Monthly Archives: July 2015

Fun Cross Training Ideas

Ryan and I are in our third week of half marathon training. In my last post, I wrote about running the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon! We’re super excited, and we’re both sticking to our running schedules :)

My running schedule, clearly a beginner’s I-don’t-have-enough-time-to-train-properly schedule, has a minimum of three runs per week (potentially 4) and a minimum of one cross-training workout per week (2 workouts if I do only three runs).

Online running websites and forums offer up a few yawn-inducing cross training ideas: get on the elliptical, stationary bike, or go for a walk. There’s nothing wrong with those suggestions…it’s just that the thought of them brings on one big yawn. And let’s be honest…sometimes running can be boring, so additional cardio is not on my agenda.

Here are a few cross-training activities I’ve included in my training that have kept my interest:

FUN CROSS TRAINING IDEAS

fun cross training ideas

Ballet

Ballet? Yes! Ballet is actually great for running. It strengthens your ankles and feet. It improves your balance, and you’ll also get a great stretch! Your muscles are being used in a completely different way, so it won’t negatively affect your next run. And if you think it sounds just as boring as another run, I challenge you to try a full class :)

Here are a few videos to use on those in between days:


12 Minute Athlete

This app, developed by blogger Krista whose motto is “Don’t Waste Life in a Gym,”  randomly generates 12, 16, or 18 minute circuit workouts. You can choose the equipment you have (dumbells, medicine ball, dip bar, pull up bar, etc) or select no equipment at all, and the app will count down through the intervals of your workout!

I completed this one the other day:

12 minute athlete cross training

I did a little more ab work at the end, for a total of 20 minutes. It was quick, efficient, and the perfect strength workout to fit in between running days.

Sprints

There’s no hiding that this cross-training workout is, in fact, just a shorter, speedier running workout. But that’s okay because you’ll be done in less than 15 minutes! There are two sprint workouts I’ve done:

  • Tabata Sprints: sprint for 20s, rest for 10s, repeat until you reach a total of 4 minutes, or 8 eight sprints
  • Hill Sprints: find a steep hill, and decide how many times you want to sprint up! In New Orleans, I did this workout on the levees. In Georgia, there are a variety of hills to choose from :)

YouTube Fitness Challenges

There are so many awesome fitness videos online, but sometimes I sit through 10 minutes of a video before realizing it’s just plain awful. I prefer combining a few shorter, more challenging videos! Here are a bunch that you could combine to make a longer workout!

“Run the World” Ab Workout

“Bring Sally Up” Push Up Challenge


“Scream and Shout” Squat Challenge

“Dark Horse” Cardio Leg Challenge

“Uptown Funk” Whole Body

Question: Runners, what do you do on your off days? Any suggestions for those in between days?

Smoky Mountain Half Marathon Training!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I have a bunch of fun things to share today, so let’s get started!

FIG & GOUDA FRITTATA

Yum! The nearby Whole Foods has the most delicious figs in their produce section! I’ve been throwing them in to a bunch of my meals and snacks throughout the week.

The other day, I had sliced figs, Greek yogurt, and this new NoGrainOla snack I found.  NoGrainOla is made from almonds, carrots, dates, and coconut. It’s a perfect snack and is low in sugar :)

figs and nograinola

Then, this morning I had the brilliant idea to make a sweet frittata with figs, gouda, and cinnamon.

Here’s the quick recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 figs, sliced
  • 1 gouda babybel (or a higher quality gouda…I’m sure that’s better!), sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Mix cinnamon in with scrambled eggs. Heat coconut oil in an omelet pan over medium heat. Pour in scrambled eggs and allow to cook for about one minute. Lay slices of figs and cheese into the eggs. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-7 more minutes, or until egg is cooked through.

fig and gouda frittata

Now that delicious food has been covered, let’s talk half marathon training!

SMOKY MOUNTAIN HALF MARATHON TRAINING

smoky mountain half website

Those who know me well know I LOVE the Smoky Mountains. They’re like a fairytale land, and I’m always in awe of the park’s beauty. So when Ryan sent me this race day video (which I included below!), we decided that night we should do the race. Here’s the catch…it’s in less than two months.

The Appalachians are so beautiful that I don’t even care that this won’t be my best race time. I’ll run slow and steady while enjoying the scenery. I am SO EXCITED.

Last week, I made a training plan that gives me eight weeks to train, not including a final easy week before the race. Take a look:

half marathon training plan

Those of you who are more seasoned half marathon runners might point out some mistakes or some abnormal training choices, but that’s okay. I’ll be running near the SMOKY MOUNTAINS. My plan is to run at least three times a week. I included two cross training days, one of which is an optional run day. So, sometimes I’ll run four times a week. I generally run more than that when training for a half-marathon, but because I’m not really in distance-running shape I want to be careful and not injure myself. (Last time, I ran on a stress fracture…not something I recommend.)

September is going to be packed! We have the race, then my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law’s engagement party in New Orleans the following weekend, and my parents come to visit us in Georgia the weekend after that! It’s a busy month, but we’re excited :)

What fun things are you looking forward to this Fall?

Ballet Pilates & Grown-Up Problems

Happy Monday!

My free Mondays are quickly disappearing. My first official day of work is August 3rd, although I have been doing a little work in my classroom. Come August, I’ll be teaching 8th grade Georgia history and English/Language Arts.

Usually during this time of year, I’m in my classroom everyday getting everything set up, writing lesson plans, and generally preparing for the school year. But at the moment, I’m trying to finish up some major graduate school assignments. The semester ends on July 31st, which leaves me exactly one weekend before work begins…then two weeks later my Fall semester grad school classes begin!

Attempting to blog, take classes, and start a new job is not easy! That’s why I’m pretty much a huge slacker right now when it comes to blogging. Speaking of which…I do have a quick workout video to share with you today :)

WORKOUT – Ballet Pilates

Yesterday, Ryan, his friend Sean, and I went for a run around Stone Mountain. First, we ran the beautiful 5 mile loop around the base of the mountain, and then we went to the top for an added uphill mile. Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted!

So my workout today was quite simple. After yesterday’s run (and a little bit of a climb), I didn’t want to go for another run or do a challenging 45 minute boot camp workout. Instead, I chose a nice ballet/pilates workout I found on YouTube!

This video is about 20 minutes long, not including warm up and cool down. I paired this exercise with some planks and push ups to give my upper body some love! It’s not a huge calorie scorcher, but it’s perfect for toning and practicing balance.

Find another ballet inspired workout here! You can also visit my Workouts page for circuits and cardio ideas :)

Question: What’s your “easy day” workout?

Blogging Nonsense & A New Ice Cream Discovery

The other day, I opened Pinterest to my home page, and this is what was staring back at me:

blog picture

THE BUSINESS OF BLOGGING 

Over the past year, I’ve looked for a couple of blogging tips so I can make my sidebar look nicer and improve a few other aesthetics. Now Pinterest has overloaded my home page with blogging tips…how to make money blogging, how to attract more twitter followers, how to use the endless number of plugins available, how to write for your audience, how to get more instagram followers…blah blah blah blah blah.

When I began blogging just under a year ago, I simply wanted a space to write down my thoughts about food, fitness, body image, and other things I felt like jibber-jabbering about. (I actually really enjoy writing, no matter what the topic may be.)

Since then, I’ve learned there’s a massive, ever-evolving blogging world (actually, multiple worlds). You can make money from ads, sponsored posts, affiliate links, sponsored tweets & pins, or selling some of your own products.  There are several major blog conferences throughout the year (that costs hundreds of dollars!) to teach you how to keep readers and make money.

blog picture 2

For a brief moment, I thought this blogging business trend might be a nice way to go. Then I quickly learned that those who actually profit from blogging have a significant amount of time on their hands! Post after post is written about having a set time each day for writing, social networking, reaching out to sponsors, editing, reading other’s blog posts, and revamping old portions of your site. Who has time for that? I’m currently in grad school and have a full time teaching job, so the writing and social networking blocks of time simply don’t exist.

At first, I was upset that I wasn’t as good as other bloggers. My posts aren’t as consistent and my pictures aren’t as nice. I thought about maybe abandoning the blog and going back to just being a teacher and not having the additional time commitment of blogging. But then I remembered…

I LOVE writing. I enjoy working out. I enjoy making delicious food. Why not write about what I love? Twitter, instagram, and sponsors are entirely secondary. I really appreciate my readers (you are a small, but appreciated, population!), and I enjoy the blogging basics. So, I’ll pick up on a few tips here and there, but for the most part I’m just going to keep blogging in the way it works for me :)

HALO TOP ICE CREAM

On an entirely different note, I found a wonderful new ice cream at Whole Foods! Halo Top, a new brand I discovered in a Whole Foods in Atlanta, makes diet ice creams. Generally, I don’t think diet dessert is a healthy choice. It’s usually full of sugar and strange ingredients I can’t pronounce or even pretend to know what they really are. This brand, however, has a pretty short list of organic, recognizable ingredients. And while it doesn’t quite fall under the Paleo/Primal umbrella, I believe it’s the perfect solution when you’re looking for a natural sweet treat.

Today, I tried the lemon cake flavor. I figured that lemon was hard to mess up, and there couldn’t be anything too weird about it. (I was worried about this diet ice cream brand because I’ve had NO luck with that funky Arctic Zero diet brand. That stuff has a weird and off-putting consistency.) The verdict?

100% delicious! It tasted like a lemon cake. It wasn’t too sweet, it had a good consistency, and even my Ben & Jerry’s loving husband said he enjoyed it :) I can’t wait to try their other flavors! Here are a few quick facts on this flavor:

Yep…240 calories per pint! Of course, that’s no excuse to finish off a pint of ice cream. But it does mean that a typical bowl of ice cream won’t set you back like it usually would. Enjoy every bite of it!

Questions:

  • Fellow bloggers, what do you wish you had more time for?
  • Are there any other Whole Foods gems I’m currently missing out on???