2016: The Year of Growth

It only took a week into 2016 to recap. At the rate I have been going, I would call this a success. My “Year of Traveling in Love” led into a year that would be one of my own most challenging. 2016 was in short, a very trying year. I have learned a lot about myself and how much I can handle. I have also learned about what I want in life which inevitably lead to my dream job. My year of many struggles can easily be summed up into –  “The Year of Growth.” Despite some hardships, this year was also filled with many wonderful memories and exciting opportunities.

2016

Highlights of 2016:

Landing my dream job
Becoming an Orangetheory Coach
Wine Tasting in Temecula
Two USC Games
My only brother got married
Purchasing our first home

Two races completed: OC Half and Run Revel

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Two vacations taken: Our Honeymoon and Napa Valley

One country visited: Greece

Delos Greece

Three states visited: Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut

Brooklyn New York Botanical Gardens

 

Three types of group fitness taught: Cycle, Bootcamp and Orangetheory

The worst moment of 2016: Being stuck in a job where I was unhappy 

The best moment of 2016: Our travel themed wedding

Travel Themed Wedding

Here’s to hoping 2017 is another year filled with adventure, travel and growth!

Workout Wednesday: 12 Days of Christmas

Happy Workout Wednesday! I can’t believe we only have 4 days until Christmas. Luckily, I am pretty much done with shopping and starting Friday I get to enjoy some time with family. One of the hardest things during the holidays is to continue eating healthy and getting workouts in. During the holidays, however is the time you should be working out to control your stress level. Today, for Workout Wednesday, I am sharing a workout that you can do in your home in between wrapping those presents and prepping for the season. You do not need anything more than a set of dumbbells to complete this holiday themed workout.

Equipment Needed: Dumbbells
Directions: Complete 2-3 rounds of the exercises, top to bottom

12 Days of Christmas

12 bicep curls
11 shoulder presses
10 tricep dips
9 dumbbell lunges
8 dumbbell squats
7 bent rows
6 reverse crunches
5 side dips (each side)
4 straight leg crunches
3 pushups
2 mountain climbers
1 burpee

Added challenge: Complete this challenge as a add-on workout. Starting at 1 burpee, complete 1 burpee. Then complete 1 burpee + 2 mountain climbers. Move on to 1 burpee + 2 mountain climbers + 3 pushups until you have worked through the workout. 

Tell me: Have you completed all your Christmas shopping?

Life.

Where do I start? 

In a matter of one week, I left the corporate world, moved out of our apartment, moved into our first home and started a new job. Needless to say, it has been a very exciting, eventful and busy few months. Truth be told, I will gladly take a little insanity because I am so genuinely happy for my next chapter. The next chapter however comes from a place of gratefulness that everything works out in the end.

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The truth is for many months, I was very unhappy. I was struggling at my job. I did not love what I was doing. I was unhappy with the work life balance. I was letting the stress eat away at me. I knew something needed to change but most of the time I felt like I was drowning. I got through some of the roughest times because I constantly reminded myself of my blessings: my husband, my friends, my health and getting to still teaching group fitness during the week. Then in November, a prayer was answered. I was offered the job of studio manager of the Orangetheory studio I coach at. My passion of fitness had actually turned into a full time job. In the past, the husband and I had discussed my love of Orangetheory and how to make it into an actual job. Here that dream job landed in my lap. It was like I saw all the work I had invested in fitness over the past two years all paid off and led me to this job.

Today, I finally feel like I can take a full breath. I have settled into my new job. We are unpacked and starting the fun part of decorating. I actually have a night off during the week to do whatever I want and am still able to coach. As a whole, I feel lighter, happier, less stressed out. Now being on the other side of the valley I was in, I can appreciate what I have been through in the last year. Even more, I am excited for 2017. With a new mindset and environment, I am excited for new resolutions. One of course is to dust off the blog and start writing again! So, I hope you stick around.. There will be more workouts, fitness and of course travel.

Have a great Monday! 

Run Revel Recap

As I sit writing up this recap, I am sporting compression socks and KT Tape after having just taken some ibuprofen. On the same note, I am still riding the high of getting a half marathon PR at the Run Revel Canyon City Half Marathon! I went into this race with the goal to utilize the net loss on this course and finally get that new PR.

Revel Race Start

On Saturday morning we made our way to the race at 4:30am to be bused up to the start line. Boy was it cold at the start but the race provided blankets (wow did they work), beanies and throw away gloves. The sunrise from the start was beautiful as we made our way to the start line. I read from past runners that the race just starts without warning. Even despite my constant warnings to my husband to be ready to just start running, I was still shocked when someone at the start line shouted “we are going.” The first few miles I was expecting rolling hills so I told myself to take it easy for the first few miles. Although the first 4 miles had a lot of downhill, there was a net gain which I felt early on. But I stuck with telling myself to maintain slow and steady through the first 6 miles and evaluate how I feel after.

A Rough Finish

After miles 6 there was a net loss but still some notable climbing and where my shins starting feeling the rolling hills I had done. At this point, I was still on track to hit a PR with a few minutes to spare so until miles 10, my goal was to maintain a steady pace and leave myself at least 5 minutes to work with in that last 5K. Thank goodness I had that buffer because it saved me in the last 2 miles. At miles 11, I started hurting. I would alternate walking and running but at this point, everything started to hurt. My knees would hurt when I ran but my shins and feet hurt when walking. When I got to mile 12 I realized this was going to be a push to the last second. As I rounded the corner in the last mile, there was a small climb in front of me and I thought my PR was out the door. Thankfully, the hubby finished (he PR’d again this half) before me and told me that after the last small climb it was a downhill finish. I chugged (VERY very slowly) up the last climb and gave everything I had in the last .20 miles into the finish line. I have never run so fast and as I crossed that finish line, I am so happy I did because I PR’d by 3 seconds. Seconds are seconds and it was a PR no matter what.


Although tough at times, this definitely is one of my favorite races. It was very well organized, offered a beautiful course and heavily supported. The expo was very easy to get in and out (even though it was more like a packet pick-up with limited amount of vendors). In the bag received with my bib, I also go the cold weather items mentioned above which came in handy at the start line. There were aid stations about every 2 miles with water, Gatorade and some offered fuel. Although the mountains did not allow for spectators until the last 1 miles, the scenery more than made up for that. I stopped a few times to snap a picture because it was so gorgeous. Overall, this was one of the best races I have participated in and the new PR only made it better!

Tell me: Would you rather run downhill or uphill? I always thought I loved downhill but with my knees and shin problems, I would prefer uphill!

“Those are just excuses”

“I haven’t worked out in 4 days”

“My legs, arms, mouth, fill in the blank are sore”

“I am tired”

“It’s too late”

These are just a few of the statements my husband heard on our run last night. While some of them were true, half way through I started spouting off some of them to him. He simply said, “Those are just excuses.” And yes they were. He said that, I started running again and did not stop until we finished. Did I struggle? Yes. Was I tired and sore? Definitely. But did I finish? YES! I tried to use my excuses to justify not doing it when I was capable just standing in my own way.

In the first mile I started telling myself there was no way I would be able to do the half marathon (Run Revel) on Saturday if I was struggling already. My negative thoughts spiraled into thinking that I haven’t trained enough and I should back out of the race. Until my husband snapped me back (as he does 99.784715% of the time I act mildly crazy), I was letting my excuses lead my thinking because of one tough run. Sometimes we try and reason with ourselves by making excuses. What does that get you? Absolutely nothing. So the next time you feel the excuses starting (this applies to everything beyond fitness), stop and ask yourself – Are these just excuses? to stop the cycle and focus yourself back on track.

OC Marathon Coupon Code 

I am not in training mode for the OC Half Marathon yet but it will be here before you know it. The OC Half and Full Marathon 2017 prices increased on November 1st but if you missed the price increase, I have a coupon code to share with you today. You can get the same price before the price increase by using the coupon code below:

oc-half-marathon-coupon-code-2017

Tell me: What is your most used excuse? Mine is always “I am too tired”

Weekly Workouts: Revel & OC Half Training

 

Happy Monday! This weekend was a nice weekend filled with some family traditions and plenty of working out. On Saturday, I taught cycle class before heading to the pumpkin patch with the husband, my mom and sister. We have a yearly tradition to visit a local pumpkin patch as well as go apple picking so we got both done in one day.

The weather was absolutely perfect with clear skies and warm weather. Although I would prefer to be wearing flannels and boots while doing fall activities, the warm Cali weather is a good second choice. The husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner at Brio (their grilled salmon is to die for) to finish off our Saturday. My Sunday started nice and early teaching 4 classes at Orangetheory. The rest of the day was low key with relaxing, packing and napping.

weekly-workouts

This upcoming week is going to be a rough one of workouts. It is Hell Week at Orangetheory this week. I got a glimpse into the workouts of the week and needless to say, it will be a week of intense workouts. This past week, my running really got skipped over. This next week, even with Hell Week workouts, I need to ensure I get plenty of mileage in with Run Revel only 2 weeks away.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 1 hour cycle class followed by arm workout

Wednesday – Orangetheory class

Thursday – Shoulder and back workout, 20 min elliptical workout

FridayAb workout, 3 mile run

Saturday – 1 hour cycle class

Sunday – Rest Day

Tell me: Have you been to a pumpkin patch or apple picking this year?

Staying Healthy in Sin City

You’ve worked out consistently for weeks, ate every green vegetable you could think of and drank water like crazy – all in preparation for your upcoming vacation. You go on vacation, eat whatever you want and forget about the gym the second you hit the pool. When you get home from vacation, you step on the scale to realize you have not only gained back what you lost but brought a few extra souvenir pounds with you. Who else has been there??

Sadly this used to be a regular occurrence when traveling. I have learned however that a vacation doesn’t have to be the end to a healthy lifestyle. Now when I travel, I want to be able to enjoy my travels but maintain the hard work I have put in. While it requires a little planning, staying healthy while traveling is important and something you will appreciate yourself for after the fact.

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But how do you stay healthy in a city that is known for buffets, alcohol and lounging by the pool? Well as you are planning your next trip to Sin City, check out some of the best deals for hotels on Vegas.com for hotels and activities in Las Vegas.

To ensure you keep up your lifestyle, here are 4 tips for staying healthy in Las Vegas, Nevada:

Set aside time for a workout

You don’t want to let your hard work go down the drain so start your day off on the right foot with a sweat session. Whether you visit the hotel gym or fitness studio in the area, make sure you set aside time to workout (I know I plan to visit the Orangetheory in Vegas the next time I’m there). Whether you love to workout at the barre or have a gym membership, find a workout that you love to do so you will stick with your workout routine through vacation. Better yet, set your next full or half marathon to be in Vegas (Rock “N” Roll Vegas was one of the best I have done) so you can enjoy a runcation. If all else fails, dance some calories off by hitting up one of the night clubs! Even if you don’t want to leave the hotel room (and may have enjoyed your night out a little too much) use a no equipment needed workout to get your heart pumping and burn some calories.

Use your feet to explore

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked up and down the strip. With traffic and congestion on the Strip, walking to your destination is the way to go! This has led to also finding great bars, restaurants and casinos along the way. A great way to get your steps in while exploring Sin City is walking around the city. Another fun activity? Walking to get a bird’s eye view of Vegas on the stairs to the top of the Stratosphere! Remember walking may not get you sweaty but you are burning calories to prepare you for the time you will spend sitting at the tables or next to the pool.

Allow yourself one cheat meal

Like I mentioned, Vegas is known for delicious food. Vegas has some of the most amazing restaurants (now my mouth is watering for some Grand Lux Cafe!!!) but they could also pack your daily calories into one meal! This is why people gain back the weight they lost if not more when on vacation. They simply take in more calories than they are burning. Allow yourself one meal, drink or dessert that you will indulge in (I got through my half marathon telling myself I would get a Sprinkles cupcake after). It is all about balance so make sure to keep your 80/20 rule so you are only indulging 20% of the time. The 80% of the time when you are not eating a cheat meal, utilize some of the healthier food options that Vegas does have like Skinny Fats, Canyon Ranch Grill and Protein House.

Take an active day trip

Vegas really is the center location from a lot of national parks. You are a fairly short drive to Red Rock (the closest), Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon. Why not take a day trip to enjoy nature? Hiking in some of the most beautiful parks around the US is a great way to further expand your trip and get your heart pumping. In addition, Vegas is close to Lake Mead, Laughlin and Havasu where you can enjoy water activities like wake boarding, water skiing, boating and kayaking. Especially during the warmer months, you get to burn some calories and cool off in the water! Even if you do not want to drive, you can set up a tour (Vegas.com) to get you to one of the nearby destinations to do some exploring!


Tell me: Do you work out when you go on vacation?

Friday Favorites #30 – Blog Roll

No matter how stressful or busy my days get, I always find time to read my favorite blog posts. Whether it’s taking a lunch break to read posts or catching up at the end of the day before I sleep, I have been reading most of the same blogs for almost 4 years. (Side note: after writing this I realized how I have seen a large amount of bloggers go from married to having kids and they all have super cute children!) I have been meaning to write a ‘blog roll’ for months now so today in the usual Friday fashion, for Friday Favorites, I will be sharing my favorite blogs. Of course on the blog roll is one of favorites Heather, who is also host of Friday Favorites. Please comment below with your favorite blogs as I would love to add more to my reading list.

Friday Favorites

Fitness

  • A Lady Goes West – I love Ashley’s blog because it is a great mix of fitness, everyday life, delicious food and of course pictures of her adorable dog Rudy! I have always loved her blog as a fellow fitness instructor and most recently as she switched to the ‘corporate’ world, I have been loving her new perspective of working and working out.
  • Carrots ‘N’ CakeTina reeled me into her blog with her running updates and pug pics but has kept me reading with her recipes, insight on various workouts and family updates.
  • Fitness Fatale – Nicole first of all is an absolute inspiration! She really inspires with her motivation and dedication to fitness. And her killer abs (and even after her super cute baby) always push me to work just a little harder in the gym.
  • Hungry Runner GirlJanae is someone I would love to meet in person. Her blog has always made me want to be friends with her and helped me get through a very rough breakup just by her personality, pictures of her adorable daughter and her happy ending she deserved! She is an amazing runner and shares helpful tips for running on her blog.
  • Life in Leggings – I have always loved reading Heather’s blog from her previous blog and her moves around the US. I did not think it was possible to love her blog anymore than she moved to New York (one of my favorite cities) and become a studio manager of Orangetheory so I have continued to be excited to read her posts everyday!
  • Run, Eat, Repeat – Monica writes by far the funniest blog I have ever read! I am constantly laughing out loud at her posts and feeling just a little better each time I read. She is a dedicated and realistic runner that always reminds me that running isn’t always perfect and yes, running and eating go hand in hand.
  • Running 4 Cupcakes – A Body Pump coach, nurse and Mom (with a second on the way), Katie is always a blog I enjoy reading. One of my favorite posts is when she writes sayings her 4 year old does – too cute!
  • Runs For CookiesKatie’s blog is just truly indescribable. Years ago when I first discovered her blog, I was lost for hours just reading article after article. She has lost 120+ pounds and a real example of dedication and motivation. Further to that, she is very real and true to the struggles of her life, losing weight and dealing with depression. I have always appreciated her honesty in her blog posts and why years later still one of my favorite reads.
  • Peanut Butter Fingers – Julie’s blog was one of the first I came across over 4 years ago. Although it is under the fitness category, her blog has continued to evolve to include content I always appreciate. Delicious recipes, killer workouts and pictures of her son and dog Sadie started a love of the blog that still goes strong today!
  • Peanut Butter Runner – Talk about yoga inspiration. Jen is a yoga goddess, fellow dog mom, fitness instructor and of course runner. I just love her yoga challenges and workouts that make me want to push myself just a bit further.
  • SoCal Runner Girl – The next time I am in San Diego, I truly hope to run into Kate. Her blog posts have always made me want to be her friend. Her running = just pure amazing. She posts the most gorgeous pictures and is constant reminder that if you want it, go for it!
  • The Fitnessista – Her name says it all, the queen of fitness. Her workouts are killer. She offers very inclusive summer and winter shape -ups. This is the page to search through when you are at the gym and do not know what to workout. And don’t forget to look through her yummy food pics while you are there.

Travel

  • Pictures & Plane Tickets – Be prepared for major trip envy! Krystle has been to amazing places around the world, always offers a great insight for trips and takes beautiful pictures. Fellow lovers of travel, this is a definite add you want to make to your reading!
  • TravelettesThis blog post is exciting because it has multiple contributors – a group of female travelers, writers and photographers who share travel experiences from around the world. A unique insight from travelers originated from different countries really shows a different side to traveling that will benefit any traveler.
  • The Blonde Abroad – TBA has some of the best trip recaps I have seen. She offers so much trip information, I have looked at a dozen before to narrow down the best time to visit a spot and what I must see. If you are planning a trip, make sure to check out her recaps to help plan your trip.
  • The Tourist of Life – This is another blog that offers perfect destination recaps. I constantly am reading posts from “The Tourist of Life” and experiencing strong wanderlust after seeing pictures from around the world!
  • World of WanderlustWhen it comes to travel blogs, Brooke’s offers unique perspectives of destinations across the world. She also offers a travel book club which is a must join for fellow readers, travelers or lovers of both.

Lifestyle

  • A Spoonful of Style Jade has amazing style. End of story. Her pictures always make my want to put more effort into my outfits! Definite closet envy!  
  • Erin’s Inside Job – Erin’s blog of a breath of fresh air. She is truly an encouragement in life. Her story is so motivational and her blog posts really show what she has learned in life. She offers very thought provoking and encouraging posts that touch on a variety of topics.
  • STUFT Mama – The mama herself, Kristin is the definitive of determined! She has pushed through injuries in running, has twin boys, teaches and still has time to be get her workouts in! I look forward to her always heartfelt and encouraging words.
  • Sweet Tooth, Sweet LifeCourtney not only has two adorable sons but offers a glimpse into the working mom lifestyle. She offers delicious recipes, Stitch Fix reviews and relatable posts.
  • The Skinny Confidential – I have only mentioned TSC like a million times before because it is not only one of my favorite blogs but also hosts my favorite podcast. Creator Lauryn offers all types of posts including fashion, fitness (including her body bombshell) and lifestyle posts! Make sure to check out #askhimandher podcast on iTunes, you won’t regret it!

Please share with me your favorite blogs in the comments. I would love to add more to my blog roll! 

Travel Thursday: Words to Describe Travel

Wanderlust is a word I have written about often on the blog. It is a word that truly describes my strong desire to travel. As I am constantly reading travel blogs and articles, I have come across words from different languages that describe travel in a better way than English words can do. Today, for Travel Thursday, I am sharing some great words that can be used to describe traveling and the feelings surrounding the life changing action.

5 Words to Describe Travel 

fernweh

Fernweh

This might be my new favorite word. Fellow travelers will understand that the ache and desire for travel is a constant craving. Every single day I feel that desire to travel and either think about past places I have been, places I want to go or when I will be able to travel next.

saudade

Saudade

Like I just mentioned, I live very much in the past. My thoughts long for past places we have been, people we have traveled with, beaches we have walked, food we have ate. It is very common for my husband and I to be somewhere and say “This reminds me of..” Nostalgia always stands for my first love, Paris and most recently for Greece.

resfeber

Resfeber

Much like the excitement before a big race or leaving for a vacation, this is the reason I usually do not sleep well the night before. My excitement and anticipation take over and just want the day to be here already! When I know I have a trip coming up, this usually takes over weeks, sometimes months before.

sehnsucht

Sehnsucht

Basically see ‘Saudade’

coddiwomple

Coddiwomple

Some of the best traveling is done vaguely with no plan but to travel to a destination. While we have gone back and forth between scheduled and leisurely traveling, some of our best eexperiences have happened from traveling a new city with no specific place in mind. Aimlessly traveling can land you in a moment you will be so glad you have.

Missed Past Travel Thursdays? Check them out on the Travel Page. 

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Why you should change up your workouts

It is no secret, I love many types of workouts. I am a lover of running, Orangetheory, cycling, yoga – just to name a few. Although I love a lot of different types of workouts now, this was not always the case. When I started working out many years ago, I would go to the gym 5x a week. I started every workout with a 15 minute warm up on the stair-master which would be followed with some ab and light weight exercises. I would finish my workout with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I did the same thing every single workout and as you can imagine I got very sick of my workout after awhile. In addition, I saw very little results. My weight stayed the same and my muscles were non existent. As I began studying fitness, I really started to understand why it is necessary to change up your workouts. Besides just the simple concept of how boring it is to do the same thing everyday, there are actually benefits to keeping your workout routine changing. My workout routine now a days is a healthy mix of cardio, strength training and daily active living. I am never bored to workout and do it because I want to, not because I feel that I ‘have to.” This has made all the difference for my workouts and fitness level.

why-you-should-change-up-your-workouts

Today, I am sharing my top three reasons for “Why You Should Change Up Your Workouts” whether you are new to fitness or a seasoned athlete.

  1. Keeps your muscles guessing : This has been one of the things I have been most surprised about when constantly changing my workouts. I still get sore from workouts and still find myself thinking “Oh I didn’t realize how much those muscles are underused.” By changing your workouts up, you are preventing your muscles from forming muscle memory. When you are doing the same workout, your muscles get used to the movement therefore reducing the work they have to do. There is a reason that cross training can be seen in almost any workout plan whether it be marathon training or weight training. Cross training is beneficial to build strength and flexibility in muscles that are not being utilized in your main training.
  2. Help to break through plateaus / increase results : This goes hand in hand with keeping your muscles guessing. Whether your desired result is to lose weight, tone up, increase muscle mass, increase stamina, etc. if you are working towards a goal, you want to see that goal come to fruition. Doing the same workout will increase quality of life and contribute to healthier living but will not produce strong results. When I used to “lift” weights, I would use light weights and do very few reps. I never thought about what I was trying to achieve. Currently, I am working towards increasing muscle and decreasing body fat %. Since adding heavier weight resistance to my workouts, I have actually started to see my muscles pop up in the places I want them. By adding variety to my workout, I allow my muscles to repair when I am not strength training, shed body fat when I am completing cardio and provide the results I am looking for. In addition, by changing your workouts you help break through plateaus by increasing more calories with new exercises, challenge your body with new movements and help push you to the next level.
  3. Beat workout boredom : How boring would life be if you were required to do the same thing every single day? The same concept goes for working out. If you do the same thing every time you workout, you will get bored real quick. This often results in new gym members stopping a new workout routine because they get tired of the same workout quickly. Part of the reason I love Orangetheory  is that you never get the same workout every day. I thrive on different formats, exercises and points of focus from each workout. In addition, I use my apartment gym, the cycle studio I teach at, the streets to run and any workout outside I can when time and weather permit. I still love all the workouts I have been doing for 2+ years because they are a portion of my workout, not the only way to improve my fitness. Finding the things that you like to do for fitness will help you want to workout and beat that workout boredom.

Tell me: Do you follow a workout schedule or do whatever workout you feel for the day?