Memorial Day Recap & Importance Of Routine.

I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and fun Memorial holiday. Did anyone else enjoy some poolside time this weekend? I soaked up a little bit of sun and tried to use this holiday weekend to rest up and relax, though it certainly was busy.

One of my best friends from college stayed with me this past weekend. It’s always refreshing to reminisce on college memories, to catch up on current life happenings and to see where life is taking us both. So much happens in such a short time.

I also took an unplanned trip to Nashville to visit with my boyfriend and his family for the weekend. Have I mentioned lately that I am one lucky girl to have him in my life? I need to go to the grocery store because there is absolutely nothing in my fridge right now. I’ll be relying heavily on my stocked pantry and freezer today and tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the grocery until then. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be eating for breakfast…

While Memorial Weekend was wonderful, it’s time for me to get back on my routine. I believe consistency is one of the biggest keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy three-day, holiday weekends. Because my travel this past weekend was unplanned, I learned quickly that unplanned travel offers a major challenge in hard maintaining my specific and tailored diet. I am most successful and feel better about my health focus when I take time to plan and prepare for travel. I can balance my meals the week leading up to the travel, I can prepare healthy snacks, and I  can pack appropriate workout attire. I did try to stick to my safe foods list while I’m on the road.

While I wish I were still in Tennessee, I do look forward to getting back on my routine. I plan to resume my regular weekly workout schedule today. That means I’ll be focusing on a total body workout with some ab work, too.

Before I scrounge up something for breakfast, I wanted to let you know that I hope to announce the winner of the 7-Quart Oval Stainless Steel Slow Cooker, brought to you by SlimKicker on tomorrow’s post. SlimKicker is currently reviewing the entries, and I’m just waiting on their top choice. Stay tuned for the winner and also, stay tuned for some GREAT blog news coming VERY soon. I can’t wait to share these things with you!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Did you do anything fun?
Do you function better on a routine or do you prefer spontaneity? 

Advertisements

Exercise Highlight: Squats.

Do you have a favorite exercise move? I have a favorite I like to incorporate in almost every strength training session.  It’s the Goblet Squat. As Tony Horton, the man of P90X, says in his intro of the Ab Ripper X video, “I hate it, but I love it.” It’s so true.

Goblet Squat

Squats and lunges are probably the main two reasons I never used to exercise. I hated these two moves, even in their simplest of modifications. I avoided squats at all costs. But when I decided to get health focused for life, I was all in, pushing myself to exercise in a way that would actually produce results. Nothing halfway. Early in my fitness journey, I started with a Total Body Transformation plan. I thought I’d stick with this plan for one month…and I’ve stayed with it now for almost a year! Even though I didn’t immediately love squats, I pushed through and I saw almost-immediate results.

Squats make me feel stronger. By incorporating dumbbells, they transform my entire body, not just my legs, but arms and core included. By including squats in my strength toning exercises, I’ve noticed muscle toning and quads, hamstrings, and “rear-end”. A personal trainer at the gym told me that squats, when done in correct form, use the most muscle groups out of all the other exercise moves out there.

I believe it. I can see and feel the benefits in my own body.

You all know I travel often. I’ve blogged about that several times before. The squat is something you don’t have to pack. I’ve found myself incorporating  squats in all forms while brushing my teeth, meal planning and cooking, while cleaning my place, watching T.V. and going about day-to-day activities.

So, enlighten me. What’s YOUR favorite exercise move?

REMINDER: Don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. Monday is the last day for entries!

7-Quart Oval Slow Cooker

Wishing you the best. katie

Tool Tip | Nutrition Guides & Calculators.

I collect nutrition guides like some people collect baseball cards. And I won’t trade them either. Allow me to explain…

I almost always pack my lunch for the work week. I also eat 99% of my meals at home. I found that this helps me greatly control my nutrition and calorie intake. If I’m in control of each and every ingredient that goes into my meal, I can control every single calorie or nutrient my body takes in. And who doesn’t like having control?

I am a homebody. I prefer eating my meals at home. Perhaps this stems from being a girl on a tight budget, but I often wonder why pay for something when you can make the same thing for a lot less. It’s a VERY rare occasion that I do go out for food. There have been the occasional “let’s finish this meeting over lunch at such and such a restaurant” while at work. I’ve learned to be prepared for those situations.

Subway Nutrition Guide

I can still maintain my diet, make healthy choices, and enjoy my food without the guilt when meals out actually do happen. I have researched several common restaurant chains near my work where casual lunch meetings may happen. I’ve scoured their Nutrition Guides (I keep these in my car, in my desk drawer, and a few in my “junk drawer” at home). I’ve been able to generate a list of safe food options at places like Subway and Panera Bread for example.

I’ve also used restaurant’s online Nutrition Calculators and print off my meal once I’ve calculated it. (Subway’s calculator here. Panera’s calculator is here.) IF you’re like me and record everything you eat along with the calorie and nutrition information, these are make meal planning and staying on a healthy diet a breeze.

An example of a nutrition calculator I used to build & customize my own meal at Panera. I printed this off to use for future reference.

I’ve come to the point where I know my “safe foods” list by heart. But if I’m at an unfamiliar restaurant, I ask for a copy of their nutrition guide so I can take home and find an option for next time. I don’t ever want to get too picky when I’m dining with friends. If no nutrition guide is available, I’ll generally pick a house salad, ask for a lot of tomatoes, no dressing (or have it on the side) and ask for a hard-boiled egg.

Two pieces of advice for staying health focused while eating out: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about nutrition and always use the restaurants’ nutrition resources.

REMINDER: don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. There’s only a few more days left to enter to win!

7-Quart Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
How do you stay on track when you eat your meals out?

Health & Fitness Grade = A.

Yesterday was a surprisingly health-focused day, and, with the exception of my workout and Zumba, the extra emphasis on health was not even planned. If I could hand out a letter grade for being “health-focused” for the entire day, I’d give myself an A. Normally, I’m a B student on the “health-focused” grade scale. I was able to balance health and fitness in several different ways: 1.) I stayed focused on healthy eating at every meal and snack time; 2.) I explored the new Lexington farmers market at the University of Kentucky; 3.) I pushed myself in the weight room with a tough lower body/leg workout; 4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba; and 5.) I “attended” an informative Twitter chat about Soy Protein, which was organized by FitFluential and Solae. Let’s break these activities down:

Salsa Lime Tofu. So delicious!

1.) My overall food and nutrition intake was on par and I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I had an omelet for breakfast, oatmeal for a midmorning snack, Salsa Lime Tofu with veggies & strawberry banana Chobani for lunch, a Green Monster protein smoothie for dinner, blueberries and a piece of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious and nutritious, just the way I like it.

Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus.

2.) I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus. While I love the grocery, I really enjoy shopping for locally grown produce. I mingled with the very people who grew the food before my eyes. I love asking the vendors questions about their produce and I’m always amazed by the new knowledge I take away each time I go. I stopped by a vendor offering samples of strawberries and they were divine! They were juicy and delicious down to the very last bite. I wanted to buy a carton, but they were all sold out. (I would have bought the rest of these samples if there wasn’t a line for them already!) Hopefully strawberries will be at the market next time.

Free pedometers were being handed out to the employees in attendance, so I gladly accepted. It’s nothing fancy, but I’ll where it at work to keep track of my steps taken throughout the work day. I’ll test it out and see what number I’ll get today. While I try to stand a lot at my desk, I don’t do too much walking. This just might be a wake up call for me to get moving even more.

3.) Yesterday’s strength training was focused on my lower body. And boy, did I workout my lower half. Having a weekly training plan has helped me concentrate on getting more out of each and every gym sessions. When I came to my final set, I thought about giving up. But winners never quit, and the pain only makes you stronger. So I pushed myself and I didn’t regret it. Today I’m feeling that good kind of soreness you get after you’ve put in a good workout.

Workout Proof. Don’t mess with these “guns”.

4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba once again. After reviewing my thoughts, I’ve found that letting loose with my coworkers and simply moving my body after a long day of work – even if it’s not pushing me physically – helps make me feel better about my over all wellness. I didn’t realize that I had previously placed a pressure on myself to get a good workout in every time I had previously attended a Zumba class. I would always feel stressed because I couldn’t figure out how to get more out of it.  By switching my focus now on the enjoyment of the activity, I’m more in the spirit to dance off stress that has built up throughout the week. I simply feel better going to that group class now without feeling the pressure of a workout.

5.) The soy protein Twitter chat organized by FitFluential and Solae was informative and left me wanting to know more. Since I’ve  been upping my workout routine, higher protein intake is a necessity for me. I always use whey protein in my smoothies, but I’ve recently started limiting the amount of dairy I take in. Personally, I’ve found that limiting dairy  improves the way I feel. Soy protein is fairly new to me and I want to learn more. I had a few questions answered during the chat, but I also came up with more questions that I’d like to research before ditching whey completely. The two things I learned from the Twitter chat are: 1.) Whey is a “fast” protein because it’s rapidly absorbed; Soy protein is“intermediate” & casein “slow”, taking several hours for the body to absorb, and 2.) Soy Protein contains more glutamine & arginine than whey protein or casein. I still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed the little knowledge I did gain.

Have you entered my giveaway going on now from SlimKicker? There’s still some time left! SlimKicker wants to give one of my readers a 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Imagine all of the healthy, easy to prepare recipes where you can use this, like my Mexican Salsa Chicken recipe. There’s still time to enter to giveaway! Read all about how you can win, here.

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

I’m curious to see what today holds. This evening after work, I’m hoping to attend a “skirt! After Work” party for a grand opening of House, an interior design and housewares store in Lexington. They’re having a grand opening sale and Saul Good, one of my FAVORITE Lexington eateries is catering. Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you incorporate soy protein into your daily diet? If so, how?
If not, how do you make sure you get enough protein into your daily diet?

Workouts Reviewed and SlimKicker {Giveaway}

There’s a giveaway involved in today’s post, so keep reading…but first, let me recap yesterday’s workouts. Monday, my first day on my new workout schedule, was a major success! I designed my strength session to be a total body workout with extra emphasis on the upper body. Simply knowing that I wanted to push my upper body made me concentrate on that muscle group more with each exercise. Just like yoga where the instructor emphasizes the importance of feeling every vertebrae, I focused on every muscle being used.

I also went to Zumba after work. Now that I view Zumba as a fun activity and not a workout for me personally, I let loose, had a blast, and actually seemed to have more energy to dance. I focused on twisting and turning, engaging my core, and putting more of myself into each move rather than just go through the motions.

You know I like apps and tools that help you live a healthy, balanced life. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned several tools I use daily to help hold me accountable toward achieving my overall health goals. Have you heard of SlimKicker? It’s a great online tool and iPhone app that helps motivate you to get fit by turning your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game. You earn points by participating in healthy eating and fitness challenges.

Examples of SlimKicker challenges include: quitting soda for a week, giving up processed meats for two weeks and committing to 100 planks over the course of a week. Some challenges give you the opportunity to win giveaways if, of course, you successfully complete them. Participate in one or several. Enjoy the many challenges offered to help you stay health-focused for life! SlimKicker also features useful tools such as a calorie counter, a fitness tracker, and a community with other similar-minded people.

One feature I particularly like about SlimKicker is the collection of recipes SlimKicker has online, each arranged by particular diet plans you may follow. Some of these diet plans include the 17 Day Diet, P90X diet plan, or the Dukan Diet…and to make some of those healthy recipes, you may need a slow cooker, right? How would you like to win this slow cooker? You can!

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel  *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only.* 

GIVEAWAY: The great people of SlimKicker want to give you, my dear reader, a chance to score this fantastic 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. You can make some easy-to-prepare, easy-to-cook recipes (like my Mexican Salsa Chicken) in this slow cooker. Interested in winning? It’s easy. Here’s how enter this giveaway:

Mandatory: Leave a comment on a creative diet and/or fitness challenge idea that you would want to participate in, like quitting soda for a week or doing 100 plank week challenge, running 1 mile a day for 10 days, etc. The key is to be creative on the challenge! What type of fun SlimKicker challenge would you want to participate in? (Please note that this is mandatory in order to be entered into the giveaway!)

Optional: After you leave the above comment, follow me on twitter. Let your friends know about SlimKicker and this giveaway by tweeting:
“I just entered to win a 7-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in the @wishandwhimsy @SlimKicker Giveaway http://wp.me/pHJIG-kP”

I will be collecting entries until 11:59pm on Monday, May 28, 2012 and the winner will be announced shortly after. The SlimKicker team will pick their favorite challenge idea submitted by you, use it on their site, and give the winner the slow cooker. *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. 

Interested in joining SlimKicker? You can visit their website, or download their iPhone app. Wishing you all the best and the best of luck on this awesome giveaway. katie

***EDITED: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.***
(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, FacebookPinterest and more.) 

Grocery Love.

I absolutely love to grocery shop. Honest. There is no sarcasm in that statement. Is that strange? I find myself looking forward to the trip to grocery every single week. I only shop for one (me), but I plan this trip each week, browsing weekly sale ads, gathering coupons, and reading up on new recipes that might inspire a new grocery store purchase. I enjoy the budgeting aspect because it’s something I can control and I feel accomplished knowing that I’ve picked out healthy items while staying in my budget.

Grocery shopping is a game. I think about it in these terms: how can I get the best value for my dollar? I define value as: 1.) quality- is the food nutritious and healthy? 2.) taste- will I enjoy the food without wasting any portion? and, 3.) price: is the food within my budget?

Another aspect that makes shopping enjoyable is using the application for my phone called Fooducate. Have you ever heard of it? To use Fooducate, you open the application on your smart phone and scan the bar code on the package. (Or you can enter it manually and search the term.) Then, Fooducate grades the food choice giving it a score (A through D-); it also points out positives and negatives about the item. For example, it will tell you if a controversial/artificial additive is found in the food or if it’s high in sodium/sugar etc. It also points out good nutrients. One of my favorite features of Fooducate is that it offers healthy/healthier alternatives to the item you’ve scanned. Many times this allows me to purchase food that is a grade level better. It’s a helpful tool and eye opening for sure. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday’s grocery shopping trip was fun. I had several coupons to use on things I was already planning to buy. (Side note & budget tip: when using coupons, be careful not to clip coupons for things you wouldn’t normally buy. Even though you think you’re saving money, you’re actually spending money that you didn’t intend to in the first place. This is why a list is important. Write down a list and stick to it!) Here’s a shot of the week’s worth of food I purchased yesterday, and remember, it complements things I already have in my pantry, fridge and freezer:

Just a few highlights:

  • Coupons: I used coupons that basically gave me 4 protein bars for $1.00. I had a coupon for Nasoya Tofu that made it less expensive than the generic brand.
  • Bananas: The HUGE bunch of bananas was only $1.22. I’ve never bought so many bananas. Good thing I simply freeze them and use them in smoothies. I’m set for SEVERAL weeks.
  • Quinoa: One of my food goals was to cook with Quinoa. I finally am going to give it a try. I bought a bag of organic quinoa from the bulk food section of the grocery store which saved me about $2.00 for the same amount in the prepackaged section.

This food after coupons was a grand TOTAL OF$22.00

I should note that I did make an additional “grocery” purchase on the way home from Kroger that I am not including in this budget. I purchased a new whey protein powder to try. Mom and Dad had previously given me a gift card, and I used that to purchase the protein powder. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!!) So, technically this didn’t come out of my personal finances. I’m curious to try this flavor that combines my two favorite food items: Chocolate Peanut Butter. Yum.

*If I would have included this in my grocery total, the combined total would have been $36.88.

After putting everything away yesterday, I had a delicious, protein packed lunch that included a tuna salad (a quick version of this recipe) on a bed of organic spinach and a side of vanilla greek yogurt with blueberries. Lunch also included an exceptionally jar of water.

While doing my Sunday chores of laundry, cleaning and planning out my week ahead, I prepped my lunches for the work week ahead. I’ve been in a tofu mood lately, so I made my Salsa Lime Tofu recipe.

Well, it’s time to start my Monday. It’s looking like a busy week. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite brand of protein powder and what’s your favorite flavor?
What does your week look like? Busy? 

My Weekly Fitness Plan.

One of my recent fitness goals was to come up with an overall weekly training schedule. I’m excited to share with you what I have worked on this week. Sticking to a fitness schedule gives me a way to craft workouts that are goal specific and ensures that I target specific muscle groups. It will push and challenge my current fitness level. While my training plan will constantly evolve, this is an overall view of my weekly workout plan:

While this training plan will certainly change throughout the weeks, my goal is to focus on toning particular muscle groups. I used to use my midday strength toning session to do a total body workout, but lately, I’ve been a little bored with the same routine and I’ve found myself wishing to push my body a bit harder.

I’m having my brother over for breakfast in just a bit and I still haven’t decided what to make him. I want to make a healthy breakfast, but I don’t think he would be a fan of anything with kale in it…

Oh, and I have one tiny favor to ask you. Would you Follow me on Twitter? I’m SO close to 100 Followers, which would make a goal of mine come true. (I also have a new Facebook page if you’re interested in “liking” Wish and Whimsy…) Anyway, wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
What is your general fitness plan? Do you find it important to focus on specific muscle groups or do you prefer total body workouts?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Friday Refine | Finances

I’ve had a few weeks to think about today’s Friday Refine. I’ve already refined my Food and Fitness goals. This week I want to discuss Finances. I really believe that healthy living includes having a healthy handle on your finances. We are all guilty of stressing over finances. We can eliminate much of that stress through planning and being aware of where our money is and where it’s going. But first, let’s look at how I’m doing those goals.

Food:

  • My protein intake has been really great. I’m hitting my goal every day. I’m really confident this is because I’m meal planning for the week, at the beginning of each week instead of the day or night before. I’m making protein intake a  high priority, and it’s showing.
  • I’m staying well under budget through mindful grocery shopping and using coupons on things I’m already going to buy anyway. Peruse the internet for your favorite food brands and, more often than not, you can find coupons on their website to use in store. On a side note related to food and grocery budgets, you might find the following article from the WSJ to be of interest. It’s an article that shows healthy food is a better deal than junk food. WIN!

Fitness:

  • I’ve been tweaking and creating a workout schedule to make each workout goal oriented. I’ll have more on that tomorrow because that’s my week’s end.
  • As I discussed in yesterday’s post, I’m looking at each of my old workouts and seeing ways I can improve or redirect my energy and efforts to get the most out of that designated workout time.

And now let’s talk about Finances. First, a little background:

I am thankful that my parents taught me to be financially savvy. They taught me the value of savings, of finding the best deals, for working hard for what you buy. Other than student loans, I carry no debt. My car is paid for and my credit card is paid off in full every month. I’m financially independent, and that’s something I’m very proud of, especially in this economy. (Though I must say a big thank you to my parents for always allowing me to stock up on pantry items and sending me home with toilet paper and laundry detergent anytime I travel home or they come to Kentucky for a visit. Those gestures are much appreciated and help tremendously in savings.)

This past year has been one of my most expensive years of my life. I used to live very conservatively, which gave me the opportunity to grow my savings. I used to rent a room from my brother’s house where the rent was cheap and the company was fun. We hardly used heating and air, didn’t use internet for the longest time, didn’t have the expense of cable, etc. We used that money to save.

However, in the past year and a half, I’ve moved into the “big” city of Lexington where I pay my own rent, much higher than before. My boyfriend moved to a different state to attend medical school which has created travel expenses on my end (which I gladly accept because he and his family are so worth it). Because of that long distance relationship, I’ve had to add internet to Skype, which made me have to pay for basic cable….etc. There are so many “little expenses” that really creep up on you. If you’re not focused on the little things that add up, your finances will get away from you.

While anyone would like a little more money, I can’t complain. I’m doing okay on my own. I can’t run to the store and purchase everything on a whim. But I can appreciate the hard work I put in to save for things I do want. Most importantly, all of my needs are taken care of and I’m content and happy. That’s all that matters, right?

With all of background now out in the open, there are areas I do want to focus on. And, yes, they focus a lot on my food and fitness focuses. With a lot of potential changes happening in the upcoming year or so, there are few areas I’d like to refine in the way I handle my finances:

  1. Be mindful of small purchases. Every swipe of the debit card adds up. Do I really need that cup of coffee, or should I just prepare it at home. What value am I obtaining by purchasing XYZ’s cup of joe? Do I really need that shirt that’s been marked down for $9.99? Is it truly made of good quality and will I wear it often? Or will it hide in the back of my closet with all the other “on sale” items that I never wear. This idea is VERY similar to mindful grocery shopping. Let’s put an end to impulse buying and actually save that money toward something I really want.
  2. Pay down student loans, even further. With the money I’m saving by not purchasing impulsively, I want to put that toward student loans. I know it’s not much, but I can add that money saved every month and add it to my monthly student loan payments. Anytime I fall under my grocery budget, I’m going to use that toward student loan repayment. That’s extra incentive to stay Food Focused! I hate the pressure of debt, to anyone, over anything. And student loans are such a kill joy, aren’t they? So, I’m seeking to get rid of them.
  3. Look for additional sources of income. I’m not looking for another full-time job. I’m simply talking about ways I can earn a little extra money to put into savings. I have recently become a social media marketer for a beautiful store in TN, The Registry, and I’d like to put more effort in to that. Another source of income can be consignment. Because I’ve added strength toning to my workouts, nothing fits me anymore. I’m basically at a blank canvas for my closet, yet I’m holding on to clothes that don’t fit. Why not try to get a little extra money back for them?

Well, there you have it. Three areas I can realistically refine in my life right now. We’ve looked at Food, Fitness and now Finances. Next week, we’ll talk about Love.

It’s going to be a great day. I’m having lunch with Mom and my brother. (Mom is in town). And tonight, I’m having some friends over for dessert and a flick…Funny Face. Can’t go wrong with a classy Audrey Hepburn movie! Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you think finances plays a role in healthy living?
What are some of your own finance goals?
What creative ways do you earn extra income? 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Zumba | When A Workout Isn’t Working You Out.

My Zumba class was cancelled. I go to Zumba after work on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have recruited a lady I work with to come along, too. We both had plans to go, until I received an email about the class being cancelled. While she decided to go home, I decided I wanted to do something to get my body moving. So, I went to another class being offered in Zumba’s place. While I enjoy Zumba, this other cardio class got me thinking about what I want out of evening workouts. Zumba may be a great group fitness class that allows you to move around after a long day of work, but it’s not really working me out much any more. The class yesterday included tabata training and I felt the burn, which felt great!

Image Source.

I first started attending Zumba a couple of years ago. At that point, the two days a week class was the only structured workout I participated in. I always looked forward to the dancing/fitness combination. I should probably credit Zumba as my first “baby step” toward beginning my fitness journey. Since beginning Zumba, and especially in the last year and a half, I’ve incorporated other fitness classes and routines like Krav Maga – where I met my boyfriend – and strength toning classes offered at the gym owned by my work. I’ve also dabbled with Yoga and I have now crossed over to the weight room at the gym. (It used to intimidate me!)

Krav Maga – Don’t mess with me, I Krav.

While some of those classes have come and gone, I’ve tweaked my fitness routine to what works best for me in terms of results and enjoyment, and what works with my schedule and lifestyle.

While attending Zumba classes these past few weeks, I’ve notice that I’m not benefiting much from Zumba any more in terms of physical results. I find myself kind of going through the motions. So I’ve been wondering what I need to do to amp up this time so I can benefit most. My dad is an engineer and he always advised me to make a list of pros and cons. Here’s my list, Pros and Cons personalized for me:

Zumba Pros:

  1. Zumba gets me moving after a long day at the office.
  2. It’s convenient to work. Just a five-minute walk and I’m at class.
  3. It’s immediately after work, so no wasting a few minutes here or there before class starts. Time is precious and I hate to waste a minute of it!
  4. I connect with my colleagues in a non-work environment. This builds rapport.
  5. Dancing makes me feel good and boosts confidence. While I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, I can pretend to be J.Lo for 45 minutes.

Zumba Cons:

  1. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself.
  2. I don’t think it contributes to seeing real results.

While there are more Pros on the list than Cons, the value placed on the Cons are a lot to consider. Should I spend that time at the gym or another class to push and challenge me? Or can I find a way to push myself harder in Zumba to make it a more effective workout? Or do I focus on the fact that Zumba helps me build relationships and incorporates a fun activity in my work week?

With all of this said, I think I’ll stick with Zumba, concentrate on engaging new muscle groups and feel good about simply moving my body after a long day of work. I must understand that Zumba is only a supplement or a complement to my active lifestyle and it’s not my main workout plan. Zumba has become a social and fun activity which, too, contributes to an overall healthy life. If I were to replace my Monday and Wednesday Zumba sessions, I would be limiting my social and networking life. How often do you actually get to combine fun activity with socializing/networking? Not very often. As long as an activity isn’t decreasing my overall health and is helping maintain or promote it, I’m in. I’m going to keep that fitness party going.

Tabata Time!

Additionally, while I spend part of every lunch hour in my gym, I think I’ll look for a class that challenges me on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I really did enjoy the tabata training yesterday. It pushed me and I felt like I had worked out when the class ended. I guess that conclusion makes for the best of all worlds.

Wow. That Pros & Cons list really did help. Thanks, Dad!

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What would you do? Is it okay to participate in a workout that is not really working you out? How would you up the fitness results in this situation? Do you have a similar story? Please share and let’s discuss!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

5 Simple Ways I Stay Fit At Work.

First, I must say that I really gave my arms a workout yesterday. This week I’m creating a daily fitness plan, goal specific workouts for each day I hit the gym. While I’m still tweaking the plan, I focused on my arms and shoulders during my strength training session yesterday. Because of that great workout out, my body was already a little sore when I went to Zumba. At this point in my life, Zumba is not the workout I benefit most from. I consider it a great way to move after a long day and a great way to connect with people at work, outside of the office setting.

While I love where I work and what I do, I have a typical “desk job”. It would be easy to get caught up in a routine of walking in the office and sitting for 8 hours. But I prefer moving around much more than I do sitting. So, how does one passionate about healthy living  make fitness a priority while at the office? Simple…I modify my work space and my day to accommodate the healthy life I want to live. Here’s how I stay fit and on track during my work day:

1.) I’ve designed my space and coordinated my schedule to make sure my fitness is maintained while on the  job. While I don’t have a standing treadmill in my office (I’m envious of Lindsay’s @ the Lean Green Bean blog), I have propped up my computer and keyboard to allow me to stand. I’ve read in numerous places that you burn twice the amount of calories standing than you do sitting because your body is constantly engaging your muscles and core to provide proper balance. I also read that if you stand for 10 minutes out of every work hour, you will end up burning about 100 calories each day (source).

2.) I keep a water bottle on my desk to remain hydrated throughout the day. I try my hardest to refill it at least once while at work. I also have green tea to keep my energy and my metabolism up. While I occasionally enjoy a cup of coffee at home in the mornings, I try to limit the amount of coffee I drink while I’m at work to limit my caffeine intake.

3.) I designate at least half of my lunch hour for working out. There is a small gym down the street that I can walk to easily. Because it is owned by my work, there’s only a tiny monthly fee for employees to use it.  To avoid getting sweaty, I strength tone during this time. My membership in this gym includes group classes that are offered at different points of the day. I take advantage of Zumba after work on Monday’s and Wednesdays. Zumba is a fun way to get moving after a long day at work.

I come to work dressed like the left photo and change midday for a quick workout during lunch. I’m thankful for an office with a door:

   

4.) I bring my own homemade lunches to work every day. This way I can control the ingredients and monitor the nutrients I am taking in. Additionally, brown bagging my lunch saves me money. (I consider being financially wise a large part of healthy living.)

5.) I use the free application FitBolt on my computer. This application gives you an activity every half hour to get you moving. These include a mix of stretches and exercises that can be performed in a small office.

Those are just five simple ways I stay fit while at the office. By the way, some of you have asked about FitFluential. I’m now an Ambassador, and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. FitFluential is a unique network of fitness and health bloggers who share their fitness journeys and influence others toward healthy living. You can join and follow fitness happenings here. I’m off to enjoy another day of work, beginning with an early meeting.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
How do you maintain fitness while at work?
What are your favorite on-the-job fitness tips?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.)