Summer Goals Update

Earlier this summer I made two posts with goals for the summer. The first was travel related and the second was related to personal goals. Since the end of July is coming up quick, I wanted to check-in on my goals to see what I have accomplished, what is still manageable, and what will probably need to be pushed back to next year.

For travel, my five goals were to go hiking at Devil’s Lake, get drunk in a cabin with friends, visit Door County, explore a new cave, and visit Canada. I have done 2/5, hiking at Devil’s Lake and getting drunk in a cabin with friends. Both were lovely experiences. I will not be able to go to Door County or Canada this summer, so I will save those for my 2018 summer bucket list. I will be traveling in August so will check with friends and family to see if anyone would like to check out a cave.

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As far as my personal goals, I wanted to break even on my net worth, lose 15 pounds, spend more time with friends, read a book, and prepare to do well in school. Since this section is a little bit longer, I’ll break each one down a bit more.

  1. Break even on net worth: I don’t think that I will be able to accomplish this goal. My networth was -4k at the beginning of summer and is now -3k. I’m a little bummed out, but I am glad I have made progress. I will keep working toward this goal in August and try to get as close as I can. However, I don’t have a job anymore so there is no way that I am going to be able to pay bills, pay for life, and pay off $3k in debt.
  2. Lose 15 pounds: I have not lost any weight but I have been maintaining which is a positive. I no longer have access to a gym and would like to find a way to work out in August. I actually feel pretty good physically so I am not super worried about losing weight at the moment.
  3. Spend more time with friends: I have spent a lot of time with wonderful people this summer. I have made more of an effort to be in touch with my closer friends, and have had lunches/coffee with people who I care about. I can’t spend all my time with everyone which is a bummer, but it’s been really nice to connect this summer.
  4. Read a book: I have read TWO books ūüėÄ – I would like to finish the book that I am currently reading and find another good one or two to read while I am traveling.
  5. Prepare to do well in school: I have been medium on this. I’ve had a lot of anxiety about starting school but am starting to get it together. Mostly I need to get started on my summer math prep class so that I don’t fail stats this fall.

Lovely lovely. How are you doing on your summer goals?

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Weekly Exercise May 1 – May 7, 2017

I didn’t post a weekly exercise update last week as I was not in the mood.

This last week I was similarly not in the mood to exercise. I was very stressed out with work and other general life issues, and decided not to force myself to go to the gym when I didn’t want to.

I did make it to the gym twice during the week.

Wednesday: I took my dogs to the dog park and had a wonderful afternoon with the two of them. My little dog has gotten significantly more blind since last year and was refusing to get out of the car. I had to fight with him and he is very bitey, so I ended up doing a fancy maneuver. I didn’t take any leashes with me, so I took out my key chain, looped it around his collar, and pulled him out of the car with it. After I got him out of the car he was very excited to park, but I think I might need to stick to the small dog area with him or keep him on a leash.

My big dog was the total opposite. She completely lost interest in running/chasing balls and would just keep walking whenever I tried to get her attention. Then when we got to the end of the park she decided she was a puppy again and went running into the lake. I was pissed because I don’t like soaking wet dogs riding in my expensive car but she was so adorable and happy to be in the water that I let it slide. I ended up throwing the ball for her and she would swim out to catch it. Baby’s still got it!

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It was nice to get out and do some walking with my doggos. After the park¬†I went to spin class. It was not the most difficult class and I only ended up burning 500 calories or so. I didn’t push myself, but I did enjoy the gym session and I felt much better about life afterwards. Anna and I went in the sauna and did some extreme sweating.

On Sunday I was able to take a longer walk than usual while babysitting, and I enjoyed the time outdoors.

After nannying I went to the gym for spin class, but had not realized that the gym had moved to the summer schedule. No more Sunday spin. I was a little heartbroken and decided to do weights instead. I realized when I was doing weights that I have plateaued at my highest lifts for everything but not because I can’t build more muscle. I have plateaued because I do not life consistently. I definitely want to lift more regularly so that I can actually build strength rather than maintain.

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I had dropped a few pounds by Wednesday but was back up to normal weight by Sunday. Mostly not surprising considering that I was not eating well, especially while nannying.

My goals for this week are to plan meals, eat healthy, and track calories AND to make it to the gym three times. My boyfriend is graduating this weekend so healthy eating and gym time will be sparse.

What are you proud of from this past week?

Weekly Exercise: April 10-16, 2017

Monday

Today I went to a the bootcamp class at my gym.

BOOT CAMP: This class delivers a comprehensive and balanced approach for the intense & motivated fitness enthusiast! Designed to challenge your entire body with muscle conditioning exercises, athletic and cardio drills that will challenge your muscular endurance and anaerobic capacity.”

The description of the class is accurate – it totally kicks your ass. We started by running laps around the gym and then moved onto mat exercises. On the mats we did four different exercises for 45 seconds each, repeated three times followed by suicides. After the suicides, we returned to the mats and repeated, but with different mat exercises.

During the first half of the class I wanted to die. I felt really awful and had black fuzzy spots around my field of vision. My stomach also didn’t feel great (and I had been sick all weekend) so I took a break during the first set of suicides and rested. After the break I felt much better and tried my best to keep up with the class. I was VERY happy when the class ended.

IMG_3864.PNGAfter bootcamp I went to the weights, where I did day 2 of Strong Lifts.

  • Squats 5×5 95lbs
  • OH Press 5×5 45lbs
  • Deadlift 1×5 95lbs

That went super well – I was happy with my body for being back up to 95 lbs on the second day of lifting. I sweat buckets but finished the program and headed home.

At the end of the day I had 4,110 steps and 103 active minutes. These were all from the gym because I left my Fitbit at home during the day.

Tuesday

Each Tuesday I have a small group workout class with a personal trainer. I really enjoy working out with the group – it has been nice to get to know the people and talk openly about our fitness goals / motivations / general reasons for joining the class. All together we have lost over 100 pounds in just over two months, which is pretty impressive.

This week we did a routine that was similar to the routine that we did the first week of class. I remember the first week being pretty difficult. This week didn’t seem to be too difficult, but I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t super motivated or because I’ve actually improved my fitness level.

We did a rotation that included – walking around the gym with a 15lb ball held up over our heads, squats, pushups, supermans, crunches with a ball, arm presses, and a wall sit. I don’t remember everything but I did enjoy the workout for the most part.

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We only have two weeks left of this class so I’m excited to put my best foot forward and see what I can do before the end of the month.

I did hang around and get 5×5 of 100lb squats in as well as 55lb bench press

At the end of the day I had 12,741 steps and 103 active minutes.

Thursday

On Thursday I went to spin class. It was my first spin class in weeks. It was hell, but wonderful. I kept thinking, “I love spin class almost as much as I hate exercise.” It’s a pretty accurate quote, spin class is fun and empowering and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. It would just be really nice to not¬†do the actual spinning.

The class that I attended was 1 hr 15 min. We did cycles Рone minute sitting, one minute standing, one minute of jumps (up and down).. Then two minutes.. Then three minutes.. Then we restarted but used a higher resistance. By the end of the class I was drenched with sweat and completely exhausted, but I felt great.

At the end of the day I had 12,005 steps and 123 active minutes.

Also.. I had a surprise this week! Yay!

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Recipe Review: Cabbage Fat Burning Soup

One of my all-time favorite recipes has a ridiculous name: “Cabbage fat burning soup.” Fortunately, this name makes the recipe really easy to find when I haven’t thought about it in ages. I don’t remember how I first came across this recipe – probably during some search for a healthy meal in the early ages of interneting, but it has been a favorite ever since.

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The recipe is mainly veggies, but added tomato juice and beef broth elevate the flavor and make it quite hearty. Since the recipe is so gigantic, one batch lasts for ages. You can switch it up by adding extra pepper, chili flakes, or hot sauce depending on your mood. I like to cook a batch, put it in the fridge, and enjoy it for lunches/dinners throughout the week. If I get tired of it or am feeling extra hungry, I will add quick protein to the side – usually rotisserie chicken. I don’t remember whether or not this recipe had the desired “fat burning” impact that the title claims, but¬†you really can’t go wrong given the amount of veggies that are in each serving.

The recipe is rather straight forward, so I am copying/pasting directly from allrecipes.

Ingredients
5 carrots, chopped
3 onions, chopped
2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
1 large head cabbage, chopped
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans, drained
2 quarts tomato juice
2 green bell peppers, diced
10 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth

Directions
Place carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, peppers, and celery in a large pot. Add onion soup mix, tomato juice, beef broth, and enough water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender. May be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

While the recipe is quite simple, I did make a couple of small improvements.

  • Since I hate cutting carrots, I bought pre-cut carrot “coins” and added in three cups worth.
  • I bought chopped peeled tomatoes with liquid rather than the whole version. There is no point to buying the whole version because there is no circumstance where it is pleasant sticking an entire mushy tomato into your mouth.
  • Buy low-sodium canned ingredients. I am the biggest salt lover of them all but I am currently working on reducing my sodium intake. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done because I genuinely enjoy the taste of ocean water, but you do not need¬†the extra salt in the green beans, tomato juice, or beef broth. If you are really missing the extra sodium when the soup is completed, you can always add a bit of salt in.

In addition to making a few ingredient changes, I also cooked this in the crock pot rather than in a pot on the stove. This is mainly because I did not have a pot that was large enough at home and also because I was hoping to throw everything in, run errands and come home to completed soup. Unfortunately the soup took much longer to cook than I was expecting (I blame the cabbage) and after five hours of cooking on high, I turned the temperature to low and left it on all night. It is possible to cook it in the crock-pot, just don’t expect it to be done as anywhere near as quickly as it would be on the stove.

That’s about it! I’m super excited to enjoy my soup for lunch and dinner today.. And tomorrow.. And everyday this week. And to share some with my family!

Please let me know if you end up making this recipe – and pass along any recipe variations or tasty additions!

Want to read more of my recipe reviews, tips and tricks? Visit my “diet” section.

Water Aerobics for Dummies

Last night I tried water aerobics for the first time. I have a goal of doing cardio three times a week and lifting four times a week during the month of August. I was in a cardio mood yesterday and wanted to swim laps, but water aerobics class was taking place during that time.

I got to the gym early and did a little bit of bicep work, then went into the pool to swim laps. I met up with A, who wasn’t super excited to swim but did it anyway because I begged. I started with the¬†first day of my swim a mile warm-up¬†program (10x25m)¬†and then floated around for a few minutes while waiting for class to start.

Water Power: This is a high intensity total body conditioning class. This class includes cardiovascular moves that help strengthen the body by using the properties of the water. Buoyant and resistant equipment is utilized to increase strength, endurance and flexibility

Once the class got going, I was immediately into it. We did warm up “jogging” under water, which worked really well for my body. I have old injuries on both legs that make it hard to jog IRL, so that was a really nice experience. We did walking lunges, underwater jumping jacks, and a variety of other moves to get our hearts pumping.

I struggled with two parts: coordination and crunches. I am not a coordinated person, and moving my arm in the same direction of my opposite leg was very very tricky. We did that a lot, and I kept having to pause and reorient myself. We also did an interesting version of crunches which literally killed me. We floated on our backs, crossed our legs in front of us, and moved up and down (toward the legs) in a way that set my abs on fire. It was fabulous in a terrible way. I told the instructor I was dying and she told me to stop complaining. Touche instructor, touche.

All in all I completely loved the class and would absolutely go again. I didn’t get the normal “I’m not fit enough for this!!!” anxiety feelings that I get during other gym classes and the class vibes were fabulous. Also, we jumped around in a swimming pool while listening to ABBA for an hour, which is literally my happy place materialized.

10/10 aqua fitness, will attend again.

Lifting for Dummies

This week I lifted for the first, second and third times. It was quite the experience.

Day 1: After attending my first pilates class, I ventured into the women’s only gym to try out lifting. I was disappointed that the Princeton Club does not have a bar/weight lifting equipment for women, and ended up using barbells. I went through everything with between 25-50 pounds and enjoyed it, but realized that I was going to need to lift somewhere else and probably find someone to lift with.

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The next day I went on reddit to seek out a lifting buddy at my gym. I got a message from another woman who is my age, and we made plans to meet up Thursday after work. I was really happy with the responses to the thread (though most were through private message) and its cool to know that there are other people at my gym who are looking for workout buddies!

Day 2: I got SUPER nervous when it was time to meet up with the woman from Reddit! I have met a ton of people from the internet but I still get nervous every time. I psyched myself up and finally send the, “I’m in the bright green shirt” text and she came to find me. Fortunately, she was super nice and normal and in AMAZING shape. I was totally impress with her thighs. I have genuinely never seen muscles like that in real life.

We went to a rack (I didn’t even know a rack was a thing at this point – super newb) and did squats, overhead press, and dead lifts. It was a lot of learning. I definitely have a hard time not hunching my shoulders,¬†likely due to my boob weight drawing them forward for years. I am going to need to do some separate exercises to strengthen my back muscles.

We had a great time, I learned a lot, and I’m definitely looking forward to working out with her in the future.

Day 3: I planned to make it to yoga class and then to a cardio class, and then come back to do weights in the afternoon. Unfortunately I slept through yoga, woke up in time for cardio but remembered that no one usually shows up for it. I decided to do some warm-up cardio and lifting instead. I had a really hard time because the rack that we used the other day was taken, so I had to wander through the gym looking for equipment. I felt really nervous and uncomfortable, especially since everyone else was super buff and clearly knew what they were doing / what equipment to use. I managed to get everything done (squats, bench press, front row) but realized later that I did the squats with the bar in front instead of on my shoulders. Oh well.

I did take this really great picture of my boobs that I’m in love with.

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Conclusion: I like weight lifting. I’m a bit sore and apparently there are muscles in my butt that I never knew about, but I already feel stronger and healthier, and I feel like my posture has improved. I’m excited to get back to the gym on Monday with my new workout buddy and work on my form.