Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Miss Stairs

Earlier this month I went to Nashville, TN for my cousin's wedding. He and his bride opened up their beautiful home to a bunch of us. It was really a nice home. One that would you see in a Better Homes and Garden magazine. It was a 2-story home, so yep...there were stairs. YESSSSSS!!!!!!

Our previous home was a 2-story home and the stairs never bothered me. I always ran up the stairs. Not sure why. It was fun for some reason, and it secretly assisted in providing a tiny dose of activity during the day. We now live in a single story home. I've noticed that my cats are not as active since we no longer have stairs in the house. They are both big cats to start with, so they could use all of the activity they could.

I didn't really realize it until I stayed at my cousin's home, how much I missed having stairs. Again, I was running up the stairs just like I used to in my old house. I even did it purposely for exercise one day while playing with my son and his cousin. They were tossing socks (grenades) down the banister and I'd run down to get them. It was fun!

Fortunately the parking garage at work has 8 levels, providing 7 flights of stairs to enjoy. I use them at least once a day, on upwards to 3 times a day. I have walked up them, but that's...

 "so boring" my son would say. So you guessed it, I run up them. It provides an awesome workout. Do that twice and it provides an even better workout. Sometimes I'll even throw in some jumping jacks and lunges afterwards. Then a walk around the block once or twice provides a nice cool down.

Even at the mall or at a subway station, I would always take the stairs instead of the escalator. Those tiny changes, repeated over and over again, can help make a difference.

A set of stairs I'd love to go up are these at Graceland. But Elvis always kept the 2nd floor off limits, which is understandable.

So yep...I miss stairs. They can help you get your heart rate up, wake you up after sitting in a cube all day long, and assist in adding in more activity in your day. So the next time you dread the stairs, think of the tiny health benefit it gives you.

Do you include stair climbing in your workouts?

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Survived a Day of FUN Without Cheating

Family time is very important to me. I have a pretty big extended family. I have A LOT of cousins; 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, etc. Heck, it seems like everyone is an aunt, uncle or a cousin. But I love it.

My weekends are usually full of chores, meal prepping, and doing homework with my son. But I try to include some fun. 

    What's the purpose of life if you're not enjoying yourself?

If I do have plans to have some fun, all of chores are compressed into a single day. This past weekend, my fun day was on Sunday. Breakfast and then a birthday party. 

I know right? 
This can't turn out good.

Knowing that I might "cheat" on my diet, or consume a larger amount of calories than normal, I scheduled my early weekend run on Sunday. I hit the weights the night before, working my upper body (arms and shoulders). Got a good night's sleep and went for a 2 mile run at 6am.

By 8:40am I was parking in front of Chop Bar in Oakland. They don't open until 9am, so my son and I decided to go for a walk and explore. Doing that is much more appealing than just sitting in the car and waiting. Plus, I got to take a view awesome shots of the architecture.

Knowing that we were going to come here for breakfast, I checked out the restaurant on yelp. Yes, I use yelp often. I found a brunch menu in their photo section and had an idea of what I was going to order. In order to stay on track with your health and weight loss goals, this is a really good way to assist you.

I ended up ordering the pork belly with cheese and onion frittata. It sounded delish and it looked good too.

Instead of the fries I asked for fruit. I had about 3 blueberries. My son and grandma ate the rest of my fruit. The bread looked good, but I easily avoided it and offered it to someone else. And I had 1.5 cups of coffee with a splash of milk.

I was full, but not completely stuffed and I enjoyed my meal. Not to mention the awesome conversations we were all having.

Afterwards, we all walked over to the Jack London Square. To get across the train tracks, there was an elevator and stairs at each end.


Can you guess which route I took?
Yes, the stairs.

We enjoyed the view and each others' company before parting, and then walked back to our vehicles. That get together was done and I don't feel guilty about my meal choice, and happy that I got to include even more physical activity in my day.

Now it was time for the birthday party...

This is where most people fail.
I feel like I started my day off on the right foot, so I continued to stay positive that I would continue to make healthy decisions for the remainder of the day. It was a child's birthday party at a park. They BBQ'd which was a total score for me.

I had a garlic sausage with some mustard, 2 bowls of chili, a water and a small cup of coffee with half and half. I really didn't sit much, I stood the whole time while conversing with relatives and other guests.

My son got to play with his cousin, so they were running around like crazy, which is awesome. Instead of a birthday cake, my cousin made some appetizing cupcakes.
Aren't they cute?


I was quite satisfied with all I had just consumed that I really didn't feel a need to cheat with a cupcake. And surprisingly, my son didn't want one either. He opted for watermelon, and then some marshmallows. I am pretty strict with his diet, and he was burning a crazy amount of calories by running around....I let him have the sugar.

So that was my family fun filled day of eating out.
Just goes to show you that even though you go out, you can still plan it in a way where you don't drift from your diet. If you think about it, there are things you can do to help you stay on track.

How are you when it comes to family gatherings?
Do you find it difficult to stay on track?
What tips or tricks do you use?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: Paleo Fitness by Darryl Edwards

I enjoy reading. I often read articles regarding fitness and healthy recipes from pages I follow on Facebook. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to read books, which really needs to change. But thanks to Darryl Edwards, the Fitness Explorer, I read a book! His book, Paleo Fitness.

I’ve been following Darryl‘s posts and blog for a while now. I love his approach to nutrition and fitness. Basically…keep it simple

Eat REAL food and PLAY outside. 

He takes a lot of the info from his blog, along with other research on Paleo and functional fitness, and combines all that together in his book.

He reminds us of what humans used to eat and how physical we used to be. And that we really haven’t evolved as much as we thought we did, which is a good thing. He stresses how we should return to the way it used to be because that is what is good for our bodies, and it is also what our bodies crave. We were designed to eat real food and move a lot, instead of eating prepackaged convenience “foods” and sitting most of the day.

His book provides info on the history of our ancestors, and studies performed by experts, to help show the importance of eating real food and moving as much as possible. By embracing this, we can help rid ourselves of obesity and many other ailments. We really do become what we eat.

Also in his book, he provides a meal plan, several recipes, and demonstrates a range of functional body weight exercises. YES! You can do all of this at home, or at the park. No, you don’t need a gym membership. That is the beauty of these movements. They are simple, yet very effective.

This book is definitely a good read. It typically takes me a while to read a book from cover to cover, but since this book contained something I am very interested in, I was able to finish it in no time.

Have you read the book?
What are your thoughts on it?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Miss Running in my Toe Shoes

As soon as I get home from work, I kick the shoes off and I put on my flip flops or just walk around barefoot. That right there must send some sort of signal to my brain, that it’s time to relax a bit. Sometimes I’ll change completely and throw on some shorts and a tank top.

During the weekend, I typically wear my flip flops. I’m not one to care about how I dress. Just ask anyone that knows me. I have a decent sized backyard. A couple of days ago I ran from one point in the backyard to the house. As I ran that short distance, it reminded me how much I miss minimalist/barefoot running. It felt good. It felt natural.

When I decided to enlist, I knew I had to give up this form of running and learn how to run again. I had to become….omg I don’t even want to say it….I had to become…a shod runner. (bows head in sadness)

It was quite a challenge. I really had to take it slow because I would trip over myself. I paid some bucks and went to a running store to purchase flat running shoes. Meaning, shoes that do not have any arch support. I know. I know. Some of you are probably cringing right now….but if you couldn’t tell, this is still a barefoot/minimalist running blog.

While at reception, they MADE us buy new shoes. We stepped on a light box and the SGT would tell us what type of shoe we needed to purchase. I knew right then and there that I was just gonna blow a hundred bucks out of my advanced pay. I put the shoes on and they hurt SO bad. I tried to break them in, but my feet would just cramp. I felt so bad for my poor footsies. They know what they like to run in.

Luckily when we finally reached actual basic, my drill sergeants let us use our own running shoes. That made the world of difference. In a place where most people referred to as Hell, I felt like I was in Heaven. I was so thankful to be able to wear my already broken in running shoes that I’ve been training in for 2 months prior.

So yep, I do. I do miss running barefoot and in minimalist shoes (Vibrams and sandals). I have yet to purchase a pair of huarachas. I’ve ran on my treadmill barefoot, but noticed that my feet got tore up pretty easily because it’s been so long since I’ve ran barefoot. So I sometimes run in socks. But I think it would be good to get out on a trail and bring the Vibrams out of hiding. When living in the suburbs I could easily run barefoot, but not here in the country. Way too many rocks and gravel….OUCH!
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