Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Still Smiling in October

This month my focus has been on optimism and for the most part I have taken my own advice and using the 5 way to practise optimism to keep a smile on my face and look towards good results for my efforts.  So far so good… I am pleased.

I have been working out like crazy this month… The Captain and I are almost at the end of the 9th and final week in our Metabolic Aftershock workouts. This last phase has been especially hard and l have not been running at all between workout sessions.  The phase 3 MA workouts are very leg-intensive and other than walking on ‘off’ days, I thought it best to preserve our leg muscles for the workouts themselves.  I am not sorry the program will reach its natural conculsion at the end of the week. I have enjoyed it and found it very good for building up my should strength, as well as firming me through the middle along with my butt and thighs. 

And I have been doing very well in the eats department lately too.  I have finally ditched the Sugar Monster am enjoying some lower carb days again.  It really does suit me better – no cravings whatsoever, and I can even enjoy an occasional glass of red wine as long as I am having a protein/fat snack with it.  YAY!

I am not following any program in particular, although I have been reading a lot this week…

Oct 28 low carb books 001

Right now I am just watching my macros, keeping net carbs (carbs – fibre) to about  50g per day.  It is working very well for me and I feel great, have a ton of energy and am sleeping like a baby.

Low carb isn’t scary… or difficult. It just takes some planning. I am eating lots of leafy greens, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, zukes, etc… and somewhat limiting fruit, squashes, sweet potates, beats, peas, and carrots.  And of course I am getting lots of protein and ample healthy fat… that is the key to staying satisfied, for me.

I have been going through my own food blog We can begin to feed… looking for some of my favorite low carb recipes to make, too.  I thought I would share a couple of my staples with you here today.

The first is a lovely little Low Carb Flatbread… made from eggs and cooked cauliflower.  No, you cannot taste the cauliflower!  And these flatbreads freeze and thaw very nicely.  I always have some in my freezer and use them for quick sandwiches. You can use them open-faced or fold-over style too.  Love them.

Low-Carb Flatbread

And this next one if a special treat. It is my High Protein Angel Food Cake.  It is perfect for when you want a nice dessert or even just a ‘sweet’ with a cup of tea. The ‘sweet’ comes from the taste of vanilla protein powder in it… or you can add a bit of stevia if you use it and want a sweeter taste.  I made one up last night and we enjoyed  some of it with some whipped cream and a few berries.   I have also eaten it with some melted peanut butter drizzled over the top. Truly delicious.

High Protein Angel Food Cake

I plant to keep it up because I feel so good, and then once we get back from Vegas, delve more deeply into it… as well as start on a new exercise program.  Perhaps get back to some lifting… and running, of course.

Do you have a favorite low carb dish?  I would love to hear about it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What a Week… Faves and Raves

It has been a fly-by week… where do the hours go?  The days?

I finally made a commitment to a new phone on Wednesday and walked downtown to pick it up and upgrade my phone plan after lunch and a doctor's appointment.  I came home quite elated and pleased with my purchase, although I didn’t play with it too much as I wanted to make sure to let the battery charge up fully.

Thursday I worked 2 shifts and then spent some time at home in the evening with my feet up, sipping a glass of wine, and watching some favorite tv shows on the HDPVR.

I must have been tired because I didn’t wake up till almost 8:30 on Friday morning… made a promise to The Captain to do our 3rd Metabolic Aftershock workout with him on Saturday morning if we could spend Friday running errands and shopping… which we did. And they took all day with just a quick stop for a bite to eat at noon.


I had no idea that setting up my new smartphone would take as much time as setting up a new computer. But I love it. I can see now why people are married to their phones… I can keep all of my email accounts open at once and alternate between them with a flick of my fingers… instead of opening and closing each one like I do on the pc… and that holds for Twitter and Google as well. 

Lots of other excitement around here this week too… to tell you just a couple of things…

This box arrived from Temple Scott Associates… the PR firm for CLIF bar in Canada. I love it when they send me goodies and this was no exception… CLIF bar is introducing 2 new seasonal flavors in Canada this year and they shared one of each with me.  Lovely!

Oct 21 CLIF pkg 001

Oct 21 CLIF pkg 002

Pecan Pie and Spiced Pumpkin Pie… I could have devoured them both immediately, but I am waiting for an occasion to share them….  have you tried them yet?

I purchased a couple of new carry-on bags for us to take to Vegas and they arrived while I was at work on Thursday. They actually measure a bit larger than the tag on them reads.  We are going to take them to the airport and see if they fit into the airlines luggage holder… if they don’t, and we would have to check them instead of being allowed to carry them on, I will take a larger bag.. why skimp on pretty dressy clothes and shoes if I don’t have to, right?

A local market had Celestial Seasonings teas on sale.. BOGO so I got a few boxes of this delicious Rooibos blend. Love the flavor and it is naturallly caffeine-free so nice for The Captain in the evenings.

Oct 22 Rooibos tea 002

A few favorite blog posts this week:

  • Why Cross Train? at Go Believe Conquer
      • some benefits of cross training and ideas for workouts.

  • Avoiding FOMO at Beast Mode
    • it is contagious… have you been struck with FOMO?

Anything fun happen at your house this week?

Would you need more than a carryon holds for a week in Las Vegas?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Reasons to Take a Break From Your Exercise Program

The Captain and I have been working our way through a second round of the Metabolic Aftershock workouts.  For those of you not familiar with the program, I will share a bit about it.  I bought the program and downloaded the workouts, in video format, led by the creator and performed by 3 different 'trainers', each one doing an easy, normal,  or harder version of the exercises.

It is a series of bodyweight exercises and each session takes 15 minutes to get through. There is a warm up provided, then the workout.  And you are instructed to do your own cool/stretch session and then go for walk.  Our stretch and cool down takes about 4 or 5 minutes and then we put on dry clothing and head out for a brisk half hour walk… we love these workouts, and the way they leave us energized for the day… but that is another post.

The program is broken down into three 3-week phases.  Each phase has 3 workouts… A, B, and C which are to be performed on non-consecutive days of the week.  For example, during weeks 1 through 3 we did phase 1 A on Mondays, phase 1 B on Wednesdays and phase 1 C on Fridays… then weeks 4 through 6 we did phase 2 workouts and weeks 7 through 9 we are getting through phase 3 workouts… the 9 weeks will end nicely just before we head to Las Vegas for a week… and that got me to thinking about the the subject of this post.

For me, there have been lots of different reasons, or perhaps excuses, to take a break from my current exercise program.  Some of them pretty lame, when I think back over the years… but for the most part, once I start something, I tend to see it through. But there are times and circumstances that give way to legitimate reasons to take a break.  Let’s look at my top 5.

5 reasons

1.  You are injured or become ill.

This is probably the most important reason, in my opinion, to take a break.  You need time to let the injury heal properly and completely... or to recover from your flu or chest cold, whatever it may be, before you can resume your workouts.  Sometimes you can change to a different exercise but sometimes you just genuinely need to stop and  rest.  And if you see a doctor, make sure you discuss your concerns with them and follow their instructions.

2.  The program has come to its natural/planned conclusion.

The Metabolic Aftershock program I am following right now is 9 weeks long.  In the past I have done strength training programs that are 12 weeks long. I have done bootcamp sessions that are 3 months long. Perhaps you have been training for a half marathon and the race is run and done.  When the program is over,  it is a great time to take a few days off and then start something new.

3. You are not enjoying it anymore.

Not every type of exercise is for everyone.  I love to try every new workout and exercise style that comes along… well most of them… but sometimes I get myself into something that I just don’t care for… and I eventually get bored or decide really hate it and quit.  I did #plankaday for weeks but really started to feel like it was just annoying. It’s okay.  Find something different and move on.

4.  You are mentally burned out.

Our lives get hectic… busy… stressful.  And very often, regular exercise is just what the doctor ordered to help ease our tension and give us an endorphin lift.  But if the diffucult schedule, or the cost of coach or trainer or classes, or the rigors of it all are just adding to the stress in your life, it may be time to take a break till things settle down.  Or, it just might be that you have hit a stalemate and cannot face another day of burpees in your bootcamp, or one more uphill mile in your 10k training… you’ll know.  Do yourself a huge favor and take a rest.

5.  You are  not making any progress.

Sometimes our progress just stalls.  We can’t lift any more weight. We can't do any more reps. We can’t shave any more seconds off our 5k runs.  It  just might be time to give the body a rest… then get back to it with fresh muscles or a new plan of attack.

Have you ever taken a break from your exercise program?  How did it help or hinder your performance or your attitude?

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Week… Faves and Raves

It has been a really good week of eats and workouts… and some other fun things.  Here are some of the highlights…

The Captain and I both volunteered at the GoodLife Fitness Marathon expo last Friday afternoon/evening, passing out shirts to the race entrants. It is always such a fun experience as everyone is excited about their upcoming race and full of energy. 

We got nice volunteer shirts this year… I have actually worn mine already… they are roomy and a very soft technical fabric.  This is front and back.

Oct 11 stuff 002

My Sweat Pink swag arrived… and I immediately laced up my indoor workout shoes.  And, I have already been passing along pink shoelaces to friends and acquaintances.

Oct 11 stuff 001

I tried the Vanilla Chai nutritional shake mix from Vega One that I purchased last week… it’s an odd color but I loved the taste. And it really kept me satisfied for several hours. I  will definitely be packing some of these in my suitcase when we head to Vegas in a couple of of weeks.  Now to try the Chocolate….

Oct 10 Vega 001

I picked up some new frozen yogurt bars this week… Chapman’s is a Canadian company so I was pleased to find them locally.  They are delicous… and just the right size when you want just a wee bit of creamy sweetness…. they also come in Strawberry and Tiger Paw as well as chocolate-dipped.  Yes, please!

Oct 12 Chapman's icecream bars 001

Oct 12 Chapman's icecream bars 002

It was Thanksgiving in Canada on Monday so of course we went for a nice long walk before sitting down to a lovely turkey dinner… with a stop at Starbuck’s for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, non-fat no whip.  Such a beautiful day.  We wore our rain jackets to start out but ended up in just shirt sleeves for the walk home.  Funny, it seems lately when  go out prepared for rain it doesn't happen!

Happy Thanksgiving

The terrible quality of that picture has prompted me to finally make a decision about new cell phones and service providers and plans so getting on that, probably Monday.  YAY!  Instagram here I come…

I have been reading some very good blog posts and articles… here are my recommendations this week:

  • Ways to Measure Body Fat at Running Rachel
    • Rache had her body fat measured 3 different ways and talks about the experience. Interesting and informative.

What’s your favorite frozen treat?

Do you take most of your pictures with your phone or a camera?

Android or iphone or Windows 8.1?  Which model?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Penchant for Pilates

I discovered Pilates in the Fall of 2001 and practised it faithfully 2 or 3 times per week during the Winter months. Even though I had room on the sailboat to perform the Pilates mat exercises, I didn't feel inclined to do them during the Summer when we were sailing and hiking every day.

By the Fall of 2006 I had developed an inflammation in my head that wreaked havoc with my balance and caused terrible dizziness when I would move from a prone position to sitting or standing.  I had to give up Pilates and yoga altogether, until a couple of years ago, when I learned, through trial and error, that my inflammation was caused by eating gluten.  Once I gave up the gluten, the inflammation and it’s unpleasant side effects disappeared and I am happy to say that I can now practise both Pilates and yoga whenever I like.

I have never been to a Pilates class with a live instructor.  I became familiar with the moves by using a couple of different DVDs that were aimed at a beginner audience.   I still use them even though I have tried others.

I love the flow of the movements. I love the way I feel after I complete a Pilates mat workout…. sleeker, longer… and I am very aware of how I carry myself for the rest of the day. My posture is much improved because I am paying attention to it.

Elle Childs Pose

For me, Pilates is the most enjoyable way to strengthen and tone my core, my back, my thighs, and my butt.  It is a lovely compliment to running and body weight workouts.  It builds stamina and endurance and aids in concentration because it makes you focus on the present... it is a wonderful sleep aid and stress reducer, too.

When Lynda Lippin offered to let me try out a couple of her Pilates routines, available in audio format, I readily agreed. 

Lynda Lippin is currently a Master Pilates Specialist at Real Pilates in Tribeca and also maintains a small, exclusive, private client practice. Lynda worked overseas for several years at Parrot Cay (an exclusive, A-List, private island resort and spa), and currently recruits Pilates teachers as needed for overseas positions in A-list spas.

Lynda is the recipient of numerous awards in her field, including 2003 Best of Philly® Pilates Studio and the 2011 SpaFinder Magazine Reader's Choice Award for Best Pilates in the World. She is a Master Reiki practitioner and holds certifications in TRX as well as Kettlebells.

I tried 2 of Linda’s workouts – Pilates for Lower Back Pain, and the Basic Mat Class.  And I have done each of them several times now.

Linda’s voice is very pleasant to listen to and her instructions are clear, well-timed and easy to understand. Her words are well-chosen.

She tells you exactly how to move and where to concentrate your focus, and how the movements should feel. I think this is really important. In Pilates, the movements are often small, but precise and you need to know what parts of your body should remain still while others move.

I played the audio files on my laptop computer during the workouts. They both take between 30 to 40 minutes to perform and offer a tough but refreshing workout.

You can find/purchase Linda’s audio files at http://pilatesandreiki.com/pilates-audios/

Other places on to find Lynda are:

Are you a Pilates fan too?