgers. I do eat eggs and dairy and minimal chicken and seafood so that helps.

A general guideline is 46g of protein per day for the average woman. This is the recommended dietary allowance set by the USDA but keep in mind that it is a very general guideline. Everybody is different and most active women will need more protein than that per day. If you want to get detailed and track your exact protein intake, the formula to figure out what YOU need is:

Your weight divided by 2.2 then multiply that by .8 for not very active, 1.3 for active or pregnant, 1.8 for extremely active (ex. Training for a marathon).

If you choose to track these kinds of details, please keep in mind that it is all an inexact science and should be viewed as guidelines only and not absolutes. Make adjustments based on your personal goals and how you feel.

There are 20 different amino acids provided by protein sources. Nine are essential meaning we have to eat them because our body can’t make them. It has often been thought that plant-based proteins had to be combined in very specific ways in order to get complete proteins and ensure adequate intake of these essential amino acids. However, current research indicates that it is NOT necessary to combine plant based proteins at every meal. It’s enough to simply get all the amino acids over the course of the day or a couple days.

Ok, enough with the boring stats….

Here are some of my favorite plant based proteins. Let me know in the comments if you have some favorites I can add to my list. I’m always looking for new options.quinoa-1822176_640

Quinoa – This grain can be used very similarly to rice. I often fix it with some roasted vegetables or black beans and corn with a little taco seasoning.
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Rice and beans – Black beans or lentils and your seasoning of choice.

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Hummus and pita chips or veggies – This is one of my all-time favorite snacks.

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Nuts and nut butters – Almonds are another one of my all-time favorite snacks along with almond butter.

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Chia seeds – I mix these in my smoothies.

 

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Green peas – These don’t have to be the mushy, overcooked side dish from your youth. Toss fresh or frozen peas into a salad or purée into a hummus with a little garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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Spinach – I make all my salads with baby spinach and I also blend it into my smoothies.

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Broccoli – Steamed or fresh in a salad.

 

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Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds – Blended into smoothies or sprinkled on salads.

 

Happy Exercising (and eating!)

Annual Goals

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New Years resolutions…

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions because I think goals can and should be set and adjusted at ANY time. But, I can also appreciate the idea of the new year being a great opportunity for a new beginning. The holiday season is busy and chaotic. January is usually the time where everything settles down and gets back to a normal schedule so it presents itself as a good time to start something new. I get it! It is a good time to re-evaluate current goals or plan new ones for the coming year.

It was about this time last year I set goals for 2016. I had a main goal and two secondary goals and I even used a goal planning sheet to post them in my home office. I was quite proud of my organized self!

And, literally, three weeks into 2016 they promptly went to hell with a cancer diagnosis.

Obviously, my goals changed and I had to make a new plan. The end of 2016 looks very different than I thought it would but I still accomplished goals and in some ways even made unexpected progress.

My point is, flexibility is key. So many people make New Year’s resolutions in January only to find they have “failed” by February or March. Don’t look at resolutions as success or failure. Sometimes, they have to be adjusted out of necessity and sometimes just because you feel like it. If you find yourself “failing”, take the time to figure out why and re-adjust. Don’t just give up. Maybe the resolution you made wasn’t right for you or maybe you need a different plan to accomplish it.

Goals should be written down but they’re not chiseled into the sidewalk out front – they can be erased and rewritten. Trust me, it’s OK! I did not accomplish my original goals for 2016 so for me, 2017 is just another opportunity to begin again.

Take some time today to think about what you want to accomplish in your new beginning.

Happy Exercising!

P.S. Here’s a printable Goals pdf to help you get started.

Holiday Fitness

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Enjoying the holidays without wrecking the gains you’ve made all year can be tough but it’s definitely doable. First of all, it’s the holidays…so enjoy yourself and relax! I think this is something that people tend to forget or lose sight of. I know it can get chaotic and stressful but I think the key to an enjoyable and blessed holiday season is to remind yourself that it’s about friends and family not gifts and food. Great food helps but it’s not the goal!!

On that note, here are few tips to keep you from completely derailing your fitness.

1. Office treats…oh, those amazing office treats! I work from home so I don’t have this “problem” but I used to work in a school that had an employee baking contest. You can’t properly judge the contest if you don’t try EVERYTHING, right? Office treats are usually set up or offered all in one location so finding ways to avoid that spot is the best way to avoid overeating. Certainly, indulge if something looks especially good but you don’t need to grab a cookie every time you pass through the room. Plot a new course to the copy machine!
2. Parties and gatherings are part of the season. And usually, so is alcohol. Hubby’s company holiday party serves a drink called The Grinch and it’s amazing. If I’m not careful, I’ll drink 5 of them before I know it! (I’m not a big drinker. Really!!) Anyway, alcohol can add a lot of calories to your evening and you wouldn’t even realize it. Drinks are not filling like food. I try to match alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. It keeps me hydrated and keeps my calories in check. If you choose to drink be safe and of course, enjoy yourself, it’s a party!
3. While we’re talking about parties and gatherings…they always include food. Usually, very delicious food. I know I’ve said this before but, anyway…it’s a party. Enjoy it! I don’t “save up” calories for when I’m at the party. That never works. I also don’t eat a snack before the party like some people suggest. Frankly, that doesn’t work for me either. If it works for you, go for it. What I try to do is fill my plate with mostly veggies and then some protein and the last remaining bit is for carbs. And yes, I have dessert.
4. As far as my fitness routine goes, I don’t set any lofty goals during or right after the holidays. I focus on one day at a time and aim for maintenance. I have the good fortune to be able to work out during the day while the kids are at school so it isn’t too difficult to stick to my routine. But, I know that’s not the case for many people who’s evening routines might be interrupted by parties or houseguests or kids events. Just because you don’t have two hours for your regular workout doesn’t mean that you can’t do SOMETHING. Even 15 minutes will help relieve stress and is better than nothing.
5. Rest and relax! At the risk of beating a dead horse…it’s the holidays…enjoy yourself! Take some downtime and enjoy your friends and family. After all, that’s the point and the perk of the holiday season.

Happy exercising!

Across the Bay 10K

The Across the Bay 10K goes over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite races. I’ve run it several times and you can’t beat the view! And everyone from the volunteers to the police officers on the course to the participants themselves are so happy and excited to be there.

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Across the Bay 10K

As many of you know, 2016 has been a tough year for me mentally and physically and several months ago, it was unclear where my training and fitness level would be at this point. But there was no way I was missing this race…even if I had to walk the whole thing.

I wrote myself a training plan that I was confident would get me across the finish line as long as I could stick to it. I did…mostly!

Along with a new training plan, I decided on a new goal. Just finish. That’s it. No time goal. At all. Not even a vague “I hope to finish around an hour” kind of goal. I didn’t care if I ran, walked or crawled. Just finish.

This is not like me. I always have SOME sort of goal in mind. Vague or otherwise. I don’t always share my goals publicly but I always have them. Even the first time I ever ran a marathon and had absolutely no idea what to expect or what I was doing and had bronchitis 2 weeks before the race, I still had a time goal in my head.

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Me and my partners in crime!

But not this time. I decided to just let it go and do whatever I needed to do to finish the race. And it was great! First, I had rock-solid support from two very important people that would make sure I finished no matter what. Second, not worrying about a goal allowed me to run at a pace that felt good for me at my current fitness level. I didn’t try to push it. I wasn’t checking my GPS for pace or distance. I just ran. I sped up when I felt good and slowed down when I needed to. I was worried going into the race because of my health concerns but this turned out to be one of the best races I’ve run in a really long time.

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Just Finished

I certainly haven’t kicked the “goal” habit. Believe me, I’ve already got goals in mind for the next two races on my calendar but, I might have to “Just finish” more often! It’s a good feeling.

Happy Exercising!

P.S. Look for my Complete 10K Training Plan ebook on sale soon!

P.P.S. Comment and let me know what kind of goals you’ve set for yourself.