What’s Up?

Sorry for the lame title-sometimes the creative juices are flowing, other times they aren’t. I’ll give you three guesses to which scenario is currently true…

Just wanted to send a quick update out there, I’m on rest day of Week SIX doing Hammer and Chisel. Six weeks, y’all! I’ve been doing this faithfully for six weeks! I’m finding I really like some of the workouts and really hate some of the others-but that’s true of any exercise program I’ve ever done, so no surprise there. What I didn’t expect was how much I truly enjoy weight lifting. I’ve always been an “all you need is your body” type exerciser-less hassle, more fun (gymnastics, yoga, martial arts, running…) but Brian and I did have one summer where we lifted consistently at the local Y several times a week. I always felt a bit like an interloper in the gym rat world, and although I learned how to use some equipment really well and I enjoyed the actual physical lifting part-I never learned to like the gym environment. Too many people around making me self conscious. So since weights are at gyms, no more weights. But this Hammer and Chisel stuff has let me do weights in my living room where the only hecklers are young enough that I can send them to their room in time out if I need to. And I really like weights.

weights

Form is crucial, so it is less slinging heavy objects around like a bulky behemoth (my previous weightlifting premise) and more carefully and precisely manipulating an object in conjunction with your body. Think more rhythmic gymnastics than tire lifts. I’m more aware of how I’m holding my back and abs, where my weight is in a squat, what muscles I’m isolating and “holding under tension” in every move-I’m learning and growing a lot in my simple understanding of how to exercise effectively. And it shows, literally. I’ve seen the most difference in my legs and my shoulders/upper back. My legs have slimmed down, revealing the muscle beneath the skin, and my shoulders and back have added shapes and lines marking out muscles that were previously almost non existent. My weight dropped the first four weeks, and has remained constant for the past two, but even though the scale doesn’t reflect anything in numbers, my physique continues to change. I love it!

I feel so strong, too! I’ve been tandem carrying both boys for awhile, despite them getting so big, and it used to make my arms and shoulder ache almost instantly. Now I can double carry them for a quarter mile while singing with no problem. It’s true I’m almost constantly sore, but I just feel powerful. I’ve got some fabulous thighs, y’all, those things are powerhouses, it is such an awesome feeling. I’m still struggling with pull ups and chin ups, but my push ups have improved without a doubt.

When starting this program I figured I’d stick it out for the 8 weeks and then immediately find something else-like PiYo, Cize, or p90x again. But now I think I’m going to hybridize my next workout schedule so that I keep Hammer and Chisel as part of it. Yeah, the routines are generally longer (35-45 minutes) but I like weight lifting that much.

It isn’t too late to join our 7 weeks ’til Spring Challenge group (even though it’s less than 7 weeks now, haha) and we’re getting ready to start new challenge groups in March and onward. It is never too late to get started, but it’s also never too early-you won’t see change unless you change. 😉  Email me if you have any questions, find  me on Facebook , and follow me on my recently added Instagram account @slowisapace .

Toodles!

Just Keep Lifting…

Right around the middle of any program I usually experience a slump. I know it is coming, so I usually prepare myself for it, and when it happens there is a lot of stubborn, grit your teeth, just get it done mentality. Well, it hit me hard a few days ago with Hammer and Chisel. It just seemed impossible to be bothered with it all, I mean, really, what’s the harm of skipping a week of working out and adding three extra carb containers to my meal plan? Couple this with a few funky meals where I had to get creative with getting all my containers in and I started in with the, “I’m probably not doing it right, anyway.” “What’s the point when I can’t even do two weeks of this.” “I’ll never get to where I want to be, this isn’t working.”

Now, all evidence points to the contrary. I had been stuck on a fitness plateau despite  running, working out, and eating clean. I had gained strength-but seen no real physical changes. The fluff I had gained since college remained fluffy, just with stronger muscles beneath it. I started this program and my body is reshaping. I’ve lost 5 pounds, my upper abs are becoming visible, my shoulders and back are gaining definition, my legs are growing in places and shrinking in others-all the evidence points to this program very much working and yet I hit the mental/emotional slump anyway.

I’m saying this as encouragement, y’all. Because wherever you are in your fitness journey-you’re going to hit slumps, too. No matter WHAT is going on, no matter how healthy you feel, how much more energy you have, how much muscle you’ve gained-you’re going to wake up one day and question the point of doing all this annoying healthy crap.

It’d be so much easier just to order pizza every night for dinner. It’d be so much nicer to take a break during the kids nap and just read for a bit. It’d be so much more relaxing to skip workout and binge watch a tv show instead. And all of that is true. What ISN’T true, is that just because it is easier, nicer, or more relaxing it is necessarily better.

This flies in the face of cultural norms and the human predisposition, but the fact remains that discipline is better for us. And discipline is often harder, tougher, and more exhausting than other options. Now, my perfectionistic friends, slow your self righteous roll, because discipline applies to you, too. If you are beating yourself up for forgetting to bring your boiled eggs for your work snack, if you are ready to just stop the whole thing and try and start over fresh next month just because you missed a workout or two, if a few things not going as planned makes you quit because it just isn’t perfect- that mentality is actually undisciplined.

Discipline means understanding you are going to make mistakes-and trying again. Discipline means rejoicing at what you get right-and working on what you get wrong. Discipline means accepting and pushing through the inevitable failures. 

You are never going to get any healthier until you make an effort. You are never going to be perfect at living healthily, so relax. There is never a “right” time. There is very rarely a “better” time. There is almost always a “something” that you can do a little bit better. Accept that. Accept that you’re going to fail. Accept that failure is a part of success. And when you hit a slump, sing the Dory song from “Finding Nemo” with whichever verb you need.

“Just keep lifting…just keep lifting…what do we do? We lift, lift, liiiiift!”

A Recipe! And an update…

I don’t like scrolling through posts to find the recipe, so, if you just want the recipe-here it is.

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan with Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

Rating: 5

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan with Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 large boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, cut in half, so they are thin (or use 4 small breasts, and pound them, thin & evenly sized)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all natural
  • shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup low-sugar organic marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees f.
  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. (I used avocado oil or olive oil spray)
  3. In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  4. Stir Italian seasoning into cooked quinoa, set aside.
  5. Season chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Working in small batches, dredge chicken first in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in quinoa mixture, pressing slightly to coat each breast.
  7. Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and cooked through.
  8. Top with cheeses and marinara.
  9. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 3-4 additional minutes.
  10. Serve immediately over spiralized zucchini noodles (I tossed my zucchini in a hot skillet with a touch of olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for 3 minutes before serving)
  11. ?CleanFoodCrush.com/Spiralizer
  12. Garnish with fresh basil.

All Credit goes to Clean Food Crush blog. I found it on Facebook and pinned it to my Pinterest account.

The only tips I have are -don’t be afraid to season, season, season. I’ve thrown out “measuring” my spices a long time ago, I know which ones I like more of and which ones I like less and I dump it all in accordingly. BUT in order to make this SOOOOO TASTY don’t be afraid to season your quinoa-quinoa needs a lot of help in the flavor department in my opinion, haha. Also, I used spelt flour instead of whole wheat (and she mentions almond flour as another option). Spelt is not only a sprouted grain, but it also has a light, sweeter flavor instead of the cardboard taste of whole wheat. Lastly, I flipped the breasts over before adding the marinara and cheese for the last four minutes, so that the crunchier quinoa got covered in cheese. OH so good.

Now, the update. I have been sore for a full week and a day. It’s been awesome. I did three chin ups today. YEAH BABY! Then I pretty much collapsed in a heap and whimpered and it currently hurts my biceps to type, somehow, but hey, that’s unimportant. We got some more weights to fill in our weight gaps (I needed an 8 and a 12lb) so I’m ready to really start upping the weight in the coming workouts. I admit, I don’t like the stop start nature to weight workouts, I prefer the constant flow of things like PiYo or even some p90x stuff (though he does stop start some, too), but I can’t argue with the results. I’m getting stronger even as I feel weaker, haha. And I’ve lost a few pounds of fluff that I’m hoping now to convert to muscle.

I’m really enjoying this meal planning stuff. The annoyance of meal planning is put in the balance of absolutely not stressing about food during the day. It is WORTH IT. I am adding a container or two tomorrow-a veggie and/or a fruit-because I’m still hungry throughout the day. My metabolism is already fairly fast (thanks, genetics!) so even though my target plan is on point no matter how I measure it out, I’m burning through it. The point of this is NOT to be hungry all day-Autumn talks about how detrimental it is for your body to go into starvation mode-so I’m upping the food. This is triply important since I want to GAIN muscle.

Also, the food is so good. Remember that series I did on picky eating? Remember how essentially the advice, “Don’t force your kids to eat anything, make sure there is always something they like on the table” was repeated throughout? That’s what I’m doing. The boys always get something I know they like on the table (and usually that is what they eat) whereas I get to cook MY food (and offer it to them if they want it, of course). This means I get to cook food I like without caring one wit on whether or not my finicky 2.5 year old will have a single bite… Pure. Bliss.

OH! And I’m helping out in a 21 Day Fix accountability group and am really enjoying it. 🙂 If anyone is interested shoot me an email at slowisapace@gmail.com it’s a pretty cool program.

The end!

Second Christmas

So this week gearing up for Hammer and Chisel has been busy and nervewracking. You know, that antsy, fidgety, anticipatory energy like right before giving a speech on something you’re passionate about or running a race or anything you are kindof dreading and excited about all at the same time? That’s how I feel. It’s almost like being a kid at Christmas and being so excited your stomach starts hurting and you begin to imagine all sorts of disasters that might happen to ruin Christmas and by the time Christmas morning arrives- screw presents, you’re utterly exhausted with relief that the cat didn’t become demon possesed and eat Santa Claus.

Tomorrow is my second Christmas morning.

In preparation this week I have created an instagram account to track my progress on here. Come follow me! I have pinterest recipe scoured, meal planned, grocery shopped, food prepped, ToDo list checked, and weekly scheduled in anticipation of the next 60 days.

One thing I thought was important was having some way of tracking progress. Before and After photos are typical- and I took them.

image

Personally, I’m looking for a little more toe gap. How ever will I fit into sandals come summer?!

On top of that, I did a mini “strength test” because for me, honestly, the joy of exercise is not in my appearance but in my capability. So I did a plank, and just barely managed to hold it for 2 minutes. And a wall sit-also struggled to hit that 2 minute mark. And then I attempted pullups (you can see the video on my instagram account… *hint hint* FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM). I managed two and a quarter pull ups. All together, guys, that’s pretty lame. I mean, much better than a few months ago where I couldn’t even do ONE pull up, but still a far cry from where I want to be.

I’m gonna be a beast at the end of this, able to “fly” my 2.5 year old like an airplane for hours, muscle my squirming 15mo old down for a diaper change (a complete body workout) without fail, and double carry the boys 60lbs combined wiggly weight the quarter mile to and from the park without breaking a sweat. I’ll be able to pry them off of the playground one handed, play “ribbet frog” down the hallway until THEY call it quits, and still have enough energy to run and catch them when I say it’s nap time.

It’s going to be epic.

It isn’t to late (it is never too late) to join in the fun! Whether it’s a weight program like H&C, a nutrition plan, yoga, just trying to quit soda-everybody has to start somewhere with living healthier. And now is a GREAT time to start-New Year and all that. Don’t struggle by yourself, come over to the health nut dark side! We have communities of likeminded weirdos in various stages of learning to live healthy, it’s totally cool! Seriously though, let me know what I can do to help you meet your goals, I can’t emphasize enough how important support is for success. 🙂

I’VE GOT TO GO TO BED IT’S H&C EVE! 😀

Lou, lou, skip to my lou,

skip to my resoLUtions. Badadum TSH!

Ahem. Without further ado, and in no particular order, my 2016 Resolutions.

  1. Meal plan for all meals for all 60 days of Hammer and Chisel. YIKES. I’ve only got through Friday of the first week done and it starts on Monday. This is gonna be a tough one for me, but the better I get at meal planning the less stressed I am about putting meals on the table for my family. Less stress = less cranky mama.
  2. Cook an entire chicken. I’ve never done it, I want to, and I want to find ways to freeze and use the leftovers.
  3. Memorize first three chapters of Ecclesiastes. -I’ve memorized the first and halfway through the second, but it’s rusty. I struggle with scripture memory but I believe it is important.
  4. Read 10 new books (a big drop from last year’s goal, haha).
  5. Watch one new movie with Brian in a theater without the boys. (Yes, I’m pretty much asking for a miracle. Dream big.)
  6. Consistently get out of bed an hour before the boys for me time. I know “all 365 days” this isn’t going to happen because, life, sickness, toddlers-but I want waking before them to be the norm, not the exception.
  7. Restart and maintain my daily To Do list.
  8. Nail down a daily/weekly schedule for myself and the boys, including a “meal prep” day.

Tada! That’s a wrap.

 

But if you want to know how I fared on last years resolutions…eh.

1. Read 30 new books. WOMP WOMP

2. 5 New recipes that are “veggie centric”-can be side dishes or entrees. CHECK!

3. Deliberately exercise every day.  I give myself a half check on this, because I exercised daily for about half the year, haha. It came in waves, with weeks of running tapering down to every other day, to once a week, to suddenly an entire month of PiYo. I exercised more than last year, though. So a successful goal failure.

4. Finish a scrapbook! CHECK

5. Memorize 2nd chapter of Ecclesiastes. ...Half check? Quarter check? Ok, WOMP WOMP. I memorized half of it, but then stopped working at it and now I’ve forgotten it and the first chapter is hazy. Sigh.

I’ll be posting how I’m planning to tackle these goals shortly! 🙂