Countdown to Jamaica…

24 01 2012

There are exactly 3 weeks until my trip to Jamaica, which means I have exactly 3 weeks to make some progress on my weight loss goals!

Day 1

I was in too much of a rush today to take any food pics, but I’m probably going to repeat my meals for the rest of the week so stay tuned. Here’s the run down:
Breakfast: egg whites (scrambled) on naan bread (half)
Snack: Quaker Chewy chocolate chip granola bar
Lunch: Salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and tempeh (Turtle Island Foods Sesame Garlic tempeh strips–my new fave protein source. Yummy!) with an Asian inspired homemade dressing (soy sauce, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, ginger, shallots, & Vega EFA oil).
Snack: Jell-o Chocolate Indulgence Mousse Temptations
Dinner: Naan Pizza with onions and mushrooms
Dessert: Toffee chip cookies (oops!)

Overall, not too bad a day food-wise. 🙂 I made up for those cookies by working out hard doing this crazy strength training class.

I’ve been wanting to do a review of this really cool women’s only fitness studio I started going to last year called Flirty Girl Fitness, so here’s a quick one. Flirty Girl is well known for being one of the pioneers of the pole dancing exercise classes in Toronto (they also have studios in Chicago), but in addition to the pole dancing classes, they offer a variety of dance, cardio, and strength training classes.

These classes are INTENSE!! And amazing! Most of them are total body circuit training-like workouts. They usually go non-stop for 60 minutes–NO breaks! The instructors are all super fit and very motivating, they really push you so you get a fantastic workout that leaves your muscles feeling like jelly and sore for the next few days. The best kind! 🙂

I haven’t been able to get to the gym in a couple of months because it’s a bit of trek for me (and I’ve been so lazy LOL), but luckily the company came up with an ingenious idea. Flirty Girl films some of their classes and streams them live online at FlirtyGirlFitness LIVE. For $15/month, you can watch and participate in an unlimited number of classes. It’s pretty awesome to not have to travel to the gym and just pull up a class on my laptop, but, of course, that means I have to motivate myself to actually do it haha! 🙂

There are, of course, some drawbacks. Because the classes are streamed live, there are some issues with the sound and sometimes with videos loading properly. Sometimes classes get cut off at the end (I think that usually happens when the studio class is running behind getting started). Also, some of the studio classes use a variety of equipment like weights, medicine balls, foam rollers, resistance bands, stability balls, and Bender balls. If you don’t have the equipment at home, it’s hard to get the full benefits of the workout. However, some instructors do offer suggestions for alternate ways to do the exercises.

Overall, as much as I hate the class while doing it, I love how I feel afterward! I highly recommend both the studio and online classes. They’ve been worth every penny 🙂

Back to today’s workout…I did a 60 min Body Blast class that was killer! My arms and legs are jelly right now…and I love it! I’d say I worked off those cookies 😉

Let’s hope tomorrow goes as smoothly. If I can walk that is.


Exercisangles – My 1st 5k Run!

21 06 2011

Finally, after a looong looong time of wanting to, I actually ran my first official 5k race!!

Finisher's medal - sa-weet!

I decided to sign up for the Toronto Women’s Run on a whim a month before the race date and was lucky to nab one of the few remaining spots. My friend tried to sign up a few days later to join me, but the race was completely sold out!

After this last school year where I’ve been very sedentary and haven’t made time for regular exercise, I was hoping signing up for a race would be the kick in the butt I needed to get back into a working out groove. Unfortunately, it was the last month of teacher’s college and I just couldn’t find the energy to train seriously.

I was aiming to finish in 35 minutes or less, which might have been doable if I’d trained 3 times a week for the whole month, but I only managed 2 or 3 runs. 😦

One of those runs was 2 days before the race. I pushed myself to finish in 35 mins and I actually managed it 🙂 Unfortunately, I was sooo sore and stiff the next day.

Not only were my muscles sore, but the weather forecast called for rain on race day. Add to that first race anxiety and a sleepless night–well I was definitely thinking about bailing.

I woke up on race day at 6am to a rising sun. The ground was wet, but there was no rain in sight. I was exhausted and seriously considered just going back to bed, but then I thought, “I’ve already woken up. It’s just a 5k!!! I can do this!”

So, I got up and went there and ran it!!
(Well ran and walked… 🙂 )

There was such a great vibe there! I loved that it was a women’s only run. There was just a lot of positive energy and even though they had chip timing, it just felt like a fun run. Everyone seemed really supportive, clapping and cheering on the half-marathon runners and faster 5k racers. The volunteers were so helpful and also very cheerful which made the run all the more bearable 🙂

I ended up with a time of 40:02.  I can’t say I’m particularly happy about that, but I see it as a starting point from which I can improve my time. And now that I’ve gotten over my first-time racer anxiety, I’m very excited to sign up for more races this summer!

I fully intend to sign up for the next race in the Toronto Women’s Run series. They have a 10k/5k coming up in August. If I actually start training, I might just attempt a 10k this time around. Also, one of the draws of the T.O. Women’s run is they have firefighters volunteering at the water station. Pictures of past races showed hot, shirtless firemen!! But they weren’t there this time around so I’m definitely keeping an eye out in August 😉

I have to say, participating in the race really inspired me to continue to train and improve my running. It gave me that kick in the ass I needed! 🙂

Next post: a recap of my whirlwind Euro trip to London and Amsterdam!

Exercisangles – 10ks and the achy breakys

21 04 2010

I haven’t been running consistently as I mentioned in a previous post, and in an attempt to achieve my April goal of doing 12 runs, I decided to do a long (for me) 10 km distance Sunday. It was a gorgeous warm, sunny day, and I’m always so inspired to get out there when I see other people running. As I was driving to and from the grocery store, it was almost like a parade of runners, every few kilometers, there was another lone runner or a pair of joggers, etc. So, when I got home, I changed and laced up and headed out before I could change my mind.

For my 5k runs, I’ve mapped out a route in my neighbourhood, but I’ve also discovered that the distance from my house to my sister’s condo is 5k as well. I haven’t seen my sister in awhile, so I headed in her direction. I figured I would stop by for a water break before turning around and going back home.

Trying 10 ks:

I was very surprised at how much my endurance had decreased after a full week off (from pretty much all exercise!). I also probably wasn’t fueled properly with food and water, which might explain why I had a hard time pushing myself. I think during that first 5km stretch, I was able to make myself run only 0.5 km straight before I switched to walking.

It took me awhile, about 40 minutes to get there and I ended up spending an hour there, hydrating and chatting. Finally, since it was getting late, I left and started making my way back home. Maybe because I was hydrated, but I managed to push myself further on the way back home. I did 2 hills and ran 2 1km intervals straight. Yay! 🙂

As for the achy breakys…

Those hills killed me the next day! I was hungry and tired when I came home, so I lazily stretched for only about 10 mins. I paid for it the next day. My legs felt like lead and my glutes…damn those hills!

I complain, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this kind of muscle soreness and it actually feels pretty damned good! Like a hard earned badge of honour.  At least this kind of sore. I’m pleasantly achy and able to function normally rather than feeling like I’m-an-old-lady-my-bones-are-gonna-achy-breaky-with-every-step-I-takey. I’d probably be sounding off about never running again if I had the real achy breakys (but don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart…;)). Instead, I’m going to try going out again today. Hopefully my muscles cooperate 🙂

What are your strategies for managing the achy breakys?

Exercisangles – 100 push ups challenge

29 03 2010

Supposedly it’s spring. Haven’t really felt it yet, but maybe this week. My workouts have slowed down a bit recently because there are about 11 more days of school left!!!!!

Ahhh! Of course, that means it’s a stressful time of year with all my major projects and papers due pretty much at the same time. Made worse by the fact that they are all group efforts. Luckily, the knowledge that I am soooo close to finally finishing my undergrad is buoying me through it. I’m still stressed as hell, but I’m getting by. (I’ve been doing some research on cortisol and weight gain. Look out for a post on that issue soon.)

Anyways, school stress = no gym visits. So I’ve been trying to supplement my swims and runs with strength workouts at home. In the last 2 weeks that has mean participating in some one week challenges. At this new blog I’ve been following (Half of Jess), Jess comes up with these weekly challenges for herself (and anyone else who wants to join in, like me). Two weeks ago it was a week of squats, 5 sets of 25. Last week it was planks, 3 sets of 1 min regular and side planks. Jess is doing them for 6 out of 7 days, but I only managed to do 5 out of 7 days.

What I loved about these challenges was that they were simple moves that didn’t take up too much of my time, but they were effective. I could only do 5 days because I was SORE. And I haven’t been treating my body right nutritionally or with sleep, so I didn’t want to push it. Last thing I need right now is to get sick!

Well, Jess is having another challenge and I’ll probably participate in it too, but I’ve been seeing talk of this 100 push ups training program (saw it on Shedding It and Your Nutritionista) and thought I’d give it a try. I would love to have toned arms and shoulders, not to mention bragging rights for being able to do 100 push ups! It requires a 3 times a week commitment of 5 sets of push ups (of varying numbers). There’s even a handy website that can be used for logging the workouts.

Let me know if you join the challenge, too. I’d love a buddy!

Because the blog’s been lacking in food pics lately, I’ll leave you with this colourful one of a recent lunch feast courtesy of the Whole Foods salad bar:


Exercisangles – The first cut is the deepest

8 03 2010

Baby I know…

There’s a concept floating around the blog world right now about how a little bit can go a long way. In particular, I was reading a recent post on Shedding It & Getting It where Rachel talked about how “just a bit can get you fit.” I totally believe in that concept, because I experience it on a regular basis. If you’ve read my blog you’ll know that Consistency and I haven’t become friends yet, but I do go through cycles of routine behaviour…until I fall off the wagon.

After about 2 months of not running, I finally got out there the other night and the runner’s high I got really motivated me to get out there again soon. I went out on Thursday night on a whim. I was feeling restless and wanted to clear my head. I hear about runners who say running helps them clear their heads and gives them time to think. Well, I’m not at that point yet. All I can think about is not giving in to my gasping breath and pounding heart and pushing myself to run one more minute before taking a walking break. But I like the idea of being a zen runner. (I do my clear headed thinking in the pool.) In any case, I managed to get myself out the door, which is usually 3/4 of the battle for me.

Once out there, I struggled through a run/walk workout (the cold night air was quite a shock to my system) and when I got home and gmapped my route, I found I’d done 5k! It took me 40 mins to do it, not the best time, but I figure I’ve got over 2 months before the Toronto Women’s Run 5K race May 30 to improve it.

The main thing was that the route I chose was doable and I never would have guessed it was 5k. Struggling through that first jog was exactly what I needed to spur me on. This week I’m planning on following the 8 week training plan from the race website. For the first time, I feel like I can actually do it.

And to use the analogy of the first cut being the deepest, getting through the challenge of that first run motivated me to go to the gym for the first time since December. I had actually planned to use the pool since I was going to be missing my usual swim, but the school gym’s pool was closed when I got there, so I decided to do a strength workout instead. I haven’t done one of those since I hurt my back, but it’s feeling almost normal so I went for it.

I ended up doing a total body workout:
-Squats with a weighted bar on a bosu (3 sets of 12-15)
-Lunges with biceps curls (1 set of 20 on each leg with 10 lb. weights)
-Ab curls on a stability ball (1 set of 25)
-Ab pull-up and push up on stability ball (2 sets of 15)
-Glute exercises – kick back, fire hydrant, wrap around tree (20 of each on each leg)
-Leg lifts on a stability ball for outer thigh (60 on each leg)
-Biceps curls (3 sets of 6 with 10 lbs.)
-Chest press (2 sets of 12 with 10 lbs.)
-12 lb. medicine ball biceps curl, shoulder press, triceps extension (2 sets of 20)
-20 push ups (10 elbows wide for chest, 10 elbows back for triceps)
-Stability ball inner thigh squeeze with triceps push back (2 sets of 10 with 10 lbs.)
-Standing dumbbell row (12 wide elbows, 12 elbows close to body)

I think those were all the exercises I did. I was only planning on doing 30 mins, but once I started, I ended up doing a full hour and got a lot done. It’s been so long since I’ve done weights, I’ve forgotten that sore muscle feeling. Nowadays, I only experience slight soreness, but after that workout, I’m feeling the pain. Particularly in my arms and chest. It really hurts to straighten my arms!!

So, although that first cut is the deepest, I’m glad I got it over with, because I know the more I go the less pain I’ll feel. And the sense of accomplishment is sooo worth it! I can’t wait to go back 🙂