Spring into Spring – Making March Awesome

Hey everyone!

It’s March, which usually means the start to a spring warm up, plants and flowers beginning to bloom, and maybe even getting back outside for some more enjoyable/not freeze my booty off runs and walks! Woot, for working out outdoors!

What plans do you have for March? Any spring goals? Summer is just around the corner.:)

This March is playing out like a whirlwind for us. We are currently still in the states waiting for our importation paperwork to come in. 😦 Frown city. I want to be home. Still praying our phone call comes in to pick them, like 5 minutes ago.image

Anyways, until then we are enjoying all the U.S. has to offer, and getting some much needed computer work done that there just never seems to be time for. Oh…and taxes. 🙂

Also I’ve been thinking about my goals for March, since I’ll be traveling a lot I want to keep myself healthy, rested and avoid sickness while springing into spring!

Here are some of my ideas, and I thought you might find some of them inspiring as well!

1. Re-evalute your fitness plan. Feel like your fitness plan needs a refresher? Sit down for a few minutes, analyze your current fitness level. Then write down your fitness goals. Next make a plan to reach those goals. Consult your favorite fitness mags, or blogs for new and fresh workout ideas.
Start here.image

2. Treat yourself to a new workout notebook to start keeping track of your workouts.imageMy personal favorite is the simple 5 star notebook with inside pocket flaps, and 2 or 3 sections. That way I can record, cardio/HIIT workouts, and strength workouts separately.

3. Try a new salad recipe. I LOVE salad! But sometimes it is just too cold for a salad. However, with spring weather peeking in, now is the best time to buy some fresh, in season produce and try a new recipe.
Here’s a few I’ve had my eye on:

Power Green Salad

Chopped Miso Salad

Sesame Noodle Salad (eaten with chopsticks of course)

4. Schedule a date night/or casual get-together with friends. There is nothing that will beat the winter blues like scheduling a fun outing with your significant other, best friend, or group of friends. Do, something active like going for a hike, and take a cool weather picnic along complete with hot drinks.

OR, have a waffle brunch with friends. You make the waffles and coffee, and everyone brings a creative topping or side dish. MMmmm waffles.image

5. Take an hour walk once a week. There is no better way to clear your head than to take a long stroll outside. It’s a great time for prayer and reflection. I’d love for this to become an every week habit for me.

6. Shop for seeds & plan a garden. It’s almost garden season!! What better way to have the freshest produce, and save money than plant some things yourself. If you have never planted before, check out some great tips here.image

An herb garden is also a fun way to get your green thumb on. Try planting basil, parsley, and thyme.

7. Pick up a deep read. I’m not much of a book reader. I think I’m a little ADD and that makes blogs and magazine articles perfect for my lack of attention span.
However, I want to be a “deeper” book reader, and I have my eye on a few titles…courtesy of a friend. What book have you been wanting to read?

8. Drink a smoothie a day (maybe even a green one). Loaded with fruits, veggies, lean protein (milk, or protein powder), and healthy fats smoothies pack a nutritional punch. Add a couple handfuls of spinach to make it green, add fiber and iron, and drink your way to a healthy March. image

My favorite green smoothie combo:
1 kiwi
1/2 green pear
1/2 cup pineapple
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 cup almond milk
1 T ground flax
1 scoop vanilla hemp protein powder
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Blend, top with almond butter and hemp seeds! Yum!

9. Get organized. A few months back I got sick of doing all my cleaning on Saturdays. Not only did it waste half my day, but I felt like things were filthy during the week. So, I made a weekly cleaning chart, spreading out my cleaning duties throughout the week. And let me tell you, best.thing.ever! Seriously.
Each day it takes me anywhere from 15-30 minutes to do my chores, and I still have time for everything else in my day. And the best part…Saturday is more like a Saturday should be = win.

So, make some organization goals, how can you more efficiently get everything done? Make a plan, try it, adjust, and then stick with what works.

What are you doing to spring into spring, and make March an awesome month?

~ Liesl

Checkin’ In

Hey! Just wanted to check in real quick with you guys and see how the first week of the Finish February FIT Challenge is going!imageHow’s your HIIT week been? Did you find some awesome HIIT workouts to try? Have you felt like you are pushing your limits, getting some where with your fitness? Who has tried the Feb Fit HIIT workout?

It’s been a little bit of “sore city” for me this week. Between trying out the Feb Fit HIIT, running, strength and other HIIT workouts…I’ve felt it. We’ll just say that.

On Sunday Pete and I did the Feb Fit HIIT together…it was a good workout. Short, sweet, effective. Just over 30 minutes, including the warm-up.

This morning I did an upper body HIIT which was a tag team of cardio + strength intervals which included a lot of pushups, pullups, and hitting some heavier weights for my chest and back. Good stuff.imageAll in all, considering it’s only Wednesday and I feel like I’ve gotten in some pretty quality workouts.

What about you…has it been fun to get some HIIT in…or has it been a struggle? How have you felt? Have you found the HIIT workouts to be energizing? Has your hunger been raging?

I know whenever I kick up the intensity, I’m ravenous…like all.day.

Which leads me to the kitchen…where the other day I whipped up this healthy, quick and energizing snack. Which is SO easy to make!imageAll you do is grab a non-stick skillet and add: 1 c raw walnuts, 1.5 c raw almonds, 1 c raw sunflower seeds, 1.5 c raw pumpkin seeds, 1 Tbsp braggs liquid aminos, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2-1 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp granulated garlic, & a little sea salt. Stir everything up, until the nuts and seeds are well coated.

Turn your stove burner on medium to low heat, and constantly stir until the mixture is fragrant and the nuts and seeds start to look a little dry. Turn off heat, let cool, and store in a air tight container. Yum!image

Have you been keeping it clean in the kitchen? Any yummy recipes I just HAVE to try?

Let me know how it’s going mmkay. 🙂

Happy Wednesday!
~ Liesl

Fit Focus: Restless Rest Days

Good morning! Hey, it’s Friday, I sure hope you’ve had a smooth week, and that Week 2 of the Challenge has pumped you up for a healthy year!

Honestly, I’ve been draggin’ this week, fighting off a cold with every Vitamin D3 I can find in the house. Blah…being sick is not fun, and seriously soup sounds good for every meal. I’ve been loving this tea though…amazing stuff.

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My sore throat and pounding head hasn’t exactly made me super thrilled for my 5:40am wake up call to workout. When considering this Friday’s post I thought I’d talk about my restlessness on rest days.

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Back in the day, when I was younger and much more stupid I thought rest days were for the seriously weak. If I missed a workout, I felt lazy, out of shape, and like a failure. It was like “hit the treadmill of die.” What the heck? Someone should have slapped me. But seriously, that is our society. We are constantly told that constant action bring results, especially in the workout world. However, what we fail to realize is that with exercise that isn’t true.

We actually make fitness gains when we rest. WHAT?! Yes, it’s true.

So what happens?

When we workout we create small tears in our muscles, and during rest periods is when our muscles repair themselves using protein and the amino acids that it contains. Cool right?!

So, here’s the deal, if we don’t take time to rest, our muscles don’t have time to repair themselves which in turn leads to overtraining, overall fatigue, injury, and eventually lack of excitement and motivation for our workouts. That sounds like the opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish.

So, when do I take a rest day?

– If you are new to fitness: I highly recommend that when you make your fitness schedule for the week that you schedule your rest day(s). Look at what type of workouts you are going to be doing that particular week and schedule your rest days accordingly.

If you are sore: I don’t mean your back is a little tight from those 3 sets of pullups that you did, I mean if you finish a leg workout feeling all awesome, and then the next day you wake up and you need assistance to sit down on the toilet sore. That is when your body needs a rest day…and take it, even if it’s not scheduled.

If you are sick:Evaluate how you feel at that moment, and then evaluate whether or not you think a workout will make you feel better or worse, and go from there.
Like today for example, I’ve been using kleenexes like I own stock in the company, so I decided an active rest day was exactly what I needed. I slept in a tad, and then went for a 45 minute walk, and it worked for me.

**Reminder: As you venture further into the fitness world you will learn more and more about your body, and also learn when you need to take some time off. Your body will tell you; it is not an exact science, because everyone is different.

What do I do on a rest day?
It seems like an odd question, I mean, rest…right?

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Well yes, but a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean veg on the couch and watch TV all day because it’s your rest day.

Light activity: Personally on my rest day(s) I like to do some stretching, light yoga, or head out for a walk with the hubs and our pup. The idea is just to move your body. Even though you are taking a break from weight lifting or heart pumping cardio, that doesn’t mean that you body needs to be stagnant.
In fact, when I ran all of my half marathons I was ridiculously sore the next day, but I found it helped me recover faster to head out for a light jog or walk, of about 2 miles.
Fun ideas: Call up a friend, meet up and walk to a favorite coffee shop, grab a coffee and walk, drink and catch up on the latest.
Or grab the kids and head for the park and join them for a few minutes in a game of freeze tag on the playground.

Take the day off: Which is not license to sit on the couch and watch TV all day, but odds are you’ll be moving around as you go about your daily activities, chasing the kids, cleaning the house, etc.
But don’t forget to eat healthy on your rest days, your nutrition is just as important when you are resting as when you are workin’ it at the gym.

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And the most important thing to remember: You do not need to feel guilty for taking a rest day or skipping a workout. Your body will come back the next day more rested, stronger & repaired, and you yourself will be more excited about that day’s workout. Trust me on this one. Overtraining is a serious downer, and can really cause you to lose that empowered feeling you get as you do something good for your body. It is not worth your time and energy to feel guilty, and restless on a rest day.
Success in fitness and health comes with consistency over time. Be consistent. When you workout, hit it hard, and when you rest, be present and rest.

Do you struggle with feeling restless about your rest days? Do you schedule rest days, or take them as you feel your body needs them?

~ Liesl

JSJ Challenge Check-in + Ab Ripper

Hey there! How’s the week treatin’ ya? I’ve been keeping busy with language study, working out, and spending time with my Nahuatl peeps. Since it’s Wednesday, I thought I’d check in with all the JSL 2014 Challengers to see how the Week 2 Challenge is going for you.imageWho’s loving 50 burpees a day? Not to mention some squats and pushups. 🙂

I for one am loving this week’s challenge. Moving everyday is awesome, and having a goal makes me get it done. Who’s with me? Up until this week my body was feeling like it was still in holiday mode…sleeping in, slacking on the workout front, and a few more dietary indulgences, but I think I’m finally over the hump.

How are you guys feeling this week? What has been your biggest challenge as far as getting back on track with your fitness and eats since the holidays?

Time for some up front honesty about getting back on track…I used to really love running. I ran 3 half marathons, and several other races, and lived for the training regimen and the “runners high.”???????????????????????

This is from 5 years ago when I was in the last 2 weeks of training for my 4th 1/2 marathon. My body was also ridden with colitis at the time, which I found out about 3 days after this pic was taken. Needless to say I didn’t run the race.

I would  say as of late I’ve fall out of love with my old flame…what can I say, I’m just loving on the quick effectiveness of HIIT workouts as of late. I still try to run 3 days a week, because I do love how it makes me feel, but it’s been hard to scrape myself out of bed when it’s cold and dark for an activity that I’m just “not so into” anymore.

But…I didn’t want to just throw out running, because I know that deep down I’m still a runner, I just need some inspiration. So, I’ve made myself a 10 week training plan for running a 10K. I don’t have a race scheduled, but I know with a plan I’ll be more likely to get back into running and start enjoying it again. I’m still only running 3 days a week, but with a goal in mind.  Also with my favorite workout partner beside me, the husband, it will be fun.Us 2Even though sometimes we get ridiculously and unnecessarily competitive when it comes to fitness.  Anyways, I’m looking forward to this fresh start with running.

Maybe you are in the same place with running or with fitness in general. I encourage you also to set new goals, try something new, find a workout buddy to help you achieve what you’d like to achieve, and have fun while you are at it. And if a fitness activity just isn’t fun anymore…find something new. If you aren’t doing something you love and look forward to you won’t stick with it, and that’s just a fact.

Here’s something new to try: 5 Minute Ab Ripper
Tack this little core gem on to the end of a cardio or circuit workout to really burn out your core. Or try it right before bed, or first thing when you wake up in the morning, before you hit the coffee. 🙂

1min. elbow plank hold   keeping your back straight, booty down, and core tight.
 Low plank
30 sec. up & down planks – 
walk up & down from high to low plank using your armsimage
30 sec. mountain climbers – in high plank bring your knees in to your chest quickly one at a time, like you are climbing a mountain
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1min. high plank hold – keep back straight, booty down, and core tight
High Plank
30 sec. knee to elbow (alternate sides) – in high plank bring your knee into your opposite elbow and back, then do the same on the other side
Twisting plank right
30 sec. T planks  – in high plank rotate your whole body left into a “T” position, then back to high plank, then to a “T” on the other side and back. Keep going.
High PlankHigh Side plank
1 min. elbow plank hold – straight back, tight core, and booty level.
Low plank

Let me know if you give it go, I’d love hear about it!
Also, who’s following the Jumpstart January Workout Calendar? How are the workouts treating you? 

See you Friday!
~ Liesl

Being a Goal Setter

Since I was little girl I’ve been a goal setter. It wasn’t like I had a sheet of paper with all my goals documented on it, most of them were just in my head; things I wanted to accomplish so badly I would have sold my first born to make it happen. Okay, maybe I’m not quite that driven, but some have described me as motivated, and a work-aholic. Hmmm…that is good and bad I suppose.

For the past several years at the ringing in of the New Year I have made a list of personal goals. One of the things I have learned about setting goals is they have to be CHALLENGING but ACHIEVABLE. If they are too lofty, I get discouraged, and if they are to easy, I tend to slack. Does that make sense?

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Anyways…before this gets too wordy here are a some of the goals that I have for 2014.

Relationship:
1. Have one date night with the hubby every month.
Since there is no where to “go out” per se, I have some other fun ideas: cooking dinner together, going on a sunset picnic, bonfire night, etc.

2. Put the needs of others before my schedule.
Not only my husband, but my co-workers, Nahuatl friends, and others with whom I find myself. This one is super hard for me, and I will have to be in a constant state of awareness to make this one happen.

Spiritual:
1. Be more mindful during my devotions.
Every morning I spend time in the word, but I have to admit, it is not always the most mindful time. Often I have the days tasks spinning through my head, or there are visitors at the door that need something. And I know it won’t be possible every day, but I would like to have my time in the Word be just that, time with Him, listening, trusting, noting what He has for me that day.

2. Pray. Period.
I have to admit, I find myself praying on my feet a lot. My life’s work brings about the types of situations where I’m constantly asking God for direction, wisdom, safety, and healing. But I want my prayer life to be SO much more than that. I want to pray this year more intentionally for my Nahuatl friends, for Pete, for my family and friends back in the U.S. and for what God is miraculously doing not only here where I live, but around the world.

Work:
1. Finish my formal Nahuatl language study.
This one is non-negotiable. I’m finishing, and then I’ll spend the next good portion of my life perfecting it. 🙂

Exercise:
1. Challenge myself.
It is easy to get stuck in a rut doing the workouts that I love, but I want to challenge myself this year and try new things. Lift heavier, run faster, rest adequately. Yes…making myself rest is sometimes a challenge for me. 🙂

2. Do More Functional Fitness & Yoga
While I love heavy gym style lifting, I have to admit that the older I get the more I’m realizing the importance of functional fitness. Doing exercises that imitate the way we move in real life. These type of exercises condition my core, and the muscles that I use everyday, plus this type of training combined with a healthy diet will produce a lean body.

And yoga, once you’ve practiced a few times you’ll know why I want to do more of it. It’s awesome! Not only is it relaxing…but it feels so good to stretch and tone your whole body, and I feel like a million bucks afterwards.

Diet:

1. Be more mindful of my protein intake.
Living in a remote place a lot of my protein comes from plant sources…which often takes more meal planning and preparation. I want to be better about planning meals, that meet my protein needs, as well as Pete’s without sacrificing the variety in our diet that we both crave.

2. Eat even less sugar.
I already eat very little, but I know there is nothing nutritionally sound about it so why eat it. I as well as anyone know that those cravings for something sweet are hard to beat, but a few weeks cold turkey, I don’t even want the stuff any more. When I do use sweetener I’ll be trying my best to use raw honey, or Grade B Maple syrup. Still sugar, just more natural sources.

Just for Fun:
1. Go on a memorable trip with my man.
I don’t mean our truck broke down and we hitch hiked to the nearest mountain village for a cell phone signal memorable. I mean a real trip, where we just “be” together. So hubs, what do ya say? Roadtrip? Camping? Italy?

2. Go Surfing.
We buy all our supplies in a coastal town, right next to the ocean…I still have not been surfing. I’m going. That’s all.

3. Put some of my favorite recipe creations into a PDF Book
Not sure how or when this might happen, but I’d love to do it. Maybe I’ll work on it on that road trip.

Well, this was a wordy post. But hope you enjoyed reading some of my goals for the year, and I also hope you’ve been inspired to write down some of your own.

See you tomorrow!

Liesl

Eats & Fitness Plan – 12.29

So this is the first day of my Jumpstart January Challenge. This week I’m tracking my H2O intake!

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Wanna know what the Challenge is all about, check it out here and join me on a simple journey to jumpstart 2014 with healthy habits!

One note about the Challenge: you are only to go through a normal week and track how much water you drink. Don’t go googling how much water you should be drinking, this challenge is to find out how we can make practical changes to make ourselves healthier and happier.

Now that the holidays are over I’m back to planning some healthy and easy meals over here that are filling and delicious. This week I’m attempting some vegetarian versions of some weeknight favorites…like tacos! We’ll see if the hubby approves!

What are you making this week?

Meal Inspiration:

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Shepherds Pie w/ Mashed Cauliflower
Roasted Beet & Carrot Millet Salad
Split Pea Soup w/Carrots & Camote
Channa Masala
Chipotle Lentil Tacos

It’s been raining out here in the mountains…which totally makes my devotion to running wane….raining + cold < staying in my warm bed cuddling with the hubby, pup, and cat. This week I’m determined though to get back at it. Here’s the fitness plan:

Tentative Fitness Plan:
Monday – Up & Down Leg Workout
Tuesday – Run HIIT intervals
Wednesday – Tabata + Upper Body Strength Combo
Thursday – Run steady + 8 sprints
Friday – Jump Start January workout
Saturday – Yoga/rest
Sunday – fun run day

Yes, I know, I owe you guys some new workouts. I have several of them on the schedule for this week, so stay tuned!

How are you jumpstarting your 2014?

~ Liesl

Pack-able Workout Gear

When I travel I try my best to stick with some sort of fitness routine. Why? So, I don’t have to start at square one when I get home, and because working out gives me energy and boosts my mood…and who doesn’t need a mood boost with the stress that holiday travel brings.

While I totally believe that bodyweight workouts are the way to go while on the road, I also have some favorite “pack-able” workout gear that make working out while traveling more fun, and encourage a more efficient workout.

Here are some of the items that make the cut when it comes to packing the necessities:

1.) Interval Timer –
This may possibly be my absolute favorite piece of workout equipment. It is tiny, and light weight, and so SUPER packable. I have the Gymboss interval timer and use it almost daily to get awesome workouts at home. It is awesome for circuit, tabata, and HIIT workouts. Plus you can use it while doing cardio, such as running, to incorporate intervals or make your cardio workout a HIIT workout. This should be on any fitness loving gals Christmas list.

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2.) Resistance Bands –
While I don’t always take my resistance bands with me, when I do I’ve gotten in some great strength workouts while on the road. I have Black Mountain resistance bands that I bought on Amazon. They are decent quality, and you can use them to do a myriad of different exercises, from shoulder presses, to curls, rows, etc.

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If your resistance bands are collecting dusting here is a fun workout to try with them.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/04/resistance-band-workout_n_4159039.html

3.) Yoga mat –
I use my yoga mat every single day. I just have a cheap one, mostly because I choose to do burpees and other such exercises on it. Believe me, you would too if you had concrete floors in your house. 🙂
While the yoga mat is the biggest item that I pack to travel, it makes working out in any situation more comfortable and gives you the ability to do just about any bodyweight exercise.

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Both Marshals and TJ Maxx are great places to find affordable yoga mats.

4.) Stability Ball –
A stability ball might be my second favorite piece of workout equipment. They are so versatile, and can be used for working any muscle group in the body. You can also use a stability ball as a bench while lifting weights. Truly stellar.

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To pack my stability ball I deflate it, fold it, and pack it with the pump so that I can inflate it when I arrive at my destination. Everyone who works out at home should invest in a stability ball.

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Check any sporting goods store, or at Target to purchase a stability ball and make sure to read the box as they come in different sizes depending on your height.

5.) Good shoes –
I cannot stress this one enough. If you are going to commit to a personal fitness routine you need to invest in a good pair of tennis shoes. While shoes from TJ Maxx might be cheap, you aren’t going to be motivated to workout if you get blisters on your feet every time you do. Get online and do some research based on the width or your foot, and your arch height.
I have a short, wide foot with medium arches and I like both Saucony and Brooks for shoes. However, I have heard great things about Reeboks’ products as well. Trust me, good shoes are an investment in your health.

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Now that you have the shoes, pack them. Get in the habit of putting them into your bag first thing. If you pack your shoes you have no excuse NOT to workout. As you can see my Saucony Kinavaras are well loved.

What are you packing for workouts during your holiday travels? How do you motivate yourself to workout while on the road?

Liesl