4 Favorite Fitness Finds

A short time ago, I worked an exhausting full-time job, only to come home and work more grueling hours taking care of my home and family. This made it extremely difficult to focus on my health because I was simply surviving each day, each hour, each moment. Since those super stressful days are in the past for now, I have been able to focus on my fitness and nutrition goals once again. Not only is this rewarding for myself, it is also hugely rewarding for my family because I can serve healthy foods, plan healthy activities, and overall I can promote and model healthy habits.

While I absolutely love a lot of what my local gym has to offer, over the past few months I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering some beneficial resources on the web. Allow me to share 4 Favorite Fitness Finds:

1. Calorie Counting App – I read on countless health websites the importance of logging the specific types and amounts of food you eat if you hope to lose weight. Indeed, I have had the most success in my weight-loss journey when I faithfully log my daily calories (in and out through diet and exercise). I highly recommend trying this out, at the very least you learn a lot about what you are putting into your body. I started out using the app called My Diet Diary, but through some recommendations from friends I switched to MyFitnessPal. So far, I am very pleased with the features of MyFitnessPal and I use it with ease on both my phone and laptop.

2. Strength Running Website & Newsletter – This is a great running resource offered by an experienced runner and running coach. His motto is: get stronger, stay healthy, run faster. I particularly appreciate his focus on injury prevention. If you sign-up for the newsletter you receive a ton of free electronic resources. And bonus, I have loved the content of each e-newsletter so far. Check out this interesting video on the Principle of Progression (this was an unfamiliar concept to me):

3. DoYogaWithMe.Com – I love, love, love doing yoga. When I can’t make it to a yoga class at the gym, I really enjoy yoga at home (while my boys are napping or after they are in bed for the night, of course). This website offers specific and accurate video descriptions and high quality yoga sequences. The videos range from 20 minutes to over an hour. Personally, I choose to watch on their YouTube channel. Here is one of their more gentle and relaxing videos:

4. 7 Weeks To Fitness – Admittedly, I have not yet tried one of these 7 week plans, I have only tried out the fitness tests. With that said, from what I can tell, this is such a great fitness option for people who don’t have a gym membership. Some options include: 7 Weeks To 100 Push-Ups, 7 Weeks To 300 Sit-ups, or 7 Weeks To A Triathlon. I am really looking forward to trying out 7 Weeks To Getting Ripped when I put my gym membership on hold in a couple months.

I hope you enjoyed my Favorite Fitness Finds. If you have some favorites of your own, please share them in the comments section.

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A Steadfast Companion

Toes tuck, hips float high

Mind wanders; breathing deeply

Body, mind release

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Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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I was prompted to write on this topic because I am participating in Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.

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Weekend Roundup

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Riding the wave of happiness, motivation, and self-discovery

Well, it’s true, I’m the happiest I have been in a very long time. I am motivated and meeting my fitness and nutrition goals. I’m gaining more tools to be a better parent. And I am thoroughly enjoying upgrading my blog (Want an upgrade too? Check out the Zero to Hero blog challenge). I am attempting to ride this wave of happiness, motivation, and self-discovery, and in turn better my life in sustainable, life-long ways.

Part of my self-edification process has been gaining inspiration and insights from the many blogs I have discovered recently. So today, I am thrilled to give you my weekend roundup, linking to some of my favorite blog posts from this past week. This is just a taste of what I read and loved this week. Thanks to these posts (and many others), I am excited, inspired, motivated, and happy!

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I was encouraged by the post, I was brave and learned I don’t want to settle. In my own life, I know the Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape (1)importance of pursuing my dreams and not settling for mediocrity. My favorite excerpt from the post:

“What I want is to be living at 100%, giving my all to everything that I dive into and loving every single second of it. What I want is to tell my children to follow their dreams and not settle for anything less. What I want is to inspire my family, and others, by walking away from my rut and creating my own future, where I don’t just survive, I thrive… And that is exactly what I did”

Caitlin Edmon, Aprons, Trainers, and Bibs

While we all have off days, I do think aspiring for greatness in your life is totally doable. So Caitlin, I’m happy to join you in being brave and not settling.

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Earlier this week, in response to a daily prompt, I wrote Why haven’t I pursued my dream job? Check out another bloggers take in My Dream Job. I can really identify with her dreams because they relate to fitness. She talks about pursuing dreams and the importance of perseverance:

Message Stones“Just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible.  Sometimes, you have to go the long way around to get to your goal.  The important thing is that you never give up!”

Ebone Nut, One Crazy Mom

Yes Ebone! Lets persevere and chase those dreams.

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Rather Than Curse the Darkness, Light a Tiki Torch was a great reminder that a wide circle of loved ones is valuable. This blog post also made me want to ask more questions and be a good listener in the company of friends… there is so much to know about each special life you encounter. My new favorite quote is:file0001027084534

“What I love best about a circle is that there is always room for one more.”

Naomi, Writing Between The Lines

Naomi, you have taught me so much in a short time and I’m glad to be a part of your blogging circle!

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file1711246044891In Moving Into the Light, Karen paints a picture of hope for challenging situations. Sometimes life just plain sucks and sometimes life can be good even when we are amidst struggles… but either way, thankfully we CAN get through the storm. I appreciate your story Karen and am looking forward to reading more!

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And lastly, this week I discovered the blog Running On Healthy. Two particular posts, IMG_0542Learning The Art of Negative Splits and Run For Those Hills, inspired a higher quantity and better quality of running for me this week. I love their blog tagline “Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy”. I plan to aim for a healthy, fit, and happy life for as long as possible.

 

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Thanks again to all who contributed to my better quality of life this week. You seriously rock!

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Why haven’t I pursued my dream job?

Me and a relay running buddy

Me and a relay running friend from high school

Since High School, my dream job has been the same, to be a high school track coach. It’s funny to me (and more than that, a bit sad) that I have never made any attempts to actualize this dream. I suppose my fear is that I’m being too nostalgic with the hopes that coaching would be as enjoyable as my own running years. I also fear that I have forgotten too much and now I don’t have the experience necessary to coach. 

This dream of mine began over 15 years ago, why haven’t I explored how to make this dream a reality? Would I need to volunteer for a while first in order to get my foot in the door? Probably. Will it take a lot of work? Likely. But aren’t our dreams worth it?

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New ‘About Me’ Page

I transformed from devoted Christian to self-proclaimed atheist, from religious to godless, and I’m here to blog stories, thoughts and ramblings about my Life Sans God.

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I grew up in beautiful Colorado and as a teenager I developed a love for staying active, sharing my life with people, and being my best self. I look back fondly on my high-school memories, in particular I replay one special moment often: the day me and 3 other girls placed 4th in our Medley Relay at the state track meet. Perhaps to some, this might not seem so glorious, and I have other accomplishments that sound better. But each of us worked damn hard that day (and many days prior), we accomplished something great together and I feel that I personally surpassed what I thought I was capable of doing. I literally feel butterflies and excitement all over again just thinking about it.

As I recall this story, it occurs to me that this event could have easily happened with or without god in my life. But the reality at that time, is that I was zealous for god and for the souls of every living person I knew. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I struggled to retain this fervor, but I was always sincere in my attempts to attain greatness for god.

Over 10 years later, I am the same person. I love staying active, sharing my life with people, and being my best self, only now I focus on running AND yoga and I share life with my husband and two preschool aged boys. Oh, and becoming my best self no longer involves a god of any kind.

Do you want to hear more stories, thoughts and ramblings now that my Life is Sans God? Well then… follow my blog!

**Please let me know what you think about my new About Me page**

This was Day 8 of the Zero to Hero Challenge. Learn more here.

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I’ve never dieted in my life…til now

Throughout my life I have spent a lot of time running, working out at the gym, playing a lot of sports, and in general getting a lot of exercise. While I have generally tried to eat healthfully, the thing I haven’t done is restricted my calories or went on a specific diet for any reason (even as an athlete). I guess I always saw dieting in a negative light and thought that if I went on a diet it meant I cared too much about my looks.

Even though my weight is pretty similar to what it was when I went to college, at age 30 I have decided to go on a diet. Why now, you may ask? Well, after having two children and experiencing a great many changes in the distribution of my skin and body fat (to unwelcome places) I think that scalenow is the time to get toned and lose weight in order to pave the way through my 30’s and into my 40’s and beyond.

After taking a look at various diets, specifically the Paleo Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, I have decided that I don’t want to eliminate particular food groups without having an evidence-based reason. Essentially, I’m not yet convinced that a particular diet that eliminates particular food groups is a good idea for me.

So, if not a particular diet, what will guide me? Well, I started by getting an app on my android called My Diet Diary that helps me track my daily caloric intake and output. Initially, I input my weight and my weight loss goals. Then the app displayed how many calories per day I should consume. The amount of calories adjusts when I input exercise or my weight changes.

I am not only trying to restrict my calories, I am also following some of my own established guidelines. The guidelines are as follows:

  • friuts and vegetableEat as many whole foods as possible (fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc.)
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Drink a lot of water
  • When I have a craving in between meals I chew gum or drink herbal tea
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Don’t eat anything after 8 pm
  • Every day or two enjoy a dessert OR a special drink (usually a latte or gingerale)
  • Exercise at least 3 times a week
  • Adopt these changes in my life and maintain on a long-term basis

So, these guidelines are purely my preference and may not work for others. Ultimately, I chose these health goals because I think they will be effective and attainable for me.

When I started this diet last week my goal was to lose 13 pounds. Here I am a week in and I have already lost 8 pounds, hooray! I realize weight fluctuates for various reasons but at the moment I am rejoicing at this success with the hope that I can continue tracking my diet diligently through the diet app for at least 40 days.

Now, as I launch into week two, I will be inspired by entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn:

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Your Turn

How has dieting worked out for you? What obstacles should I keep my eyes open for?

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I’m an athlete

On my first rock climbing trip

On my first rock climbing trip

Throughout my life I have enjoyed running, playing sports, challenging myself, and generally contending for a prize even if the winner just gets bragging rights. Growing up I got the opportunity to play competitive softball and therefore it became my favorite team sport. I also loved competing in sprint and mid-distance track and field races and relays.

Getting ready to run the middle leg of a two-day adventure relay race

Getting ready to run the middle leg of a two-day adventure relay race

Now that I am older I don’t compete as often but I do enjoy Ultimate Frisbee,  yoga, rock climbing and running (including participation in at least one race per year). To this day, I am often excited at the possibility of competition but I try to avoid letting it consume me and be my only focus. In other words, I try to have fun and be a good sport.

Throwing a forehand during recreational Ultimate

Throwing a forehand during recreational Ultimate