Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Workout Routine: Make it and then Break it

Routine is great.
Getting into a routine can be the best thing that will happen for you workout-wise. A set schedule of when you work out is one of the best ways to consistently get to the gym. Once you keep that consistency up you'll be SO much more likely to lose weight, and see the results you want.
HOWEVER, be careful that you don't get so set in your workout routine that your body becomes accustomed and slows down your progress.
Change in your routine is good! Mix up what you do for your cardio. Try adding in some higher intensity intervals or increasing your time. Add weights into your schedule, and keep that routine changing as well. Increase the weight your using, add some balancing, rotate your exercises. Variety in your workouts not only help you avoid boredom, but will keep you working harder, and keep those muscles "confused," so to speak. Don't let yourself get comfortable.
Progress comes from change!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chipotle fan?

So, I have to admit...I've never been to Chipotle, BUT from what I hear it's pretty amazing. I Found this link that will generate your nutrition facts for you depending on what you order there...pretty cool if you ask me.

click HERE to try it out!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

See Megan Run...

14 miler. Check.

Wow. Today was unexpectedly hard. It feels strange to say that my run today was a LOT harder than my run last week. Despite the decrease in mileage.

I did everything right. Ate enough carbohydrates last night, got enough sleep. ate a great breakfast. had my water, had my shot blocks, etc. etc. etc. but no dice.

What didn't i have? the mental readiness. I think I went to bed last night knowing I wasn't excited about getting up and knocking out the 14. I woke up this morning not wanting to lace up my sneaks, and it effected me. I felt sluggish. It felt like I was going to be running for the rest of the day. I think this proves that mental preparation is really important, and does indeed effect you!

Despite all this...I made it, and I'm glad to be done!

Next week is my hardest week and then it's easy cheese until race day.

I'll top out next week at about 40 miles total. goooooo....pray for me! ;)

I heart the Sunflower Market (again)

More Sunflower Market love from me...

Today I picked up
- 3 grapefruits
- 1/2 lb brussel sprouts
- 2 zucchinis
- 5 braeburn apples
- 1 pint of strawberries
- 1 mango
- 1 pineapple
- 1 head of lettuce
all for $8.00

AMAZING. If you have one near you GO.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Apricot Chicken/ Chicken Elegant

This recipe has been a family favorite for years. My mom is a great cook, and I took this recipe from her. It's super easy, very low in fat & calories and SOOOO good.


- 1/2 cup apricot jam (I use the sugar free version)

- 1/2 cup fat free Catalina/or Russian dressing
- 2 TBS of Lipton Onion Soup mix (dry straight from the package)

- 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Pound out your chicken breasts so they are flat and tender. Roll them, starting at one end until they are in a long tube-like form. Arrange them in a 9" by 9" pan. Mix together apricot jam, dressing, and onion soup mix. Pour entire mixture over chicken making sure the pieces are covered completely. Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 mins or until done.
I serve this over brown rice and a side of steamed veggies and it's so good!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Exercise of the week: Plank Push Ups

This exercise is a great one to strengthen your core and work the entire upper body as well. It's a variation on the normal push up, which of course is one of my favorite things ever. A GREAT way to sculpt those arms, and increase your upper body strength. Begin in the start of a push up, an extended plank. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly release down into a push up and back up to your starting position. Hold again for 10 seconds and repeat. Do this 15 times. Really focus on keeping your abs tight, glutes tight, and your body in line.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

See Megan Run

(my apologies for the pic if you're offended....I thought it was hilarious!)

Yesterday was my 18 miler. AND I MADE IT!! I come to realize more and more how running is just such a mental game for me. I have to divide it out in my head, and give myself milestones. Yesterday My breakdown was to take it in three sections. First, I'd take care of the first 8 miles, then I'd tackle 6, and the last 4 would be my final bout. I do it all consecutively, of course, but i just have to have a breakdown in my head. If I were to be thinking "one mile down, 17 more to go," I don't know if i'd have made it. I was very pleased with how smoothly it went. I attribute this to...

-adequate hydration aka lots of H20
-new songs on my Ipod
-strawberry flavored shot blocks (they are SO good)
-comfortable attire
-no chafing (Thanks to Benita I have an anti-chafing roll on that is AMAZING. Usually I get big stingy rashes under my arms.)
-my knees didn't hurt!!

I was so glad to be done when that last mile came around, let me tell you. BUT after yesterday I am feeling like this marathon is doable. For my long run next week I have a 14 miler, and the next week I peak at 20, and it's taper down from there. I can't believe the race is so close! I also just found out my mom will be in town to cheer me on, which makes me SO happy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Portion Control

It seems like everything these days is about more bang for your buck. I love a great deal, and I'm sure you do too. It seems, however, that this mind set has gotten America to a VERY dangerous place. In this place a portion is considered the amount that you can stuff in your face without becoming sick; a serving is whatever the restaurant happens to serve on your platter sized plate; and paying the extra 25 cents for triple the amount of food couldn't seem like a better deal. We're all victims. Everyday we are served more than enough to eat, and unfortunately...we eat it. Gladly. So, what is to be done? If you are looking to slim down, lose weight, get healthy, or D. All of the above, you have to fight the norm. You HAVE to know what your eating, and more importantly HOW MUCH. It doesn't matter if you chose the reduced fat Wheat Thins over the regular Wheat Thins if all you're going to do is down the whole box in one sitting. Those magic words on the box don't make you thinner. Too bad, I know. I've written several times about food journaling, recording calories, and being specific on what is going in your mouth. These may seem overwhelming to you, but just simply being aware of how much your eating can make a big difference. Here are some tips to being on top of your portions.

- Do your own "pre-packaging." You grab the bag of pretzels, open it, and start a'munching. Next thing you know 1/2 the bag is gone...oops. Mindless eating happens ALL the time. So what's a snacker to do? As soon as you get home from the store divide your goods into portioned snack bags. This way you know exactly what you're eating. You won't be caught in robotic hand mode.

- Veggies first! Whether you're out to dinner or eating from the comfort of your own table go for the veggies or a salad first. Filling up on these low-cal items first can help you not to binge on the higher calorie main dishes. If you are serving yourself fill your plate with veggies. You'll be more likely to serve yourself a smaller portion of everything else, which means lower calories.

- Keep your blood sugar at bay. Three square meals a day is great and all...but most of the time this means 3 BIG square meals a day. Waiting hours and hours between meals to eat can cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar, and can cause you to "binge eat" when meal time comes around. Make your 3 main meals a little smaller, and add some snacks in between. This will regulate your blood sugar, keep your cravings down, and keep your energy up.

- Become a Meal-Sharer. Everyone loves to eat out, but like I mentioned before the platter is the new dinner plate. D-A-N-G-E-R... Split a meal with a friend. The odds are you'll be satisfied, and you're saving yourself the chance that you might have eaten twice the calories.

-Second guess your second helping. Before you reach for another plateful of pasta because it was sooooooooo goood...(which i'm sure it was)...ask yourself, "am I really still hungry?" Chances are you probably aren't. Save yourself the calories, and the time of baking another meal. Eat your second helping for dinner tomorrow night.

-Measure it out. I know, super annoying, super tedious...blah, blah, blah. Truth? SUPER effective. Cereal is my favorite item to measure due to the fact that most people consider a bowl a serving. Not true unfortunately. In fact, some cereal's serving sizes are only 1/2 a cup, which means you're eating about 3 to 4 servings-worth in one sitting. This can make for a 500-600 calorie breakfast. GOO! I'm not saying you can only eat one serving of cereal for breakfast, but I AM saying be aware if you are eat two or three. This could be the source of some extra calories. Try measuring it out. Odds are your "eye-balling it" is a bit off. Soon you'll learn to guesstimate about right (3 oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards or an audio tape; 1 oz. of meat is the size of a matchbook; 1 cup of potatoes, rice or pasta looks like a tennis ball.)

-Order Kids Meals. Although not all resturaunts will allow this, some do. Usually the kids size is plenty of food, and these days a lot of places are even throwing in a veggies side. Heck, you might even get a toy!

-Box it up Beforehand. We're all a bunch of talkers. We sit, we eat, we talk. We talk some more and while we're talking we continue to eat...possibly more than we meant to, but it's just right in front of us! Ask for a to-go box right of the bat, or ask to have 1/2 your food boxed up right away. You get two meals, and you won't be binging.

Monday, March 16, 2009

exercise of the Week: Row in a Lunge

This is an AWESOME exercise that engages your legs, core, and the muscles of your back... Grab the same weight dumbbell as you would have if you were doing a single arm row on the bench. Get down in a deep lunge with your back leg straight. Keep those abs tight, and your back in line. Draw that elbow back squeezing through those upper back muscles. Aim to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps, and make sure that weight is heavy enough!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

See Megan Run...

Today was one of those days where I wasn't physically tired. I felt like my body could have ran and ran and ran...but I was mentally bored. I should have taken the opportunity to run outside because it turned out to be an amazingly beautiful day, but I wasn't planning on that. SO, I just got up headed to the gym as per a normal Saturday morning.

I was glad to start out the run knowing that I only had to run 12 miles. I always thinking of my treadmill running in increments, and knowing I just had two 6 mile bouts was music to my lil' ears. I was hoping for an amazing movie pick for the cardio cinema and wasn't too jazzed when, Daddy Daycare, was the movie of choice. Not too much of an attention grabber, if you ask me.
Nonetheless, I soldiered through. It really wasn't too bad. I had uploaded some of Britney's newest hits to my ipod, which made for some energetic bursts. I'm sure the people around me think I have some form of A.D.D. because I'm constantly going from watching the movie, to listening to my music, to mouthing the words to the music (the answer is, yes, i really do that), to mouthing to myself motivational words (and that)...whatever gets you through right? (Sidenote: I'd love to see a printout of my inner-monologue from my runs. I have no doubt it's HIGHLY entertaining.)

Upon finishing up I noticed that the girl on the treadmill next too me had an all too familiar setup. Same steady pace, bag of oranges, sweatshirt covering all timers, and not to leave out the fact that she'd been running the entire time I had. I knew instantly we were birds of a feather. After all, not many other people bring workout snacks. I'm not usually one to strike up a convo with randoms, but I had to. Turns out she's training for the Boston Marathon in April, and was knocking out 20 treadmill filled miles today. GOO! I was glad it was her and not me at that point. (Remeber, I was done.) Long story short, this girl and I were basically running soul-mates. I love new gym bff's!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

WHAT should I order?

SO, you're going out to eat tonight.
Restaurant of choice?
California Pizza Kitchen.
You're stressing out because you have done SO well with your eating and your working out this week and you don't want to throw it all away just because its the weekend.
Breathe easy...

a cup of Sedona Tortilla Soup
176 calories
5 grams of fat
22 grams of carbs
4 grams of protein


1/2 Field Greens Salad
(ask for fat free balsalmic dressing)
152 calories
8 grams of fat (this is from the nuts, so it's good fat!)
16 grams of carbs
2 grams of fiber
.5 grams of protein

This whole meal totals to about 330 calories. You can't beat that! The soup just so happens to be one of my FAVORITE things at CPK. Calorie counting, or not. It has such a good flavor. The salad is delicious with diced pears and candied walnuts, and you can't even tell the difference with the fat free balsalmic dressing. Skip the bread beforehand. It adds unnecessary calories, and let's be honest it's not THAT good.

Unless you're planning on sharing your dessert with the 6 other people at your table I say skip it. Go get yourself soome non-fat frozen yogurt instead. YUM!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

oh boy....The Biggest Loser does it again...

For those of you who aren't following the show...my apologies...but, Tuesday's episode can't go unnoticed. Aside from the fact that it was one crazy twist after another, I thought there was a valid point made that we can all learn from...MODERATION.

The black team won the weekly challenge, allowing them 24 hours of luxury. For them that meant to be a day of relaxing; sans workouts. It turned into a day relaxing; sans workouts, with an overload of mindlessness, alcohol and calories. 15,563 calories to be exact. That is how much all the black team members combined consumed for their dinner. When that number is compared to the 1,612 that the blue team consumed it puts their binging into perspective.
Most of the black team members made comments such as, "it's just one day," or "I've worked so hard I deserve this."

How many times have these exact thoughts ran through your head? Or maybe you've even said them out loud. I know I have. We all get into these mindsets. Don't get me wrong, I'm so so SO for a little relaxation, for giving yourself a break, and for allowing some revamp time. Your body needs it. However, there is a complete difference between a little R&R and giving away the farm.

MODERATION folks. If you allow yourself some indulgences every now and then, chances are you aren't going to go binge-happy. It was crazy to see how all of the black team members didn't end up doing very well at their weigh-in, due to their overindulgence. All of them regretted getting so calorie-happy, and saw how they stunted the awesome progress they had been making.

Word of the day: Moderation.

*for some reason blogger won't let me change all the font to black. This is wack! My apologies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

See Megan Run...

This week was a good running week.
My runs during the week went by pretty quickly and proved to be pretty easy. I always feel better about my weekend long run when my weekday runs go well.
I was nervous about the 16 though. It's just a big number, let's be honest.
I decided that I was going to do my long run on Friday night instead of my usual Saturday morning because I had a bunch of stuff going on in the morning and I didn't want to have to get up at 5 AM.
I thought due to the nicer weather earlier in the week that I might be able to venture outside for the first time, but since it snowed all day Friday that was a negative. So, it was back to the treadmill for this week.
I have been wearing my Body Bugg faithfully, and was actually a little excited to see what the caloric burn was going to look life for my 16 mile run. I knew it would be big, and I was excited about that.
I got all my gym stuff all packed up and took it to work with me so I would be able to leave straight from work, go right to the gym, no questions asked. No time to contemplate a change of mind, no letting myself unwind and get tired, no stopping @ go, no collecting $200. You get the point.
*This is a GREAT hint for getting yourself to the gym. Plan a time, prepare for it, and don't give yourself a chance to change your mind. If going home after work to change and then get to the gym is going to lessen your chances of actually making it there, don't even allow for that time to second guess. Bring your gym clothes with you to work, change at the gym. 1/2 the battle is just getting yourself there.
I was sure to pack sufficient water, and some replenishment foods with me so I'd be prepped and ready to go. I think my Shot Blox saved me this go round. I really felt the increase in energy, and ability to keep going. I was also sure to stay hydrated the whole time, which really helped.
I'll be honest. It was long, but I felt so good when I was done. Good in an accomplished, very tired, sweaty, and starving sort of way. The good news was, as recorded on my Body Bugg I burned around 3300 calories for the day. Not too shabby ;)
Next week I get a break, and the mileage dips back down to 12. I'm quite pleased with that news. It's getting close!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Best Time of Day to Work Out

First and foremost, I LOVE the questions. They seriously make my day. I mean I could talk about health and fitness all day long, but I love hearing what exactly it is you want to know. So, keep em' coming!! I promise I'll get to them all sooner or later. It seems that many of you are concerned with what time of day is best to work out. Now, if you have your whole day open to pick a prime exercise time, lucky you, I'm going to break it down as to what times are better for what reasons. I know this isn't the case with most of you. So, let me just say; my answer to you?


I know that sounds simple, and it sounds very un-scientific, but let's be honest. It's the truth. Working out can be hard to fit in at times, so you need to plan accordingly. Now, if you have the leisure of picking when you workout there are pros and cons to different times of the day.

Scientists show that working out in the late afternoon is best for your body. It is when your muscle strength is at its peak. You are most awake and alert. You're in between meals so you aren't eating on a super full stomach. Your body temperature is highest between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM. This makes the muscles in the body more supple and less prone to injury.

Some will fight that a morning workout is most beneficial. Working out in the morning works best for a lot of people because it is the only time of day you will get it done. As we get tired throughout the day getting to the gym can seem daunting and very easy to put off. It is more likely that unexpected interruptions will come up in the later hours of the day than the wee hours of the morning. Exercising in the morning can get your metabolism revved, which is a great way to start the day. The question is, can you get yourself up and workout out in time to get on with your day?

Working out at night can have it's pros and cons as well. Like working out in the afternoon, working out at night can be the most alert and energetic time for some people. Depending on how your body reacts working out late at night can create some sleeping problems. If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night, working out right before your go to bed might cause your body to "wake up," making it even harder.

There is the break down. My two cents? Running five miles is going to burn the same amount of calories at 6:00 AM as it is at 4:00 PM or 8:00 PM. The time of day doesn't determine the amount of energy it requires you to workout. It may determine how much energy you have, how much time you have, and how likely you are to get a good workout in.
SO, like I said. The best time of day for you to work out? When you'll do it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Chains

Health Magazine recently named the top 10 healthiest places to eat out, and let me just tell you I LOVE this list. Complete with a few of my favorites. Here's how it broke down.

#1 - Panera Bread
#2 - Jason's Deli
#3 - Au Bon Pain
#4 - Noodles & Company
#5 - Corner Bakery and Cafe
#6 - Chipotle
#7 - Atlanta Bread
#8 - Mcdonalds
#9 - Einstein Bros. Bagels
#10 -Taco Del Mar

Reasons why I love this list...
-Jason's Deli...obviously...
-The only restaurants that don't show the nutrition facts online are Chipotle and Atlanta Bread. 8/10 ain't bad. I LOVE when restaurants provide the stats. It makes all of our lives easier when trying to make good eating out decisions.
-I know what you're thinking...WTF McDonalds!?!? I thought the same thing. BUT, then I re-thought about it and I feel better now. It's good to know places like McD's are trying to create healthy options for us to eat.

One thing to remember. Just because it's on the list doesn't mean you should go there and have a hay day. There are still plenty of un-healthy menu options, there are some huge portions, there is still the option that you might overeat. SO, look at the nutrition facts beforehand. Find good options that will work for you. Be smart. Be careful. Be healthy!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Chest Press on stability ball

You have probably all done or atleast seen the normal chest press, but there are some things you can do in addition to the regular chest press to increase the work you're doing. Grab a physioball and place it under your upper back. Keep your knees inline with your ankles and be sure to press those hips up. You want to squeeze your glutes the ENTIRE time. You'll start to feel it in your hamstrings, your glutes, and your lower back. Keep those abs tight as well. Do a set of 8-12 reps here.
If you want to add to the burn, when you are finished with your set of chest presses place your weights in the creases of your hips. Dip your buns down to the ground to where they are almost touching the floor and press your glutes back up to the ceiling as high as you can get them. Remember to sqeeze. Do 15 of these!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I got the Bugg!

I got a Bodybugg! I am SO SO SO excited about it. What is a Bodybugg? It is a device that is worn on your arm that measures caloric burn and steps taken. The basic principle behind weight loss is that you must burn more calories than you intake. By having an exact determination of how many calories your body burns throughout the day you can better determine what your calorie deficit needs to be. The Bodybugg is used with a companion website where your calories burned and food consumed are logged. I have wanted one of these for a couple of years now, and I'm so excited to get serious about my stats!! I'll let you know how it goes.
(p.s. the biggest loser contestants all wear these...seems to work for them, no?)
(p.p.s. shout out to Benita for hooking me up with a sweet deal!! We're partners in crime here.)