You Can Get Fit!

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Hey, you guys!

When’s the last time you had FUN working out? Be honest, now……

Have you tried a gym class? (OK, I’m biased. I teach these gym classes, and most times I’m in front of a group, I truly am having fun leading the group!)

When I talk to people at the gym about the classes, one of the top reasons I hear for not trying a certain type of class is….. FEAR. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of feeling too tired. Fear of looking like a complete idiot.

Well, for one… there’s a reason I don’t teach Zumba! (I dance like a white girl. I got rhythm, but…… believe me, my hips don’t got the moves.) But–I’ve gone to a few Zumba classes! And I’m not afraid. Because people aren’t looking at you. People are focused on themselves, and they’re focused on having a good time! So, don’t think that all eyes will be turned in your direction!

OK, so now that your first fear is out of the way, what if you can’t do it? That’s why the instructor is there to help! Just come a few minutes early to class and talk to the instructor. Tell him or her that you’ve never been to this sort of class before, and ask how they can help! Ask how the more challenging moves can be modified, if necessary. Build a relationship with the instructor–we love this! Take breaks during the class if things get too rough, and there’s no harm in leaving early if you need to. Start with 30 minutes the first class, 35 minutes the next week, and within a few weeks–you’ve built up to making it through the entire class! Go, you!

Now for fear number three: what if you can’t do it? OK, y’all: look at any group fitness class. Is it full of perfect people, executing each move perfectly? 99% of the time… NO! So, unless you’re injuring yourself (and, hopefully your pre-class discussion with the instructor has eliminated this possibility) who cares if you look like you belong in So You Think You Can Dance? Just do your thang! Keep on moving–your calories don’t care if you have the choreography 100% perfect, they’ll still burn!

So hopefully I’ve inspired you to run, walk, ambulate in some fashion… to a new group exercise class. Try it out, bring a friend…

And if you’ve had a spectacularly fun experience, talk about it below!

Hey, Snowflakes!

(Or, maybe I shouldn’t call you snowflakes. I want snowflakes to go away. Ever since I moved here 8 years ago, I have learned that snow slows down life, and keeps me from doing what I want and need to do. Perhaps there’s a lesson for me, here… but I refuse to slow down.)

In the past 2 days, we’ve gotten probably 5 inches of snow at our house. So far… it’s been manageable… but I must say I’m looking forward to Wednesday, when it’s supposed to warm up enough that things will melt (since hardly any roads get plowed around here). I have to get back to my January goal of running 50 miles–the gym treadmill gets the job done, but it’s psychologically a lot harder!

Which brings me to today’s topic:

Did you make resolutions? And how are they holding up?

I think I mentioned earlier that I’m not a resolution fan, but I did set a goal for myself to run 50 miles during January. Note the specificity: I didn’t say that I want to be a better runner or that I want to run more, but I set a specific mileage goal.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you today. Specificity of goals helps you achieve your goals. Want to improve your diet? Rather than saying “I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables”, aim to eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Want to start working out more? Rather than telling yourself “I’m going to go to the gym more often”, make a goal to go to the gym 4 days a week. Get the picture? Whatever your goal is for lifestyle improvement, there’s a way to make it more specific.

Which, in turn, makes you ultimately more successful! Good stuff!

Keep up the great work!

Hi!

Good busy news from me! I’m running about 12-15 miles per week, I have one more class to go to make 9 fitness classes taught this week, and… while I’m a bit exhausted, everything seems to be in working order! Go, me!

So, I’ve been trying to find recipes that aren’t too challenging (yeah, I really don’t feel like standing up in the kitchen for hours this week, nor do I feel like cleaning a ton of stuff) but provide a lot of nutrition. A quick web search led me to this veggie-filled recipe, which I tweaked in several places.

This is one of those recipes where it’s tough to figure out a name, since it’s full of so much stuff! It also contains spinach, onions, garlic, a few seasonings…. wait, don’t run away! There isn’t a long ingredient list, don’t worry.

I cut back on the amount of liquid in the soup (this was based on the comments at the end) and it ends up giving you more of a stew, not much broth. If you want more broth, increase the amount that you add. THe original recipe calls for 5 cups of broth, and I probably wouldn’t go quite that high.

White Bean, Fennel, and Tomato Soup
based on an All Recipes recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c veggie broth (more if desired)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 c shredded fresh spinach

1. Saute onion, garlic, and fennel in oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, salt, red pepper, and bay leaf and bring to boil, Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer another 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. Add spinach and cook another ~3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve!

The weather is wonderfully sunny outside, so I’m going to take advantage with a longer run in a few minutes! (I did see one of the news stations predict a low of 17 degrees today, though–hopefully that’s passed! Brrrr!!!) Go and make it a great weekend, whatever it is you’re doing!

Hey, gang! I’ve returned from my holiday adventure, and I want to share it with you all! We went to Germany, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg to check out their Christmas markets. Though the weather could have cooperated a bit more (maybe 9 hours of sun on the whole trip), it was a really great adventure, and we ate a lot of good food. I did manage several Pilates sessions, and further explored exercises that I can accomplish all while not lying on a questionable hotel floor! (So–Pilates while standing, Pilates on a bed…)

I blogged about the trip, and there are many pictures, so take your time to peruse. You can check it all out at

http://mehrgluhwein.wordpress.com/

I’m getting back into my daily routine–even teaching two spin classes tonight–and glad to say that the knee strain from a few weeks before the trip disappeared shortly after we started… hooray! So, I’ll see what kind of running I’m able to do once I shake the rest of this respiratory infection.

Start thinking of your 2012 goals… I’ll be back with a recipe on Friday, and the new year is just around the corner!

OK, peeps, it’s October. That means I can officially share some fun Halloween things and not feel like the retail industry… you know, where they start Easter right after they pack away the Happy New Year goodies? I figure if it’s the same month as the holiday, it’s fair game. And Halloween’s a fun one, so why not think of fun times? 🙂

But before we get there: it’s getting colder (at least here), so I’m bundling up more. Less motivation to show some skin, which for some of us means less motivation to work out. How do you keep yourself going as the weather starts cooling down? For me, it’s actually more comfortable to run in slightly (I said slightly) cooler temps, so until mid-November or so, it still feels great to be outside. And the weather inside the gym is the same, no matter what. As for the deeper motivation–my joints and orthopedic problems won’t stay happy unless I treat ’em well every day, and working out is their treat. If I slack off, they let me know. I do it for my joint and bone health!

Speaking of bones and skeletons (what a great segue!)…

1. Anyone out there expecting? Here’s a great pregnancy Halloween shirt.

2. Look out for skeletons climbing on the outside of your house! (They’d get washed away here, sadly)

3. Some ghoulish ways to do Halloween veggie platters

4. Is that a spiderweb in your soup?? 😮

5. What a great way to serve your guac at a party!

So, does that give you ideas for your Halloween party? Get those brains going now….. ’til then, stay safe and healthy!

Hi! We’re heading into a new week of a new month, and what better time to revisit our fitness goals?

go team!

A lot of us–myself included–just go through the motions when we work out. “If it’s Tuesday, it must be spin class day.” I applaud us for going and getting our workout on!

But if we had longer-term fitness goals–and tailored our workouts toward these goals–we would likely have greater success! Awesome, right?

So, what do I mean by this? Instead of “just going to the gym and working out”, maybe you want to train for a 5K race. Or, you want to have have a killer upper body. Or, you want to eliminate your lower back pain. Or shed a stubborn 5 pounds.

You get the idea. I find that if I have something more tangible to focus on, I hit my workouts harder! If I’m just working out because I think I should, I tend not to give it my best.

I have a few goals, currently, but a major focus right now is more serious weight lifting. After having been halfhearted for years, I’m going with a bodybuilding routine I found online (and I’m almost done with week 4). What I hope to get out of this:
*More lean muscle mass, increasing my metabolism 24/7
*More upper body strength for a) general functionality and b) for crazy yoga arm balances
*Sculpted shoulders look hot! (This means I have to maintain them ’til next summer… that’s motivation!)
*This is also my first real lower-body strength routine since my first hip surgery in April 2010, so it’s helping me rebuild down there, which has been helpful in my return to running (another goal right now)…

I have another 2 months left in this plan. I don’t know what it has me do after that. I may focus on running and cut back on weights for the month after that, and then restart it (so that I have hot summer arms!).

I would love to hear your goals for the upcoming month, or for the rest of the year! Put ’em down!

**Disclaimer, before I get a slew of comments: I agree that it is perfectly fine, now and then, to work out for the enjoyment of working out. And maybe that is your goal, after all: just to find the joy in every day. In which case… I challenge you to find your favorite workout, and carve out time for it as frequently as possible. 🙂

Hey, gang!

Hope everything’s well! My theme of the day (week?) is gratefulness. My body has been through so much the past 18 months or so… including two major hip surgeries (the first one didn’t go so well). No one really knew how I was going to recover, but I was given the green light to do anything, as long as it didn’t hurt beyond the usual residual soreness.

Guess what–this former marathoner has been RUNNING for the past two weeks!

(OK, so right now, my definition of “run” is “walk 3 minutes, run 2 minutes, repeat to total 30 minutes”–and it’s really hard for me–but after so much time away from running, this is my way to build back up.)

I am so GRATEFUL that my body is able to do this! I had no idea if running was ever going to be an option again. I’m taking it slowly and not jumping ahead toward marathons yet–thinking of 5K’s in my future, in case my body isn’t up for distance–but I’m just happy to be moving the pavement under my feet.

Here are some interesting tidbits for this week!

1. Ah, how stalking has changed.

2. Oh boy. What our pets do while we’re away.

3. Fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon chips–great healthy recipe for a party (or…. to mosh the whole thing by yourself)! I’d love to try this with regular salty chips, too, since I love sweet/savory combos.

4. It’s getting to be that time of year–how about some homemade pumpkin butter?

5. Have you tried oven-roasted chickpeas? If not… you’re missing out. Cheap, easy, healthy snack! Here’s a recipe for an Indian-spiced variety of chickpeas.

Have a great rest of the week! I’d love to hear what all of you are grateful for! It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our day-to-day lives–let’s think of things to be thankful of in the grand scheme of things!


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