Friday, September 27, 2013

Five On Friday

   I feel like I barely made it through this week. Not quite sure why... but I felt like I was always two steps behind. I have been spending nights working trying to catch up with no luck! So I am excited to see Friday and hope the weekend gives me time to get everything in order! 

Five on Friday today is a mash-up of  this n that and what's been on my mind this week! 

One. Lots of changes are happening for Joe and I currently. It is all really exciting and also really nerve racking at the same time. I'm a planner and have always thought five steps ahead before taking one. So the uncertainty is something that has been hard for me to deal with. I am trusting in God that his timing will work everything out over the next few months. 

Two. Fitbit One. I purchased this hi-tech pedometer last week. It tracks your steps, stairs climbed, calories burned and minutes active. It can even track your sleep patterns. It has really made me aware that I don't walk as much as I thought at work. My goal is to get in 10,000 steps a day which is the recommended amount.  I typically only walk 6,000 in a day at the office. So, Charlie and I have been taking lots of walks after work and I have been trying to run more often too! 

Three. While browsing Target I stumbled upon these beauties! They are extremely similar to a Ralph Lauren pair I have been eyeing for only $40. It may be awhile before I can wear them here on the coast but I could not risk them selling out! You can find them online here

Four. Essie After School Boy Blazer. This was another Target find. This color is dark enough to go with anything without clashing. In the light, the navy color really shines through.  

Five. Fall flowers. I am loving all of the mums popping up everywhere! It seems that mums are the one plant I cant kill (fingers crossed). They add so much color and come in so many different shades. It will be awhile before the leaves change so I am enjoying these first peaks of autumn.

What's on your mind this Friday?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Insanity Review & What I've Learned

   As I promised, here is my review of Insanity. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this workout program. The workouts were beyond challenging  and left me exhausted no matter how many times I had completed the workout. 

I’m going to be honest here, the reason I started Insanity was to lose weight. I was not a fan of the number I saw on the scale. It was the middle of the summer and it was ridiculously hot outside which took running off the table. I did not have a gym membership so I figured Insanity would help me drop pounds quickly without much thought. 

 First let’s talk about the workout plan. Insanity is a 60 day program broken into two different phases.  I absolutely loved the first 30 days. The workouts were 30- 45 minutes tops. By the time you completed the warm-up you were already 1/3 done with the workout. Let me assure you the warm-up is no joke! I was dripping in sweat by the 9 minutes each time.  

Onto the second phase. When the second round of workouts started, the workouts doubled in length. This phase is called the Max phase and it is no joke! The quick 30 minute sessions turned into 60+ minutes/ The moves were twice as hard and there were fewer breaks. At the beginning, I loved how these workouts challenged me daily.  However, once I got to week 2 of the max phase I was burnt out! I am not sure if it was due to starting back to work, the length of the workouts or a combination of both. As you can tell from my weekly recaps, it was very difficult to keep going toward the end. Ultimately, I am proud that I powered through to the end and hope the results show!

Now the physical results! This is where I am my own worst critic. I will let the numbers and pictures talk for themselves. The number one thing I wanted to change was my weight and guess what? The scale did not budge. Yes, this was very frustrating. What was motivating was the inches lost! I lost 4.25 inches total from my arms, waist, hips and thighs. know I have gained a lot of muscle and lost fat. 

The before and after. I debated long and hard about posting these since I did not get the results I wanted. However, in effort of being slightly transparent I wanted to share. 

 Looking back I have a few things I would change about my approach. I thought Insanity would be easy and the weight would just fall off.  One factor that I did not consider was my diet. After the first 30 days of Insanity, I realized that I was a lot stronger and faster but my body was not changing like I would have liked. Then I realized that it was not my workouts that were slacking it was my diet!  I love healthy food and eat pretty clean during the week.  But I have a huge weak spot for sweets and have become a habitual snacker. I’m not talking about  a scoop of ice cream after dinner but a whole peanut butter marshmallow sundae fit for a family of four. Think I’m kidding… I’m not.  It’s a wonder I could even maintain the weight I was at!

For the last 30 days of Insanity, I really worked on my diet. Minimizing my fat intake and increasing my protein. Thanks to a change in diet I started to see changes in my body. The biggest thing that I learned was  not matter how hard you try you can’t out train a bad diet.

On the scale, my weight stayed basically the same and I am okay with that. I can tell that I gained muscle and lost fat. I also learned a lot about my relationship with food and how it affects my body. This is something that I am going to continue to develop moving forward. 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Food & Fitness: September 22- 28

I am finally getting the hang of eating based on my macro goal for the day. Dinners this past week was thrown together based on what we had on hand, lots of chicken and sweet potatoes. Great for me but Joe was getting pretty sick of potatoes by the end of the week. My goal for this week is to plan out dinner and have most of the prep done the night before. I am hoping this will put some variety in our weeknight dinners!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner! Southwest omelets 
Monday: Date night at Mellow Mushoom
Tuesday: Barbecue Chicken Sliders (great crockpot meal)
Wednesday: Teriyaki Stir-fry
Thursday: Sausage Peppers and Onions (with hoagie rolls)

Today was the last day of insanity! I finished my last workout which was the fit test this morning. I am so proud that I stuck to it. I am taking progress pics and measurements this week and will share my thoughts on the series Wednesday. This week I am starting something new… Crossfit!! I am so excited/ scared. I am not sure what to expect at all especially since I have never been a heavy lifter.  I am hoping to share more info coming after my first few classes.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday:  Crossfit Boot camp
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Crossfit Boot camp
Friday: Crossfit Boot camp

Saturday: Rest 

Have you ever tried Crossfit? Does it sound empowering or intimidating?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Five on Friday

Hello, Friday!! It's always good when the week rolls to an end.  The temperature here has finally started to dip below 80 degrees to a crisp 78 degrees. Break out the sweaters y'all!! But really, I am trying to enjoy the warm weather for as long as I can since I know fall is right around the corner. I am looking forward to spending the last weekend of summer on the boat at the beach!!

For today's Five on Friday I want to share my favorite fall treats!! One thing that always makes me feel like fall is a good cup of seasonal coffee. Unlike most, I am not on the Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon. I am in love with the wonderfully delicious Salted Caramel Mocha. This is definitely a sometimes treat since it is not at all healthy, but it's okay to splurge once in awhile.

Since all I see this time of year is pumpkin infused everything I wanted to shine a spotlight on a different fall flavor!! So in honor of my favorite fall drink, I want to share some delicious salted caramel recipes!

I am looking forward to my next girl's night so I can try a few of these and share with friends!! What's your favorite fall flavor?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Food and Fitness: September 15- 21

I’m still pretty consistent with my meals on the weekdays. On the weekends is where I always mix it up and tend to get a little off track. Thank goodness for High Carb day!! Once a week (for me it’s Friday), I switch up my macros and eat twice as much carbs as protein. This is the day that I will enjoy a splurge or two!  I enjoy having extra fruit, maybe some wine and a sensible dessert.

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
Inspired by Babble

1 cup nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons stevia
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ sheet low fat graham cracker

Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. Place the mix in an ice cream maker for a few minutes until smooth. Alternatively, place the bowl in the freezer and stir mixture every half hour until it reaches desired consistency. Top with crushed fat graham crackers.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
Inspired by Dashing Dish

1 Cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt
1 scoop Protein powder (I use Cellucor Peanut Butter Marshmallow)
1 tbsp. Dark Coca Powder
1-4  tsp. Stevia
5-10 Ice cubes (depending on  desired consistency)
1/2-1 cup Water (according to desired consistency)

Place everything in the blender and blend away!

My fitness recaps are getting smaller. Mainly I attribute it to the amount of time I have been doing Insanity. It’s a 63 day program and the ability to commit to something consistently has always been hard for me. I am proudly on the last week and am READY to be done! These past few weeks it has have been hard to keep with starting back to work and switching up when I work out. I can’t say enough how excited I am to finish and move on to bigger and better workouts (Oh yea, more on the upcoming adventure next week!)

Last week of Insanity!!
Sunday: Max Interval Circuit
Monday: Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs
Tuesday: Max Interval Plyo
Wednesday: Core Cardio & Balance
Thursday: Max Interval Circuit
Friday: Max Interval Plyo
Saturday: Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs
Sunday: Fit Test


Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Review: We are the pirates of ECU!

      This past weekend Joe and I headed to Greenville (G-Vegas for the lucky) on one of my favorite fall traditions Pirate Football!

      A little background about me and football.. my small Christian high school did not have a football team. Then when choosing a college I picked one of the only NC universities without football. So, ECU for graduate school was my first real introduction to football. Let me say it has been a learning curve these past 5 years!
       I have become a fan over the years through living in Greenville and attending many a tailgate. Our great friend June is the biggest pirate fan I know and always throws an amazing tailgate. 

      For the tailgate we enjoyed muffins, spinach and egg bites, fresh fruit and spiked coffee. It was a beautiful day for football. Our seats had a perfect view over the 40 yard line. Even though we did not come away with a Pirate win it was a great time with friends!

       After the game the group headed over to Anna's house for dinner and watch some more football. They were amazing hosts and have the cutest town home! We played Yahtzee and Jenga while catching up. For dinner we enjoyed delicious burgers and sweet potato fries from the grill.  

       With this group it is always a good time!! I am sad to see the weekend go but excited to know I will see these girls soon!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Food & Fitness: September 8- 14

My daily diet has become pretty consistent. Breakfast switches between oatmeal and protein pancakes. For lunch, I pack a salad with protein which is normally chicken or turkey. Dinner is a combination of chicken, sweet potato and steamed veggies.  I will mix up the seasonings and combinations for lunch and dinner so it does not get too boring. I have been loving Asian chicken and broccoli for dinner lately. 
Since my meals are pretty simple right now, I wanted to share my favorite protein bar recipes! I have become a huge fan of Quest Bars. Most flavors are under 200 calories and have over 20g of protein! Also, many of them are all natural! While they are amazing snacks on the go they cost a pretty penny! So I set out this weekend to create my own protein bar recipes. After taste testing, I have to say they taste more like dessert than a protein bar!

Homemade Quest Bar
4 Scoops Whey Protein Powder (I used peanut butter flavored)
 Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup of stevia
1/4 cup Almond flour
¼ Tsp. of Maple Syrup
A few Tbsp. of Water

You can add a few extra ingredients to your dough to change the flavor.
-Cinnamon Roll: add 1/2 Tbsp of cinnamon to your dough
-Chocolate Brownie: add 1-2 Tbsp of cocoa powder to your dough
-Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: add 2 Tbsp of chocolate chips to your dough

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add peanut butter and water. Kneed the dough until all of the ingredients are well distributed. Press into a baking pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, cut the dough into 5 bars. Store these bars in parchment paper or foil in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Crunch Pumpkin Bars
4 egg whites
¾ cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. sugar free honey 
¼ cup almond flour
2 scoops whey protein powder
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. cinnamon 
½ tsp. baking powder
handful of almonds, walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix the egg whites, pumpkin, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. In another small bowl combine oat flour, protein powder, spices and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine. Pour mixture into a square pan coated with cooking spray. Top with nuts. Bake about 18-20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. cut into 7-9 bars. Enjoy!

Alright, I have finally hit a wall with insanity. My legs are exhausted and my shoulders and constantly sore. I took two days off last week and completed some running as cross training. It felt so good to get outside and run! I was also happy to see that I have not lost my cardio endurance. I only have two weeks after a big pep talk this morning I know I can power through it. 

Sunday:  5 mile run
Monday: Core Cardio & Balance
Tuesday: Max Interval Circut
Wednesday: Max Interval Plyo
Thursday: Max Cardio Conditiong & Cardio Abs
Friday: Max Recovery
Saturday: Max Interval Circut

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Food & Fitness: September 1- 7

After transitioning from the 21 day detox, I knew I wanted to keep focusing on keeping my diet lean and clean. My diet has always been the downfall to my healthy living. I will admit I have such a soft spot for sweets and carbs. I love to work out but my diet has always prevented me from having the body I work so hard for. 
Right now I am focusing on the amount of carbs, protein and fat in my diet. The great thing about a diet based on macros is that you can alter your meals based on what your craving as long as it fits into the macro ratio.  I am still trying to get the hang of this, so I don't want to bore you with a bunch of dinners featuring chicken and sweet potatoes. Next week I will have some delicious  clean recipe ideas to share with you!
Still going strong with Insanity. These longer workouts are no joke! I am always exhausted at the end of each video and my muscles are so sore. I can already tell a big difference in my core and legs. 
Sunday:  Max Cardio Conditioning 
Monday: Max Interval Circut
Tuesday: Max Interval Plyo
Wednesday: Max Recovery
Thursday: Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs
Friday: Core Cardio & Balance
Saturday: Rest