Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Canada Day

June 30 Canada Day 002

To all of our Canadian friends and family…
Hope you are all having a fun and safe Canada Day celebration!

Happy 146th Birthday, Canada!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friday Faves and Raves

It’s Friday!

  Where did the week go?

Let's see.  I did my Boot Camp workouts.  I ran.  I walked. I worked.  I shopped for a ton of groceries.  I checked on my family in flooded out Calgary and sent a nice card off to my MIL.   I read blog posts and commented on dozens of them, and kept in touch with my friends on Facebook, Twitter, by email and Weight Watchers forum.  I entered giveaways, hosted giveaways, and also won a couple of giveaways…. fun.

I baked cookies…   Bacon Chocolate Chip…. awesome!  Thanks to Gina for these.  I think they are the best cookies EVER.  The Captain thinks they are okay but still hasn't figured out the SECRET ingredient.

June 25 bacon cookies 004

I watched a turtle in the park across the street digging a hole and laying eggs… and shed a few tears I must admit as I was overcome with emotion at her devoted efforts.


I ate some great breakfasts, thanks to The Captain taking over k.p. duty a couple of times.  

June 27 breakfast 001

And I have been reading an incredible book that I wish I had found half a lifetime ago…. but I guess everything appears in it’s own time and when you are ready for it.

June 25 Primal Blueprint 001

I have also become a Starbuck’s fan… this is a huge surprise to me. I have always loved coffee and tea but have never really been a ‘going out for coffee’ kind of person.  But lately… meet me at Starbucks…. I am even learning the lingo.  

I watched kite gliding above the beach…

June 8 walk 011

I listened to the laughter of groups of children in the park… these ones all wearing matching hats.

June 14 kids in park 002

And I found some early strawberries coming in my container garden on the balcony…

June 15 garden 001

It has been a great week!

What was your favorite thing this week?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Best Body Boot Camp…. Zen?

I woke up early this morning…. 5:38 a.m. to be exact.  And I got out of bed to visit the washroom, opened the balcony door a bit…  noticed that my street was enveloped in fog and went back to bed, hoping for another hour’s sleep.

But it was not to be because the great blue herons that are nesting in the trees in the park across the street started screeching just as I laid my head back down, and it went on and on so at about ten past 6 o’clock  I gave in and got up. (You won’t be surprised to learn the birds quieted down about then, too.)

But I didn’t mind, really.  I was well-rested and eager to start the day.  I knew that after my morning lime-water and Epicor, and a few sips of coffee, I would be tackling another round of strength training.

Best Body Boot Camp don’t ya know?


I am going into each session of my strength workouts in kind of a Zen mode. 

I am not rushing through them… just to get done and on with my day.  I am relaxed, and focused on the muscles doing each movement, really feeling the peak contraction and the exertion taking place.  I am kind of enjoying the fatigue and embracing the difficulty of the last few reps of each set.  And I am making sure to do the proper rest between supersets, and to take all the time I need for a good stretch afterwards. 

I am even enjoying how tired my muscles feel a few hours later.  I know that they will repair, grow, and get stronger.  It is the reward for the work.  I almost feel a bit smug about it…. not Zen at all, I know.

Best Body Boot Camp just fits me. 

Each of the strength workouts takes me about half an hour to perform… give or take 5 or 10 minutes either way.  It is enough to make me feel like I have had a really intense, and challenging workout… but not too much so that I have no energy left for the rest of my day. 

And I know that I can modify each move to suit me if I need.  For example: I cannot do Decline Pushups from the Stability Ball when I am alone.  I am not confident enough in my ability to hold the ball steady, so I either have The Captain spot me, or I do the pushups with my feet on the couch, or I do them on the floor.  Any which way, they are still a challenge… just ask my shoulders!

What is your mindset when you start your workouts?

Are you eager to get them done or do you really enjoy them?

Vi-Shape High Protein Flax Pancakes

Recently I was invited to create a recipe using Vi-Shape Shake Mix for the Visalus ‘90 for 90‘campaign.

I have always been a big fan of pancakes and so wanted to come up with something easy and quick to prepare... and delicious.  I think I succeeded.  The shake mix is quite tasty so there is no need to add vanilla or cinnamon but I did use some milled flax seeds to give the pancakes a bit more body and texture.

Any fresh or frozen fruit would be a lovely topping for these easy pancakes…  strawberries in season just happen to be my favorite.  They are chock full of antioxidants and are low in calories and carbs.  I think they are just the right accent for the Vi-Shape Shake Mix pancakes.

visalus collage

High Protein Flax Pancakes
Makes 2 servings  of 2 cakes each
  • 2 heaping scoops Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake Mix
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 Tbs unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 small ripebanana, mashed
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the protein powder, egg whites, Almond Breeze, and flax seeds, till well-combined.
  2. Mash the banana in a separate small bowl, then mix into the other ingredients. Stir until batter is smooth.
  3. Lightly Coat a saucepan with non-stick spray and set over MEDIUM heat. Pour 1/4 of the mixture into the warm pan and spread  gently till it is a circle about 4 - 5 inches in diameter.
  4. Let cook several minutes. You will see a bit of bubbling from underneath when it is ready to flip. 
  5. Gently loosen all around the edges with a spatula and flip the pancake over. Cook a couple of minutes more.
  6. Remove the pancake to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  7. Cook the rest of the pancakes in the same manner.
  8. Top with fruit of your choice or syrup to serve.
Per serving of 2 pancakes without toppings.
Calories 169; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat5 g; Fibre 4g.

Visalus supplied me with the shake mix to create this recipe.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Check Out Koge Vitamins

I was given the opportunity to try out Koge Vitamins through my association with  Fitfluential LLC and after visiting the Koge Vitamin web site, and learning a bit more about the company, I was eager to try them.

Koge Vitamins was founded  by 2 Canadian men and is a direct ship operation… that means they send the vitamins directly to your door, leaving out the middleman and the retailer.  The price to the consumer is ultimately less.  You can set up an auto-ship if you like so you don't have to worry about running out.

Koge has very strict quality standards and uses only natural ingredients in their production, which takes place in North America.  Every ingredient undergoes thorough analytical testing and all finalized products are rigorously examined for nutritional purity, potency and accuracy.

And because Koge Vitamins donates a percentage from every sale to supply manlnourished children with Vitamin A, you are supporting that humanitarian cause when you shop at Koge Vitamins.  You can read more about that effort on their web site.

Koge has several supplements for sale in their lineup:
  • Daily Essentials
  • Antioxidant Collection
  • Weight Management
  • Energy Pack
  • Whey Protein
You can look at each individually and see what it has been designed to do for you and what ingredients it includes, and why each has been selected.  You can also read the label details.

And  everything you need for a single dosing is included in the package. No need to choose different pills or capsules from different bottles.  Just open the bottle and take out a single cello package.

June 14 Visalus and Koge 002

For example, I am taking the Energy Pack right now.  It was designed to provide the body with the optimal energy boost needed to function at full capacity all throughout the day.

It includes 4 different capsules which are made up of:
  • Coenzyme Q-10 with L-taurine
  • Korean Ginseng
  • Guarana
  • Ayur Indian Ginseng
I simply open the package and take the supplements with my breakfast each morning.  So easy when they are all together in one place.

June 14 Visalus and Koge 003

You can learn about the other packs by checking out the Koge Vitamin web site.

Note: I was given a single bottle of Koge Vitamins but the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CLIF bars–new flavors to share!

CLIF bar wants to share 2 of their exciting new flavors with one of my Canadian friends.

That’s right… CLIF bar has introduced 2 new flavors in Canada this Spring and boy, are they delicious.

White Chocolate Macadamia and Coconut Chocolate Chip

The Captain cannot decide which one he likes better, but has been doing his best to keep taste testing them...

CLIF collage

But you likely already know that CLIF bars are not ALL about tasting great… they are made with over 70% organic ingredients and are wonderfully portable.  They don’t melt or get gooey in your pocket on a warm day.  And they have a nice, moist texture so you don’t need water to wash them down when you eat them on the go… hiking or biking, or just out and about running errands.

Stash one in your bag or in your pocket, and off you go…

They have approximately 250 calories and 10g of protein each so really are a mini-meal in themselves... or share one with your companion if you only need a bit of a snack.

I have also been sharing them with coworkers and friends because CLIF bar generously gave me several to sample and they are just too good to keep to myself.  Everyone I have given one to absolutely loves them.

Would you like to try some for yourself?

One of my Canadian readers will receive 2 each of  the 2 new flavors  - 4 bars in total to the winner, shipped directly from the sponsor.

To enter, you must have a Canadian address for shipping, and you must leave a comment below telling me what other flavor of CLIF bars you have tried or would like to try.

Be sure to leave your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win.

I will accept entries until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Monday, June 24th and I will choose a winner some time on Tuesday, June 25th and contact you by email.   If I do  not have an email address at which to contact you, I will have to discard your entry and then select an alternate winner.

After a winner has been verified, I will post the name on this post.

And the winner is...  Anna Sherwood 

And do check out the CLIF bar web site… the story of how CLIF bars came to be is interesting and I know you will find the company’s efforts to make our world a betetr place quite inspiring.

Note:  I was given CLIF bars to sample and review but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, June 17, 2013


So excited when I got up today because Round 6 of Best Body Boot Camp starts today…


Last night I reviewed the exercises that make up today’s workout, again, and I formulated and wrote out my 2 nutrition goals for this week.  Makes them more real when I actually write them down…  Do you write down your goals?

I am going into this Best Body Boot Camp with an intenion in my mindset…. 

At the beginning of the year I selected a mantra, a single word that would help motivate me through the year. 


It is a Japanese word, and loosely translated to English, it means daily improvement….. continuously getting better, a little at a time.  And I chose it to remind me that it is more important for me to make progress, and not be perfect… both with my fitness and my nutrition.

Recently I read a book called The NEW Evolution Diet, What our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us About Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging…. and this came across a passage that ties in with my mantra so well…

“ The main goal here is to reach for intensity.  I don’t want this to sound scary, but each workout needs to take you to an extreme.  Your body should be required to do something it has never done before. I’ve seen people who turn their gym workouts into a routine as predictable s any other , like a task they can do on autopilot.  They don’t realize they need to push themselves, so they settle for a mildly taxing session that pretty much replicates all the workouts they’ve done before.

This defeats the entire purpose of exercise.  You should be looking for an experience that will change you, inside and out.  Each workout is supposed to leave its mark on you, alter you – to make you a better specimen of human being than when you walked in the door.  And that’s only possible if your exertions reach the point of intensity.  “

Those simple couple of paragraphs are so powerful… and really motivate me as I am about to get into my workout gear this morning and take on my first strength workout of this current Boot Camp session. 

I am stoked… I am excited… and ready to give it my all.

Do your workouts change you… do you work out with intensity?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Smiles… a bit of Softsoap

How did it get to be Saturday already? 

This week seems to have flown past me…

I did get in some workouts and a run… and am planning a run in an hour or so after my lunch settles a bit more. 

I am very excited to be starting the next round of Best Body Boot Camp on Monday… have been reviewing the first week’s strength workouts to make sure that I know what to be prepared for.  I am so glad that I got to review the Core Ball from Empower Fitness recently because I can see that Tina is using a stability ball in several of the exercises.  I have used it a few times otherwise, too, and am feeling a bit more sure of myself on it.

I don’t fall off of it nearly as often as I did at first!

Apr 23 Core Ball 001

Here are some other things I am smiling about right now…

There are strawberries coming on the little plants on the balcony container garden…

June 15 garden 001

and herbs too.

June 15 garden 002

I have been reading some really interesting books.

June 15 Stuff 002

And really enjoying soaking in the tub!  I was the lucky winner of a Softsoap giveaway a while back from Suzi at Confessions of a Fitness Instructor and received  a huge bin full of bath products… 9 different body washes, and I can hardly wait to see my sister again so I can share some with her. 

June 15 Stuff 001

I have been eating some great meals… today for lunch I made Chicken Fried ‘Cauliflower’ Rice, with mushrooms, snow peas, onions, garlic, and a bit of Mann’s Rainbow Slaw… awesome.

June 15 lunch cauli rice 001

And I am so in love with the living across the street from a 165-acre park that has no fences.  I t has been so much fun watching the various groups of ducklings getter bigger and braver…

June 8 walk 003

And having the beach so close….

June 8 walk 014

What is making you smile today?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Run, Shake, ALT

We got out for a 5 km run late this morning… I really wanted to run today but once we actually got out there and moving, I didn’t want to actually DO it…. has that ever happened to you?

As soon as we got going I told The Captain it was going to be a pokey run, and to just take it easy – I didn’t dare tell him I didn’t want to run because he would have jumped on the chance to not do it and quit – I just kept plodding along, hoping it would get easier… but it never did.

But when it was all done, it was not the slowest 5km I have ever run by a long shot… it was a fairly respectable 35 minutes.

When we got home I decided I deserved an ‘after run’ protein treat for my perseverance.
I made a smoothie for The Captain and I grabbed a chocolate Premier Protein drink out of the fridge for  me. I won them a  few weeks ago and hadn’t tried one yet.  I have been having some whey protein powder again lately and decided it would be a good time to try one of these drinks. 

premier protein shake

I love the N.I. on this label….. 30g protein, 3g fat and only 5g carbs, 3 of which are fibre.  And it was a really good chocolate flavor, too.

Later, after lunch, The Captain checked the mail box, and found a nice little package for me from LARABAR.  I was quite excited to open it and look what I found!

June 12 ALT bar 001

A nice little cloth bag stuffed with one each of their 4 new ALT bars.  These flavors sound awesome:  Cinnamon Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Pie, Peanut Butter Cookie, Lemon Pound Cake.  Yummers.

And you know that because they come from LARABAR that the ingredients are Vegan, and Gluten-free, Dairy-Free and non-GMO.  And this is especially nice for me because they are not currently available in Canada.

There are 10g of protein in each of these bars and it comes from PEAS… So different and I am excited to try them out.  Probably a good thing I had just eaten a good solid lunch when I opened this parcel!  But I am going to be sharing one with The Captain later …

Have you tried either of these things yet?

What do you like to have for a protein boost after you run?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Caveman Pops and Workouts

Thank GOODNESS for library memberships. If I had to pay for every book I read I would never be able to earn enough money to cover that bill.

I am like a dog with a bone sometimes.   When I like something, I cannot let go.  When a particular subject interests me, I cannot read ENOUGH about it. I have to search out and read every book that has EVER been published about my area of interest.

Right now this broad subject includes healthy eats and effective exercise… for me that translates into a primal diet and muscle-building, fat-burning workouts.

Call it what you like… Paleo, Primal, Evolution, Caveman, Perfect Health, Protein Power…  they are all pretty much the same.  The more I read about healthy immune systems, and insulin resistance/ metabolic syndrome and their health consequences, the more convinced I am that I am on the right path.  For me.  

And I am getting more and more interested in strength training and loving it more and more… and I have also been reading about high intensity short bursts of cardio.  I have been reading about sprinting and how it may enhance my strength training…. and the fact that it is a form of running makes it that much more appealing.

The book of the day is called The  Protein Power Plan, by doctors Michael R. Eades, and Mary Dan Eades.  It was published in 2000.  Now I know that so much of the nutrition information that is a few years old even, is no longer valid, but this book backs up what I have already read in other, newer books about insulin resistance and overcoming it. 

And it has a couple of things in it that I can not help but sharing with you today.

The first is an idea for a burst of antioxidants that the authors call Paleo Punch and Pops.  They suggest you can either drink it like a slushy, or put it into freezer pop molds… hey that sounds good!  Very timely with Summer upon us. 

The freezer molds I used hold a total of 3 cups so you will need to change the amounts to suit your own molds.  Here is how I made them:

Paleo  Pops
  • 2 cups frozen berry mixture (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • bit of Stevia (this is optional of course)
  1. Place water and berries into a heavy-duty blender and process until smooth and thick.
  2. Pour into freezer pop molds and freeze overnight. 

June 11 Paleo Pops 001

June 11 Paleo Pops 002

June 11 Paleo Pops 003

And the workout?  Well this just sounded so fun that I had to go outside and give it a try.  It was even more fun doing it, and a great workout too - although I admit I did not do the last exercise... I just don't have an appropriate 'rock'...    Definitely worked my whole body over.

It is 5 simple exercises… and the authors describe it by way of a game.  All you need is a pair of supportive shoes, some comfy clothing, a timer or a watch with a second hand and your IMAGINATION.   I know you do have all of those things.

1. Sprint from the Lion

You can do this on foot, on a bike, rowing, or even on cross country skis in the Winter.  If you are in the gym try it on a stepping machine, a stationary bike or a rowing machine, or just jog in place.

You will want to warm up for a few minutes and then once you feel warm, imagine that you are walking across a plain, when suddenly you spot a lion, who also sees you too.  SPRINT.  Go as fast as you can for 10 to 30 seconds.    Then rest and catch your breath for 30 seconds before sprinting again.  Repeat the cycle 5 or 6 times.

The authors say that research has shown that you will get a calorie-burning metabolic boost from this session that will last for hours.  Try it a couple of times a week.

2. Leap to the Tree

Imaging you are standing under a tree, when all at once an angry rhinoceros spots you, and starts snorting and then charges.  There’s no time to run.  All you can do is jump for the strong, low limb on the tree above you.

This is a series of 3 to 5 jump squats with arms swinging to overhead, with rest intervals of about 30 seconds.  Repeat 4 or 5 times and then stretch.

3. Crossing the River

Imagine that  you and your tribe have decided to move your encampment to a better location across the river.  Of course this means packing all your belongings and as you walk you come to a wide stream that is dotted with 5 or 6 large boulders.  You must hop from boulder to boulder to cross the water.
Jump from side to side, making the biggest hop you can, pushing off with your foot as you go from right to left and back, knees flexed.  Balance briefly on the landing leg before the next leap.  Rest for 30 seconds and then cross back over the river, to get more of your possessions.  Repeat the crossing for a total of 6 times and then stretch.

4. Bringing Home the Buffalo

This exercise is to mimic the work that our ancestors would have done in carrying heavy loads, pushing and pulling the carcasses of large animals and involves a few moves.

Do  5 full body pushups… or do them on your knees. 

Then stand up and with about 3 feet between your feet, toes pointing slightly outward.  You can use dumbells on your shoulders for added weight if you like.  Squat as low as you are able and hold there for a count of 10 .  Return slowly to the standing position, and immediately squat again and hold.  Try to do 4 or 5 squats.

Imagine you are standing on the edge of a ravine, helping to haul 2 tons of buffalo to the top.  Start by laying down with your knees bent and your chin tucked into your chest.  Stretch your arms out in front as you tighten your abs against the great buffalo body you are trying to lift and slowly curl yourself around a point just under your rib cage.  Hold for a count of 5 and then slowly lower back down…. repeat for a total of 5 curls.

Lay on your tummy with you palms under your chest, thumb to thumb, making a small triangle at the level of your breastbone.  Do 5 pushups in rapid succession with your weight falling on your triceps.  Rest 15 or 20 seconds and then repeat…. for 4 or 5 cycles with rest intervals between.

Flip on your back and then repeat the ab curls 5 more times.  By now you should have gotten that buffalo up the hill.

5. Defending the Camp

Imagine your encampment has been attacked by a rampaging mammoth. You need to use the large rocks that are laying on the ground everywhere to hurl at your adversary.  But use a medicine ball, a soccer ball, or even a basketball for this exercise.

Hoist your ‘rock’ high over  your head and with arms extended, throw it with all your might at the ground, or in the direction of your partner if you have one.  Have your partner participate by throwing it back at you.  If  you are working alone, a ball will tend to bounce away on you.  Retrieve your ‘rock’ and repeat 5 times in  a row.  Rest 30 seconds and repeat.  After 4 or 5 cycles you will have saved the day!

So much fun and a great little full body workout… sometimes play (or running from lions) is the best exercise.

What do you think?  Is this something you would try?

Do you PLAY when you workout?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Bits, Bites and Handfuls

I woke up this morning, eager to get the day started.

While I kept an eye on the women’s final match of the French Open, I started baking!  I made a dozen Bacon and Egg Muffins and then a batch of Sweet Potato Applesauce Bites.

I love my new little mini muffin tin…these little bites really are just bite size and perfect for an after workout snack or when I just need a bit of something. I am trying not to eat so many nuts and hope having something like this made up will help!  But, yes, darn it, they are even more delicious with a bit of almond butter on top… what isn’t?

June 8 Sweet Potato Applesauce Bites 003

Then we had breakfast and waited a full hour before getting into our running gear and heading outside.

I have not been running much at all lately.  And I am paying for it when I do.  On Monday we did a 5k to get in our 5 by the 5th run, and even though I thought I stretched well afterward, I had really dead legs all afternoon and a few cramps during the night.

The Captain thinks it was because 5k was too far after not having run for almost a month… so today, I decided to only do a loop around the park which maps out to 3.4 k.  And after, I stretched for a full 10 minutes and will get in a nice walk after lunch, to keep my muscles loose and engaged… perhaps another stretch too, before an epsom salts soak in the tub.

I also plan to spend the evening in my Tommie Copper compression tights!

Not running sucks.  And it is my own fault. I have been concentrating so much on my strength/resistance training and have let the running go.  Not a good idea I know now, unless I decide to give it up altogether, and I am not even contemplating that!

So, balance, as in all things… something I have just never been good at. 

Okay, moving right along…..

You all  know that I love me some Handful.
But do you do know that Handful is moving their production to the U.S.A. ?  You can score a great deal on some product and help move their financial goals along, too.  Check it out at this web site link and place an order, or even just make a pledge.


I got a new Tommie Copper tee yesterday… I won it in a giveaway a couple of months ago and it just arrived. Love love the color!

from the TC web site

Okay, it’s off to make some lunch… how is your Saturday shaping up?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gone Sailin’

I started out the week with a commitment to myself.

I will get in all my workouts this week! So far so good…

On Monday morning The Captain joined me for a 5 km run. It was the 6th and last event in the 5 by the 5th series that Laura from Mommy Run Fast has hosted this year… It was the first time I had run in a few weeks and wow were my legs tired in the evening… even had some cramping and wore my Tommie Copper compression tights for a few hours till bedtime.

After the run we stretched, hydrated and then went out for a swim.  I did 15 minutes of laps before retiring to the Jacuzzi… mmmmm…. and then after lunch I did a 20 minute Pilates session.

This morning I got up and got right  to it… did a 20 minute full body Tabata session and then we had breakfast, packed a quick lunch and headed off to the marina to take our sloop out for the day.

It was our first sail of the season and I realized I never blog about sailing anymore… so thought I would share some pictures from the outing.

June 4 sailing 001
The Captain getting the mainsail ready before we head out.

June 4 sailing 002
Quiet and calm… happy happy girl!

There was very little wind today… which suited me just fine.  I like to take some time getting my sea legs and there are so many little things I forget when we are not on the boat all the time, that it was really nice to start out gently.

The Captain calls me a ‘helm hog’ because I like to be at the wheel instead of using the autohelm device for steering… and he does all the sail raising and lowering, and all of the tacking.  He is a good first mate and we had a really fun afternoon… lunch on board, a gentle sail and a beautiful blue and quiet day on the water.  Reminded me of why we bought that boat in the first place.

June 4 sailing 009
Such a beautiful day – could see the snow on the mountain tops on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics in Washington State, about 45 miles away.

I do let him take the wheel once we get back into the marina though cause we have to back down our little channel and into our slip, and he is much more patient with it than I am.  When we get to the dock, I hop off  and then he does, and we pull the boat back into the right spot in her slip. Yes, we have it down to a science and politely say ‘no thank you’ to anyone who may be passing by cause they always offer assistance.

This awesome weather we are having is supposed to last a couple of weeks so perhaps we will get out for another outing next week… a bit longer… would be great.

Have you ever been sailing?  Are you a boating fan?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

5 MORE Reasons to Work Out First Thing in the Morning

Thanks to my participation in Best Body Boot Camp, I have gotten into the habit of doing my strenth/resistance workouts 3 times each week.

Normally I do them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays… and after reading a book a while back called The Body Sculpting Bible For Women, I started doing them before breakfast.

Apr 15 bodybuilding bible 001

I came away from reading this book with 2 new ideas about my strength workouts.

The first was to mindfully focus on the muscles being worked… to know what muscles I am supposed to work with the given exercise, and to make sure that I am actually using those particular muscles to perform the move.   I concentrate on feeling expansion and contraction as I work.   I now tend to watch my reflection in the glass doors on a piece of furniture in the living room when I work out because that helps the whole process for me… and let’s face it… I am really loving the motivation that seeing those muscles brings, too.

And, the the second idea is to exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and then follow it up with an appropriate breakfast.  The authors say that this method burns more body fat than working out after eating… and that exercise itself appears to raise growth hormone levels, especially in a fasted state. There is some evidence that growth hormone causes our bodies to burn fat faster. As a result, elevating level of growth hormone through diet and exercise makes us more efficient fat burners.

Sounds reasonable to me… so, every morning I wash and cut a fresh lime, squeeze the juice into a glass of cold water along with the pieces, and drink that with my EpiCor supplement. Then I have a bit of hot fresh coffee, change into my workout gear, and MOVE.

I drink more lime water throughout my workout, and more afterward while I stretch.  And by then I am normally ravenous for my breakfast.  It is always filled with lots of protein, usually some veggies or fruit, and perhaps very occasionally a bit of olive oil, coconut oil, almond butter, or even (more recently) butter. 

But this week, things didn’t happen quite like this… I worked at Weight Watchers meetings 4 mornings in a row this week and so my normal routine was thrown out the window. I did a couple of early morning walks before breakfasts but didn’t do my 3rd strength workout on Saturday, and I didn't do it on Sunday, either.

I am kind of disappointed in myself.  I have given it a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that I do appreciate my first thing in the morning workouts and here are 5 MORE reasons why:

I start the day out right with good choices … working out followed by a nutritious breakfast, and then I am likely to make better choices for the rest of the day.

Working hard and sweating puts me in a wonderful mood.  I have a positive outlook all day long because I feel strong.  Actually I feel G-R-E-A-T.  (Said in my Tony The Tiger voice.)  I really feel like I  have done something good for myself and the endorphins are flowing.

Once my workout and breakfast are done, I can shower, do my hair, paint my face, and dress for the day, ONCE.  

Working out first thing has come to be quiet, alone time for  me.  Yes, I am concentrating on my workout, but it is also my own time to take care of me.  I feel more confident and centred for the rest of the day.

I am never quite sure these days what my day will bring… so if I get my workout done first thing in the morning, I am open and available for other opportunities…. great sailing weather, a walk in the park, coffee out with friends, a surprise visitor… an impromptu run, an extra work shift,  or even a shopping excursion.   It gets easier to NOT do that workout as the day wears on.

Next time that I am faced with this kind of situation, I am going to make sure I get up earlier and get those workouts in. 

So, what about you?  When do you get your workouts in?  Are you a first thing in the morning person too?