Monthly Archives: August 2014

skinnystrong

 

2012-2014ss3

 

Another round of #TransformationTuesday made me curious to go back and compare some of my own pictures. The photo on the left is from the summer of 2012 when I ventured down to Hawaii. I really like this picture of me! That is one of my favorite shirts, and I was having a great hair day! 🙂 The picture on the right is from the summer of 2014, and I love this picture, too!

The difference between the two?

I started lifting weights and completely overhauled my diet. I quit buying pre-packaged frozen lunches. I went mostly vegetarian, and I discovered that protein powder after you workout actually does work in building muscle. The difference in the 2 pictures is a whole 5lbs, but the definition is TREMENDOUSLY DIFFERENT! I have always been skinny, but I’ve never been strong.

skinnystrong looks and feels much different than skinny.

Piyo-ish: Week 2 – The Week of Terrible Workouts…

Last week was a hot, busy mess as we teachers got ready for Monday’s start back to school. Strangely enough, now that it has started, it’s somehow almost calmer with the kids here, probably because I know and understand that routine. The week was filled with meetings, open house, and genuine manual labor, all of which left me uninterested in the exercise grind on more than one day. :/

MONDAY – SWEAT

I do really enjoy Sweat. This was my 3rd time to do it, and I was able to complete it without all of the pauses I’ve employed previously. That by no means translates to it was easier or I dripped less; it simply means I didn’t feel like dying. 🙂

TUESDAY – DECELERATOR

As I mentioned in Piyo Week 1, I am not sold on either of the Define workouts. I decided to replace them with equivalent routines from P90X3, and I think I’m on the right path in doing so. Decelerator isn’t specifically a lower body workout, which was what I should have been covering in Define Lower, but it was a good full body routine that left me feeling good (aside from my right ankle that pops all the frickin time…).

WEDNESDAY – Open house… no workout.

THURSDAY – I chose to go to the mall and then drink a margarita instead of working out. 🙂

FRIDAY – CORE

I ❤ Core. 🙂 What a superb workout! I’ll admit, not even Ab Ripper X gets me sore anymore. Core hit areas of my core than haven’t been attacked since I can remember. I did modify down to my forearms on many of the plank-centric moves, but by the end of the routine my abs and back were tired, and by Saturday afternoon they were sore. As I’ve said on any number of occasions, I do enjoy being sore as it reminds me I a) did something worthwhile and b) possess muscles.

Let me pause for a moment to talk about core muscles, because I am superbly disappointed in my lack of lower abs. Having worked my butt off for as long as I have, I’m frustrated that my lower abs are generally unseen. Yes, I have read all the articles and studies that say you typically have to have single-digit body fat percentages to see your lower abs, but I’ve also been experimenting with something. This works best in the shower… Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a fitness blog!

When I flex my abs my upper and middle abs instantly compress, and I can see obvious muscle definition. What I don’t see is much movement in my lower abs. Instead, when I flex my slightly rounded lower abdomen for the most part stays put. This is true even before I have food in my system. So I’ve been experiment with what I have to do (i.e. what I have to think about, squeeze, focus on) to engage the muscles between my hip bones, and I have to say that it takes a lot of effort on my part. Being a band director that teaches kids how to use strange muscles, what that tells me is that I’m not utilizing them enough to know how to use or isolate them on command. I have figured out how to flatten them, but it takes thought to access those muscles.

On the chance that I will come off deranged, self-absorbed, and perhaps giving too much information, I’ve made a point to work on flexing those muscles 30 times every time I take a shower assuming that eventually controlling my lower abs will become easier and hopefully translate to more a more effective ab workout when I’m actually capable to engaging the correct muscles.

SATURDAY – INCINERATOR

Incinerator was wonderful! 🙂 🙂 🙂 A burnout routine, it systematically wears out each of your upper body muscle groups one by one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am 100% positive it was more effective that Define Upper. I commented to my dude how I’ve realized how much I love lifting weights and doing body-weight exercises. It almost pains me to admit that I might truly like it far more than yoga.

SUNDAY – NOTHING

3 days off… That’s okay. Sometimes your life requires something else, and as long as I’m being consistent the rest of the time, an off week isn’t the end of the world! 🙂 I did sit in a pool and sip sangria though! That’s got to count for something, if for nothing else but my sanity!

 

Healthy Chicken Curry Masala

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  • Organic, air chilled, chicken with noses
  • Garlic clove, minced
  • Shallot, minced
  • 1-2 spoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp corn starch
  • Chicken curry masala seasoning
  • Light beer
  • Olive oil
  • 1 packet stevia

In salted and masala seasoned water, boil one chicken breast. Cube for quicker cooking. Shred and set aside.

In a skillet, saute garlic and shallot in olive oil until golden. Add 1/2 bottle of light beer (Shiner Light Blonde) to deglaze. Add flour, corn starch, salt, pepper, and masala sauce to taste. Stir. Mix in shredded chicken and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Add 1/2 packet of stevia at the end. (Stevia gives it the hint of sweetness found in many curries without the coconut milk.)

Serve over quinoa.

Fried Egg English Muffin – Recipe

No picture… It was too delicious, and it was gone before I thought to grab my camera.

  • 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin
  • Fat Free Refried Black Beans (with Roasted Red Jalapeno Peppers)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 pastured egg, fried until the yolk is solid
  • a smidge of Weight Watchers Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
  • Salsa

On a toasted English muffin, spread warmed refried beans. Tops with the fried egg, sprinkles of cheese, and plenty of salsa (my new favorite is Native Texan Restaurant Style Medium).

So darn delicious!

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  • PiYo- the 1st of an 8 Week Adventure!

    Last week I received my new toy: Chalene Johnson’s new workout series PiYo! Piyo is as it sounds, a hybrid between Pilates and Yoga. After spending 90 days of hardcore lifting and sweating with Tony in P90X3 and 2 months of a random mixture of workouts, I was ready to get back to my original love of yoga. Piyo has all ready received all sorts of acclaim so this was an obvious purchase for me.

    PiYo touts that with no weights or equipment, your body will gain strength, flexibility, and lean muscle. The 8 week program takes you through a combination of 8 workouts: Define Lower Body, Define Upper Body, Sweat, Core, Buns, Strength Intervals, Drench, and Sculpt. Because I ordered the program through teambeachbody.com (versus beachbody.com) I was able to get a bonus disk called Hardcore on the Floor, which is an optional swap for Core on some of the days. There is also an extra HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) thrown in there.

    Much like the other Beachbody programs, PiYo comes with a nutrition guide/eating plan to help you reach your goals. I’m trying to follow the eating plan better this go round… I may have indulged a bit on my Canadian vacation, and I’m still getting rid of the some of that week of semi-gluttony. 🙂

    MONDAY – DEFINE LOWER (25 minutes)

    I was soooo very excited to come home to my yoga mat Monday afternoon! The first day of PiYo you are actually scheduled to follow a video called Align: The Fundamentals. However, I was too pumped about receiving the DVDS the previous Friday and completed that video right then. 🙂 Align is an interesting video and one I wish some of the other BB programs would incorporate into their routines. Align basically teaches you the moves before you are expected to do them, also addressing form and which muscle groups upon which you should be focusing. Even having done yoga for years, I actually learned a couple of things, or rather found new ways of approaching certain poses. You only do Align once, so come Monday I jumped straight into Define Lower.

    Hmm… well, I knew going into PiYo that I’m in pretty darn good shape. I’m more flexible than most, and perhaps these two points were working against this particular workout. Admittedly, I was bummed when it was done. While using lots of Warrior poses, tons of squatting, and lunges galore, I ended unsatisfied. IT WAS A GREAT WORKOUT, especially if you are just getting back into shape, but having the best leg muscles and flexibility of my life, Define Lower wasn’t close to enough intensity… at least when being compared to P90X3.

    Chalene does a great job of teaching you the routine in an add-a-move format. You do one move for a while and then add a move to create a sequence. It’s all very fluid, using yoga (and yoga-ish) poses while keeping the pulsing momentum of pilates. I can see folks potentially being frustrated by not quite knowing what’s going on if they don’t have a background in yoga, but for those people I would simply suggest watching the workout first.

    TUESDAY – DEFINE UPPER (35 minutes)

    This is when I got bummed… According to the workout guide, Define Upper is supposed to be a 35 minute workout.

    Not. Even. Close.

    Define Upper literally starts where Define Lower left off. It was obviously filmed in one big session, and in editing they divided it into 2 workouts. There is no warm up, nothing preparing you for an arm workout. It just… starts. Super strange and very amateur feeling. That being said, the workout is closer to 18 or 20 minutes. The only way it would be 35 minutes is if you did Define Lower AND Upper in combination, which according to the Facebook PiYo for Women group is what a lot of people do.

    Lame.

    Upper has some cool moves including PiYo push ups and crunch push ups, which I enjoy tremendously, but it just doesn’t push you like I’m used to after the past 5 months. Honestly, I ended the workout concerned that I was going to lose the muscle I worked so hard to build in my arms with such a pansy workout (comparatively). I can totally see lots of people being sore after this workout who are just starting out, but for anyone who already has a healthy muscle build they just aren’t going to feel the muscle fatigue needed to keep that up. It also seemed like about half of the minuscule amount of time was actually a core workout versus upper body.

    All of that said, I was humbled by Define Lower. I have spoken to my incredibly bad wrists before, but PiYo (and yoga in general) is killing them. I have battled extreme tendonitis in both wrists for over a decade – the result of playing flute and typing – but the pressure on my hands is truly reaching a new level of pain. Tuesday evening I ordered a pair of WAGS Gloves, which I will blog about separately as I see how they work out.

    WEDNESDAY – SWEAT

    And OOOOOH did I sweat!

    7 minutes into Sweat, the first drip fell from my nose. I was soaked, something that isn’t a regular occurrence for me. This redeemed PiYo in my eyes. After two consecutive days of “eh”, Sweat kicked my butt, and that was welcome.

    This is flow cardio; you add to each sequence one move at a time until you have built a 4-5 move routine that doesn’t slow down, doesn’t give much time for breath, and left my wrists ACHING. I had to adjust many of the moves to, including the MANY tricep (AKA military) push ups, use my fists instead of the palms of my hands. An overabundance of low lunge moves left my hip flexors mighty sore the next day, and I am all about sore. 🙂

    Immediately realizing how wonderful Sweat was, I made a decision: the two Define workouts simply won’t fly. Week one is supposed to have 2 rounds of Defines, and the wondrous agony of Sweat confirmed for me I needed something more hardcore for at least one of those rounds. Therefore, instead of a second round of Define Lower and Upper, I would replace them with Eccentric Lower and an upper body workout from P90X3. And so my PiYo/X3 Hybrid was born.

    The heavens opened, the angels sang, and my shirt stank.

    🙂

    THURSDAY – NADA

    Because I did Align the Friday before, I actually was ahead a workout for the week. An energy zapping day at work called for sushi instead.

    FRIDAY – NADA

    I say I did nothing. I bounced around at a band party like an idiot the first half of the day and then was attacked by a nap Friday afternoon. I’m sure I burned plenty of calories. Having completed 2 weeks of summer band and a successful week of clean eating, a Chuy’s Grandma’s Rockin’ Rita was a necessity.

    The PiYo schedule had me resting on Friday, so I figured this was an acceptable swap.

    SATURDAY – ECCENTRIC LOWER

    A return to P90X3 was welcome. 🙂 I love that silly program! I love the dumb jokes! I love that I know what I’m doing. 🙂 You can see my write-up of Eccentric Lower here. I woke up today with sore hamstrings, sore quads, and a butt that requires a ton of pigeon today.

    SUNDAY – DEFINE UPPER + 1/4 of THE CHALLENGE

    Today I got to try out my new fancy gloves that arrived yesterday! My next write up will be on the gloves. I added extra reps to the PiYo arm moves, especially the crunch push ups. Even with the gloves, my wrists are sill inflamed enough that I need the power stands for my push ups. I kept them close to my yoga mat the whole time for quick use. The added reps made Define Upper closer to what I have come to expect from workout.

    Still having some energy in there, I did 2 sets of regular pull ups and regular push ups followed by 2 sets of chin ups and military push ups. An added bonus of some dolphin pose and I was done.

    KNOWING ALL OF THAT…

    I was impressed with the cardio element but disappointed with the toning as it didn’t leave me with a tried and true burn or fatigue. I did, however, really like how much it focused on my hip flexors which are ridiculously tight. I’m excited to see what Week 2 brings as it mixes in 2 days of Core in place of the 2nd round of Define. Hopefully the gloves will help me some regained freedom on my hands again, but more time is needed before we see those results.

    On to Week 2!

    Clean Eating Challenge

    Well, this might suck.

    I haven’t posted a whole lot this summer as my schedule has been nothing short of irregular. I don’t mind that. During the school year, everything is pretty set in stone day after day. The randomness of summer is welcome. For the most part I’ve done a good job of keeping the ball rolling. I’ve worked out most days, though not following any sort of program, and I haven’t eaten TERRIBLY… I haven’t eaten amazingly either, but honestly I need some cheat time here and there keep me willing to eat exceptionally healthy the rest of the time. Ice cream and nachos are necessary from time to time. 🙂

    On Thursday I came home to find a package on my doorstep: PiYo!!! Last week I ordered PiYo, a new Beachbody program that is a mix of pilates and yoga. This program might as well have been made specifically for me. 🙂 I am doing a few of the workouts this weekend just as a sampling, but I start the program for real on Monday. I anticipate a new blog series coming on…

    PiYo comes with a basic nutrition guide much like P90X3, but as I’m about to jump back into the school routine, I figure now might be a good time to start something new.

    THE CHALLENGE: food prep for the upcoming week eating (as) clean (as possible), mostly whole, doing my best to remove processed, prepackaged food

    Now, I do a lot of this anyhow, but I’m also a convenience and stress/boredom eater. My goal is to keep the right stuff available in the right servings so as to end the habit of grabbing the wrong thing.

    Enter today’s HEB trip:

    heb receipt

    First of all, let’s look at the bottom line. $81.65. That might sound like a lot for one person. $36.99 + $2.49 of that is Jay Robb Protein Powder. This will last me quite a while and is vital for someone who doesn’t eat meat regularly. I opted for whey protein this time because I’m a cheapskate and it $2 cheaper, but more frequently I buy the egg white protein. So let’s subtract that leaving the total at $42.17. That’s better.

    Then let’s look a little closer…$4.85 for bulk chestnuts????? Let me call bullshit on that! The woman at HEB scanned my kale tag that I printed (98¢ for a bunch), but the barcode tag wouldn’t read it so she punched it in manually… $4.85 for bulk chestnuts??? Gosh darn it! That is the last time I ever assume anyone knows how to do their job. She managed to catch that she had charged me double for garlic and corrected that, but she didn’t notice that the enormous, overflowing bag of kale didn’t feel like chestnuts nor should it ring up for almost $5!!! Whatever. I’m a wildly rich teacher.

    Subtract the chestnut…. *sigh*…. and we come to $37.32 a TON of food. Some of it is organic, some of it is not. All of it is ridiculously nutrient rich and low calorie. There’s enough fiber in there to keep me polyp free and in the bathroom plenty. 🙂 But more importantly, all of that is about to go into tiny tupperware containers that can measure appropriate portions and grabbed with no effort or mixed with another container more a recipe.

    We’ll start seeing on Monday how the PiYo goes, and my intestines will let me know about the new food challenge very soon. 🙂