Monthly Archives: February 2011

Brushing Up On February’s Magazines

Just in the nick of time! It’s the last day of February and March’s mags are all over the newsstands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up an old issue and learn some new tricks (With the flu hitting so hard, you’re bound to see something older at a doctor’s office). Here are a few winners in four of my favorite titles.

1. Marissa Miller has a killer bikini workout.

Miller has a rockin' bod. You can too!

It’s not a surprise when she looks like that on the first page of her feature. I love the “triple-delt duty” exercise sequence to sculpt amazing shoulders and the “burpee” definitely wipes you out! Wanna know how to do it, too?

“Burpee”

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and put hands on floor in front of feet.
  • Hop feet back, then forward again.
  • Jump up, catching air and raising hands over head.
  • Continue for one minute.
  • Add a push-up while in plank pose to make it more of a challenge.

“Triple-delt duty”

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand out to the sides at shoulder level.
  • Circle arms forward 15 times, then back 15 times.
  • Next, bend elbows at 90 degrees.
  • Rotate forearms down so they’re parallel to the floor, then back up. Do 15 reps.
  • Finally bring elbows together in front of you, then back out. Do 15 reps.

Pick up the February issue of Shape to get the rest of this fat-burning workout!

2. You’re not too fat for the gym.

Excellent, excellent essay.

Self had an amazing essay by Renee L. Todd about dealing with weight gain after being a gym rat. At first, Todd never missed a spin class and made a home among the family of women there. But then she turned into a worried mother to an autistic son, and she felt ashamed heading to the gym to better herself when she could’ve been spending her time finding new ways to help her son. After awhile, she simply felt too fat to go to the gym and was terrified of showing herself in front of her former spinning family. This essay is definitely a must-read, especially if you’re looking for that extra boost of motivation.

3. Machines are your friend.

Lean, mean, fightin' machine!

A ton of my clients tell me that they’ve never used strength-training machines simply because they don’t know how and they look pretty intimidating. Well, FITNESS broke it down for us, explaining which machines are the most efficient and how to properly use them. Now you can be confident using the same machines as the guys!

4. Sleek strategies to boost your body confidence.

Isn't he nice to look at?

Dr. Travis Stork, author of The Lean Belly Prescription is featured in March’s issue of Women’s Health (they put out a January/February issue) and shares the secrets that will slim you down and help you feel healthier and more confident about your body. One not-so-fancy tip? “Spend more time in the dairy , produce and meat aisles,” Stork says. “That’s where slim women shop.” Pick up the latest issue to get more of his slim strategies.

Have you read these issues yet? What do you like about them?

Your Feel-Good Workout Playlist

Although National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean its purpose should end. Throughout the week, I’ve hit up the library to find some more good reads about the inner workings of an eating disorder, just so I can understand it a bit more. A few that I’m really looking forward to reading:

Please keep in mind that I have not actually read these books yet, so I can’t recommend them. But you can always start reading along with me!

I’ve also found myself migrating toward morale-boosting, feel-good music. Tunes that uplift me during my workout and make me feel beautiful from the inside out. After all, I don’t work out to be skinny or because I feel guilty about a slice of pizza I ate. I exercise because it makes me feel amazing and I revel in the post-workout endorphins that surge through my body. So what songs are making me feel so fantastic during my sweat sessions? Check it out!

In no specific order:

1.) Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars

2.) Crazy by Simple Plan

3.) Imperfection by Saving Jane

4.) It’s My Life by Bon Jovi

5.) Born This Way by Lady Gaga

6.) Video by India Arie

7.) Perfect 10 by Beautiful South

8.) I Am Not My Hair by India Arie, featuring Akon

9.) Ugly by Sugababes

This song has been stuck in my head all week and I’m absolutely in love with it. I’ve always loved Pink and her music — she’s so strong and embraces being different. She’s a great role model for young girls to look up to. Enjoy one of her latest:

Most of these songs are a little too slow for me to run to, so I often pop on the playlist when I’m on the elliptical or doing strength training. I hope you find a few to fall in love with, and remember you’re amazing just the way you are 🙂

What are some of your favorite feel-good songs?

Let’s Talk About It: Eating Disorders

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” I find this extremely appropriate because isn’t that one of the reasons why eating disorders are so dominant in today’s society? Because people don’t talk about it enough. Eating disorders is a taboo subject and it shouldn’t be.

Living in a college environment, I’ve noticed that eating disorders are a lot more prevalent than one might think. After all, more than 10 million women and one million men are struggling with anorexia and bulimia. There’s the terror behind gaining the “Freshman 15,” stress from a typical college student life that doesn’t always let kids learn about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and the pressure to please others. But with movements like Operation Beautiful, Fat Talk Free Week and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, students are starting to realize that it’s okay to talk about the shady subjects. People need to understand that eating disorders are illnesses — not choices people make — and movements like these help foster that knowledge. 

This does not determine how awesome you are. Image via Flickr user Wader

I try to provide outlets to those who have been affected by an eating disorder as well, so I’ve opened up my blog space a few times for my friend, Mike, to talk about his battle with anorexia. One of the hardest parts for him was not always having the support he needed, so it turned into a mental battle that consumed his daily life. By talking about it, he helped relieve the inner tension and remember how amazing he really is.

Mike = talented writer and fantastic friend.

I’ve also spotted Active Minds at Oswego State various times across campus this week, providing educational material for students along with bookmarks and inspirational boxes. I filled mine with a ton of messages that remind me of why I love myself, so I can look through whenever I feel negative thoughts bombarding me.

Pretty nifty, huh?

Not to mention Operation Beautiful is beginning to take over this campus. I’ve walked in on quite a few Post-It notes the last few months and can’t help but smile whenever I see one. I’m hoping a few ladies have gotten some joy out of the message I’ve left for them, too.

Capture it, remember it.

If you’re looking for a few good reads pertaining to eating disorders, I recommend:

I read each book after having them recommended from a friend who struggles with bulimia and another who suffered from anorexia. Both say they’re on-point and help nourish understanding, and I found them to be very helpful in my personal understanding of an eating disorder as I have not struggled with one myself.

I strive to be healthy from the inside out every day and hope that anyone who reads this blog will do the same. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Are you talking about eating disorders this week?

Alphabet Soup Spells The Pulse

While perusing my blog reader, I noticed that two of my fellow bloggers, Julie and Gabriela, posted the alphabet about themselves. I thought it was a cute and fun way for readers to get to know the person behind the blog, so I’m going to hop on the band wagon and do the same! After all, it keeps up with my online new year’s resolution, so let’s get crackin’!

Age: 21

Bed size: Full. It’s the perfect size to accommodate Dustin-the-blanket-hog and Samantha-the-bed-hog.

Dustin's buried in that mess of blankets. Can you spot him?

Chore you hate: Cleaning the tub! I’ll clean every other part of the bathroom, but I despise cleaning the shower. Heads up to future roomies, Libby and Victoria!

Dogs: Big or small, I love them all! (But I have a slight preference for bigger ones.) I love my golden retriever back home, Cinnamon, and can’t wait to own a Siberian Husky and Saint Bernard when I’m older!

Queen of the car.

Essential start to the day: Something with a hint of peanut butter for breakfast while I catch up on blogs.

Favorite color: Red! Check out my big red bag that goes with me practically everywhere.

I carry around way too much stuff.

Gold or Silver: Silver, hands down. Not a huge fan of gold.

Height: 5’8″

Instruments you play: I haven’t played since I started college, but I played flute for nine years and alto saxophone for five years. Music was a big deal in my high school, so I learned the basics of nearly every instrument too.

Job title: Student. We’ll have to see what it switches to at the end of May. Hopefully not “unemployed.”

Kids: None, but I wouldn’t mind having two in the far-away future.

Live: This last year, I’ve made a home in New York City, Oswego and Oppenheim. Originally from Oppenheim, go to school in Oswego and have spent four months in NYC. Oswego has seen my face most often though.

Oswego's gorgeous sunset with lovey-dovey couple.

Oswego's current state of frozen beauty.

Mom’s name: Linda.

Nicknames: Sam, Sammy, Wipeout, Sammykins (last one due to best friend, Liz).

Overnight hospital stays: When I was four for severe dehydration, again when I was 18 for the same reason (both due to strep throat), another night when I had reconstruction surgery for my ACL and meniscus, and a final time when I developed blood clots after said surgery. It’s safe to say I don’t really enjoy hospitals.

Pet Peeve: Leaving shampoo bottles open in the shower. Simple grammatical errors. Slow walkers. People who chew with their mouth open.

Quote from a movie: “What’s with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples?” -10 Things I Hate About You (R.I.P. the fantastically-wonderful Heath Ledger)

Righty or Lefty: Righty.

Siblings: Oh boy, you asked for it. I have two blood brothers, Justin and Scott. Then from my mom’s remarriage, I have two step-sisters and a step-brother — Karissa, Stephen and MaKaila. Then from my dad’s remarriage, I have two twin step-brothers named Justin and Jeff. Yep, I have two brothers named Justin.

Little bro-ha Scott and I. Yes, he's bigger than me.

Time you wake up: Usually 9:00, no matter what day it is. I think that’s pretty good for a college student!

Underwear: Sorry, Internet friends. That’s for me to know and you um, not to find out.

Vegetables you dislike: Mushrooms, raw onions, cooked spinach and zucchini.

What makes you run late: Often my own procrastination. I live for the deadline, so I usually cram my schedule so I have just enough time to finish everything, which usually makes me a few minutes late. I blame it on being a journalist.

X-rays you’ve had: I think just for my knee and teeth.

Yummy food you make: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies! They’re my specialty.

Zoo animal favorite: Tigers and polar bears.

I just want to hug them!

Your turn! What’s your…

Quote from a movie? Or share any other answer!

Fuel for the Big Race

Although I eat rather healthy, I must admit that I don’t exactly know what I should be doing to fuel my body for such a big race. I know that plenty of protein is great post-workout and carb-loading is best the night before a big workout, but I don’t know a lot of the nitty gritty stuff.

I’ve been perusing multiple magazines and websites in order to change this predicament and have found a ton of great recipes to try! I was so excited to get started that I even offered to cook dinner for Dustin and I Friday night (This may not seem like a big deal, but I rarely put on the chef hat).

To start my cooking expedition, I made FITNESS magazine’s tarragon chicken with a few alterations. First, I cut the ingredients in half because the recipe is for four servings and Dustin and I only need two (Well, Dustin usually needs another but he opted for just one this time around). We both don’t like mustard either, so we opted out the Dijon mustard. Finally, we substituted thyme for tarragon because I already had some thyme in my cupboard and the recipe said it works just as well.

Dustin was nervous about cooking the chicken, but my good ole’ working days at Friendly’s (don’t judge) left me feeling confident as I tossed the two seasoned chicken breasts into canola oil.

Sizzlin' chicken.

After 35 minutes, I served up a yummy chicken entrée with cooked shallots on top, then piled on mixed veggies.

Peas, carrots and green beans, oh my!

So maybe this isn’t a meal I would think of specifically for working out, but it was pretty darn good!

This morning I headed to the gym for my second long run, ready to log six miles on the treadmill because the frigid temps and heavy snowfall aren’t convincing me to head outside just yet. I knew I was going to need something a little more than water, so I picked up one of these babies to test out.

Gel-packed Gatorade. I can't help but think of the movie, "Waterboy."

The berry-flavored gel drink tasted great and really helped me breeze through the first few miles of my run. This is the first of the G series I’ve tried from Gatorade, but I’m definitely going to try out more!

Afterward, I chowed down on a delicious grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich — a gooey mess to treat my taste buds while giving my body some much-needed protein. I was craving more peanut butter though, so I chopped up celery sticks and topped them with the treat, just like mom used to do when I was a kid.

So much deliciousness on one plate.

Anyone have some good recipes to fuel a workout? Any fun Valentine’s Day dates?

Why Run a Half-Marathon?

The more I tell people that I’m training for a half-marathon, the more often this question arises: “Why do you want to run a half-marathon?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question, trying to come up with an answer better than, “just ’cause.” In the end, I’ve come up with five reasons. From least important to most:

5. I want a rockin’ body on my last spring break trip. (Helloooo, Los Angeles!)

4. I want to be in the best shape of my life.

3. I’ve always wanted to be a long-distance runner, but naturally have a knack for speed races.

2. I want to come back from my knee injury and blood disorder diagnosis.

1. I want to please my mother.

I’m taking advanced nonfiction writing this semester and my professor asked us why we do things a certain way. At one point, we talked about completing assignments at the last minute and she asked if we would still do things so late if we hadn’t always gotten good grades. Essentially, she wanted us to examine the motivation behind our actions. I realized that the grades mattered to me, but mostly because they mattered to my mom. Good grades = a good job = a good life. I started asking myself this question in other areas of my life and realized I came to the same answer.

I want to please my mother.

There she is!

My mom is one of the smartest women I’ve known. She taught me how to be determined and motivated just by watching how she handles herself. And I’ve learned from her mistakes, which is critical when raising a daughter. After all, what mom wants her daughter to repeat the same mistakes she made?

My mom is also incredibly strong. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer a few years ago, even though she didn’t have the classic symptoms associated with the disease. But after a hellish fight, my mom sent cancer packing and now works with the American Cancer Society to help find a cure. Cancer could have ruined her life, but instead it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Her diagnosis lit a huge passion for fighting cancer in both of us and we now work together to fight for a world with more birthdays.

At Relay for Life in 2010.

But where does fitness come into all of this? For the last two years I’ve been a personal trainer at my campus fitness centers and am studying to get my national certification. My mom has a science-heavy background and there’s a science behind fitness, which gives us another thing to talk about and work on together. You never know how much time you’re going to have with your family, so my interest in fitness lets me bond with my mom in unique ways.

Bowling with my momma & fighting cancer - multitaskers right here!

Plus, I just want to come home exclaiming, “I ran a half-marathon!” and have my mother be proud of me. As far as I know, nobody else in my family has done this before and I want my mom to enjoy my accomplishment. As I’m sure any child can attest to, there’s nothing quite like seeing pride in a parent’s eyes.

So when I hit the treadmill, I run not only for myself, but for my mom too. Every bead of sweat is just one more step toward my accomplishment. So when I cross that finish line (even if I’m crawling across it), I know I’ll be proud of myself, no matter what.

Surviving Week Two of Training

13 days down, 57 left to go.

Week two of training is going well, but it has definitely been more difficult than last week. School is in full swing and I’m launching an online magazine while growing a networking organization, so my time is very limited. However, I make sure to schedule gym time so I’m pumping out good sweat sessions six days a week.

I can't live without my planner.

My mileage went up a bit too, but not by much. We’re in week two, so I only have to log 14 miles throughout the whole week. For my cross-training, I attended H.I.T.S. again and I think I’m going to like this class more and more each week! It gets the blood pumping and is filled with multiple variations of squats and planks, two of my favorite exercises. Plus a lot of my co-workers from the gym go, so it’s fun to sweat the good stuff with ’em.

Tons of H.I.T.S. lovers, right here!

One of my clients wanted to learn more about spinning and I decided the best way to teach was to do it with her, so I threw that into my training as well. Instead of my usual trainer shirts, I hit the spin bikes donning one of my favorite shirts from high school, back from my frequent softball days.

I know you're thinking of the song now.

The nickname is pretty self-explanatory. Let’s just say there were many times when I found myself tripping over things or falling randomly. But hey, I say it helped me become one of the best base-stealers around!

Friday was my first long run because I had to complete five miles consistently. I did my best not to walk at all, but ended up caving a little after four miles. I only walked two tenths of a mile though, then made sure to pick the pace back up. My goal was to finish within 50 minutes because it was an endurance run. I ended up completing it in 53:56, but I’m still proud of myself for pushing until the very end.

I’ve completed nearly two weeks of training and am still pumped about this race! What I’m not so pumped about? This pile of homework sitting next to me that needs to be finished.

The magazine in there is the only good part.

Until next time!

What are your fun fitness plans this weekend?