Guest Blogger: FAB Races!

I’m proud to introduce my fabulous guest blogger today, Tina from Fabulosi-T. We are both ambassadors for I’m Fit Possible and were teamed up to guest blog for each other. I know you guys will enjoy her post as much as I have!

FAB Races

When I first “talked” (via email) to Alyssa she asked me a few questions about me. Where was I from? Calgary, Alberta, Canada! What’s my fav activity? Running! What are your favourite races? YIKES! Oh my…I had never given it much thought! Hmm. That question got me thinking. How do you pick? The more I thought, the harder it seemed to decide. I knew right away which ones I hated and never wanted to do again (bad organization, race length was really off, lack of aid stations…) But, after some careful thought I finally came up with my FAB list of Fav Races!  

(…And in no particular order…you can’t make me RANK them, too!)

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women’s Run (Canmore, Alberta) 

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I have run this race since 2011, the year I lost 40 pounds. The first year I did 12k in 1.5 hrs, then the next year I did the same distance 15 minutes faster! In 2013 I had an amazing weekend at this run where I ran a halfmarathon on Saturday and followed it up with a 10km on the Sunday. Both were strong races and showcased where I proved to myself I really can push further and be stronger. I love running out in the mountains, it must be something about the air here. I always feel great and the view is spectacular. This race has the BEST swag. Over $50 worth of product, an awesome buff (multifunctional headwear) and giftcards for the RMSC store! At the finish line runners are treated with scented clothes to refresh and wipedown, along with a fantastic healthy lunch. This year, I will run 10km on Saturday and 10km on Sunday in preparation for my marathon the next weekend! I look forward to another great weekend in the mountains. 

Calgary Marathon (Calgary, Alberta) 

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I have run this race since 2008 in all distances (5k, 10k, halfmara and marathon). In 2012, I ran my first marathon. In my hometown! What an experience. This race is special for that reason. I never EVER thought I could do this. But in 2012 after running a few halfmarathons, I nervously made the decision to train for a marathon. It was a hard few months training, but I learned after every run where I went past 21k, 25k, 30k, 38k…that I realized I could actually do this!! And on race day when I finished 42.2 kilometres, I burst into tears! I have never ever forgot that feeling. And, I still get goosebumps when I think of that special feeling that was so overwhelming. This year, Calgary Marathon turns 50 (Canada’s oldest marathon!) and I am once again running the marathon. The bling will be awesome. There will also be a celebratory beer garden! Here’s hoping I can best my time of 5:11! 

Banff Ekiden Marathon Relay (Banff, Alberta) 

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This was not my first relay, but this was the most fun I have EVER had at a race! This is a marathon divvied up into 5 legs. I ran this race with my blogger pals Michelle, Leana and Cori. We were the #littlebloggybluebirds and we had a hoot. We all ran some of our best times all on hills and mountain terrain. And, I think that was partly due to the fact that we were there to have fun, and not concern ourselves with pace. And soon as we left those stresses behind, we had awesome runs, one after another! We lost our voices cheering, and had a wicked time laughing, taking silly pictures and getting to know each other better. These women are rockstars and I love them all dearly. The gals each ran 1 leg, and I ran the two short legs. All legs added up to a marathon! It stands as our fastest marathon too (lol). We learned to roll with the punches, too, as the presence of a bear on the route resulted in the race doing last minute changes to the route.

Run to the Pub (Bozeman, Montana)

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Last March I took a road trip with an old friend and we drove 8 hours to Montana (my first American race!) for a wicked Saint Patrick’s Day Race. The trip was fun, the weather fantastic (we wore shorts in MARCH hurrah). The race itself was very well organized and the volunteers rocked. The view running from outside the city down into main street into a street party with beer was fantastic. It was mostly a downhill course, and felt fantastic the entire time. As we passed houses coming into town, people were sitting outside on lawn chairs cheering us runners on. This was such a great atmosphere. We got great shirts, pint glasses in a sweet swagbag. The town was welcoming, and probably one of the best trips I ever took to a race. I would recommend this race to anyone, and totally want to do it again! 

And my last favourite race? Well, this isn’t a race I ran. It was a race I volunteered at the WOW Superhero 10km Run last October. My friend Cori and I decided to not run and volunteer: BEST decisions ever. Cori and I were at the 10km turnaround point. We planned our superhero outfits, and brought clappers, pompoms and our fabulous cheer. We had a blast cheering on runners and despite the weather (a very early snowstorm). It was an amazing experience high-5ing runners and went hoarse cheering on all the superheroes running. We even cheered on runners on the pathways that weren’t in the race. I have never has so much fun! I think EVERYONE needs to volunteer at a race. you will love it and feel fabulous. 

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 I think that from my FAB race pics, they have something in common. I look for a fun and fabulous experience every time I go out to race. Even if it a ‘serious’ race. If it isnt fun, why bother? Life should be all about having fun and making some fabulous memories. When picking a race to do, have fun no matter what. Everything else will fall into place! 

 What are your fav races? 

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8 Tips to Help You Train for an Obstacle Course Race

Today I have a special guest blogger, Jessie Emeric, from It’s a Messy Life

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I will begin by clearly stating that I am no expert on obstacle course races (OCR), nor am I a personal trainer! I’m just an average girl who found she really loves to push her limits and see what she can do. Last year, I did 3 OCR, including Tough Mudder and this year I’m signed up for Tough Mudder again and Super Spartan. I will probably add a few smaller ones too by the end of the year….what can I say, I really do love OCR!

So that being said, I thought I’d share with you a few tips that helped me complete (read: SURVIVE)Tough Mudder last year and what I plan to do in these next 2 months leading to my obstacle course races in April.

•Eat Clean! They say a good workout can’t out-exercise a bad diet and I really believe this. I’ve noticed that when I allow myself a lot of “cheat meals” my workouts suffer. I’m more sluggish and slow and of course, I don’t see the results I want. So, eating clean in the month(s) leading up to your OCR will help you get lean & strong!

•Focus on Building Upper Body Strength! This was huge for me. Most of us ladies tend to have weaker upper body strength and a lot, if not most, of the obstacles you’ll encounter will require strong arms. Army man crawling, pulling yourself up walls & ropes, monkey bars, etc.. these all require strong upper body strength. Find a workout that is best for you and work on getting those muscles! Push ups, tricep dips, and pull ups (Disclaimer: I have yet to master 1 pull up. It’s on my to-do list!)

•Run! You’re not training for a marathon, but you should be able to run at least 3 miles nonstop. Work on sprints and hills to really get those legs ready for the 10 + mile course.

•Interval Training! You’ll be doing all sorts of things on an OCR from jumping over fire, crawling under barbed wire, and balancing on boards. You’ll have to build up your endurance and agility. Tabata, HIIT, Boot Camps, these are all great examples of high intensity training. Get lots of lunges, high knees, mountain climbers, and frog hops done!

•Burpees! I don’t know anyone who loves a burpee, but everyone agrees they get the job done. And if you’re planning on doing a Spartan race, just know that the penalty for not completing an obstacle is 30 burpees..Yikes!!

•Stretch! Don’t forget to stretch after your runs and workouts! This will aid in recovery, flexibility, and help prevent injury!

•Research! Look at the website photos of the race your doing. Most OCR will have a facebook page and will post photos from their latest race on their page. Also, go to YouTube and look for videos of the OCR you’ll be doing, specifically in your city. This will help you visualize what you’re going to be facing and get you pumped up! Tough Mudder has this great Boot Camp Training on their website where you can build your own workout circuit based on your fitness level and it’s designed to get you through their toughest obstacles!

•Have Fun! Obstacle course racing is all about pushing your limits and finding out what you’re made of, but it’s also about building camaraderie and working together as a team. It’s about having fun and trying something new!

I’m hosting a giveaway to 4 free entries to Pretty Muddy Run, a fun women’s only 5K mud run in a city near you. Click HERE for all the details and to sign up! Contest ends February 20, 2014.

Jessie Emeric
blog: http://www.itsamessylife.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItsAMessyLife
twitter: https://twitter.com/JessieEmeric
instagram: http://instagram.com/jessieemeric

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What you should know about If It Fits Your Macros.

For the last year or so I have heard about If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) so I decided to dig a little deeper to find out more information about

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source: google images

IIFYM pays attention to grams of carbohydrates, protein and fats rather than total calorie intake. So many people have misguided notions about following macros rather than eating clean or counting calories. In truth, there are benefits and downfalls to anything you do. I’ve seen people shame others because they aren’t following the same diet.

I used to count calories but I had to stop. It made me crazy because I would follow the caloric intake I was given but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. Over time I realized it was because I was given too low of a caloric intake to follow, and those calories were used on so many simple carbs and not enough protein or fat.

I also used to eat clean. I always found ways around it because honestly, that’s just the type of person I am.

So now I follow IIFYM. This is not a license to eat a bunch of junk contrary to popular belief. I don’t eat poptarts, cake, soda and candy just because ‘it fits in my macros.’ I understand that some people do, but I just feel so much better when I eat healthy.

I eat about 85% good foods and 15% not so good foods. For me, if I decide to have a cheat day then I don’t even follow my macros. But on normal days I do follow them because it limits the amount or carbohydrates I eat and it encourages me to eat more protein and fat.

What do I eat? Well I like lean meats & fish like chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon and tilapia and I also use protein powder. For carbs I eat oats, berries, bananas, blood oranges, sweet potatoes, apples, shredded wheat cereal, etc. I also like peanut butter, low fat cheese, skim milk and lots of veggies.

So should I be shamed for using IIFYM? Absolutely not. Some people use it as an excuse to eat like crap, but there are those of us who use it to make sure we get enough of what we need to eat. I’m sick of people telling me that eating clean will work better. Guess what? I do eat pretty clean and this works for me. Just like you shouldn’t body shame, stop diet shaming. It discourages people. Talk to people about how they eat in a loving way. Some people don’t know how to eat healthy and it’s okay to give advice, but you cross a line when you start making them feel badly about their choices.

I encourage all of you to do what’s right for you and your body! Feed yourself with healthy foods to feel great. Never hesitate to email me!

xo

Women Who Lift

Grab a pen and paper and get ready to take some notes!

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There is a huge social stigma about women who lift heavy weights. Apparently we’re supposed to be all weak and frail and needy. Wrong. Women lift heavy because of all different reasons. Personally, I like feeling strong and being able to move heavy objects around my house without worrying. Other reasons include losing fat, sculpting muscles, competing, etc.

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Women who have huge muscles either take steroids, trained for YEARS with amazing nutrition to build up that muscle, or both.

Women naturally do not have enough testosterone to build that much muscle if you’re just going to work out. Testosterone is a hormone, the hormone that men have most of and that’s why it’s so easy for them to put muscle on. Women have more estrogen, which is why we have more fat. But women still have a little testosterone and men still have a little estrogen.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “don’t get too big” when I say lifting is my favorite form of exercise. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. It’s also a huge turnoff to hear it from a man and when they say that I usually discount dating them. Sexist, much?

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In all seriousness though, everyone needs to stop with the “real women lift weights” campaign. It’s great to educate the population on the physical and mental components of women lifting, but it’s not the best thing to say. So runners aren’t real? Yogis and cardio queens aren’t either? Last time I checked, we were ALL real because we aren’t robots.

Guess what I’m going to go do right now? Lift some heavy ass weights.

These photos aren’t mine, I got them all from Pinterest.

Friday Five: Food I Eat

I decided to do my Friday Five in recipes that I frequently make because I love food!!

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1. Energy Smoothie

I love this for mornings or before a workout!!

In a blender:
•1 cup of caffeinated green tea
•1/4 cup each raspberries & blueberries
•1 tbsp chia seeds
•1 cup kale
•1/2 cup strawberries
•1/2 of a Granny Smith apple

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2. Egg wrap

I used to eat this for breakfast but lately I’ve liked it as postworkout! I always sautée the veggies first, and any veggies can be used. I didn’t add a serving size for veggies because I love a TON in there, so it’s up to you. I sometimes throw green peppers in there. Then I add the egg whites, then cheese and then put into the wrap. I also add salsa onto the finished product.

•4 egg whites
•2 handfuls spinach
•Red onions
•Chopped broccoli
•Green peppers
•1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (opt)
•Whole grain flat out wrap

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3. Oatmeal Bake

Mmm love oatmeal bake! I don’t like any other oats.

•Add 3/4 cup blueberries in the bottom of a pan (I spray with olive oil first) – note: my recipe says to slice 2-3 bananas and add onto bottom before blueberries, but they don’t fit into my macros with the oats so I leave them out. But I used to use them and they were awesome! Make sure they’re ripe because the green ones (my fave!!) taste funny cooked.

•In separate bowl combine: 1 cup oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Then evenly pour over blueberries.

•In another bowl mix: 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup milk (I use skim). Add that over the dry mixture.

•Add 3/4 raspberries and chopped walnuts (opt) then bake at 375* for 25-35 min.

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4. Protein Shake

I make different variations of these, depending on my mood. Right now it’s 1 cup of skim milk, 1/4 cup raspberries and 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition Mocha Cappuccino protein blended in the blender.

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5. Pancakes

I know what you’re thinking, but these are healthy and amazing!!! They sound weird, but I promise they’re not. This is a variation of the Biggest Loser Oatmeal Pancakes that I made my own. This makes a single serving which is about 2 pancakes. Let me tell you they are very filling too.

•First grind 1/3 cup oats, 1 tbsp cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves and a pinch of nutmeg in a blender

•Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/3 low fat cottage cheese and 2 egg whites then blend

•Pour into a frying pan or onto a skillet and sprinkle a few blueberries onto them.

These are so good with peanut butter or chocolate peanut butter on top!! I hate cottage cheese with a passion, but I cannot even tell it’s in these. The texture is smooth and you can’t even taste the cottage cheese.

Enjoy!

xo

Friday Five in Links

Today I wanted to give some love to some posts I’ve really connected with in one way or another. These are specific posts, but I encourage you to read more!

Enjoy 🙂

1. Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals in 2014

I think this post is good whether you’re new in the fitness world or have been in it for a while.

2. Healthy Gluten Free Recipes

OMG these look so good!! I don’t follow a gluten free diet, more of a cleaner diet, but these look amazing!! And who doesn’t like new recipe ideas?

3. Meal Prep for Beginners

Perfect. If you are unsure about how to meal prep, this is what you need to read. She breaks it all down for you. Meal prep is so easy for fast paced lives. I used to do it, and need to get back to it!

4. Free Printables

Here are some fitness printables! Completely free.

5. 5 Killer Core Exercises for Your Foam Roller

This is a cool post! You do your core work using your foam roller to get a different kind of burn. I’ll be trying these soon!!

Hope you enjoyed reading some different blogs. Have a wonderful weekend!

XO

Weekly Wrap-up: Grad School, GGS ambassador!

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1. So this weekend I’ve been prepping for my first day of grad school!!!! I’m so excited that I finally get to start school tomorrow and that I’m a new member of the NC State Wolfpack! I even have pretty good classes for my first semester! Exercise nutrition, maternal & child nutrition and lactation & milk (which sounds…okay lol).

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2. Ibecame a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador! How fun!! I’m thrilled to rep the brand. Use the hashtags #ggs and #girlsgonesporty so we can see all your pics on Instagram and Twitter statuses!

3. I started Insanity on January 1st. I did the first month of it last year, but I’m wanting to do the WHOLE thing this time. So far, it’s been going well!! I finished my first week and I feel great. Granted, my accountability partner DJ had to force me to workout via text, but it still got done!

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4. I got this new protein in the mail. Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey in Mocha Cappuccino! I finally finished my Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cellucor Whey. It sounded good but there was wayyyyy too much sweetener in it. Hopefully the ON won’t be the same way.

5. Well, I have an orthodontist appointment in the morning to get my bottom teeth straightened out. Unfortunately my dentist waited to tell me (for 2 years) that my teeth have significantly shifted, and of course I haven’t noticed, so once he said that I made an appointment stat! Hopefully my orthodontist can fix it without having to put braces back on!!!!

Xoxo

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My resolutions, a 5k, detoxing and being kind

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So firstly I’m starting out by saying be kind to others. How, you ask? Many people have a resolution by going to a gym. Sure, the gyms are crowded. I get it. But those new people probably feel awkward and uncomfortable. Instead of complaining about them, help them out even if it’s just with a smile. Remember this: you were a new person at the gym once. Help them reach their goals.

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Has anyone seen this picture floating around? I think it’s a great idea!! Which leads me to my resolutions:

1. 20 min of reading time per day, unrelated to school.

2. Lose 15% body fat by the end of the year.

3. Straight A’s.

4. Writing notes in the happiness jar. It sounds so fun!

So how did I spend my New Years Eve? By running a 5k right after it turned midnight! It was SO COLD! But having that memory will be fun.

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I love this water bottle!!! I’ve been wanting one for so long so finally getting my hands on one is great. I have lemon, cucumber and ginger in there. Great for detoxing! I’ve also put cinnamon sticks and apple slices for a good, clean taste. Yum!

Weekend Wrap-up: I’m Fit Possible Ambassador, football and lazyness

The last weekend of the year is here! This year went by incredibly fast…it’s so crazy how time flies by.

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1. I became an I’m Fit Possible ambassador!! Super excited to be joining such a fun team of people.

2. I was so lazy this weekend. I literally did nothing but watch Netflix and workout. Not even ashamed! It was a much needed break. I wish I had another week off from work with pay!

3. I detoxed my butt off this weekend from all the holiday crap. I drank about 90 oz of water a day, using my new infuser water bottle, and drank smoothies once or twice a day. I feel so much better now.

4. So from previous posts you’ll know I was excited to get my new ankle straps and triceps rope in the mail. It was like Christmas all over! Naturally I had to immediately try them.

5. I registered for the Running Under the Lights 5k! It’s in Tanglewood and starts on midnight on January 1st. I’m doing it with one of my best friends who may or may not have to drag me across that finish line. It’s been a long time since I’ve ran! This will be a starting time and in December 2014 I’ll do a finishing time. I want to measure and get better.

6. I took my Christmas tree down today, along with all the decorations. Sigh. I love the holidays and I’m sad we have to wait a whole year for them again.

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7. Panthers clinched NFC South!!!!

Leg day!

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Today was leg day! I love this picture, simply because I can see Richard Simmons saying this. It made me giggle! But anyways…leg day was originally scheduled for tomorrow. Until I received my new ankle strap in the mail! It was like Christmas all over. So, naturally, I had to try it out. (PS tomorrow I get my tricep rope in the mail so looks like it’s biceps and triceps day!)

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#truth. Granted, I do get lazy. I’m working on it. But I love lifting. Sooo I thought I’d post my leg routine. Now, I’m not a personal trainer, but sometimes it’s worth trying someone else’s routine to mix things up. Plus it can be good to try something new! I lift as heavy as I can on everything, unless my body is seriously protesting by the last set. I also superset everything (meaning do the first exercise then go straight to the second exercise before resting).

Superset 1
•Barbell Squats 4×10
•Straight legged dead lifts (barbell) 4×10

Superset 2
•Adduction (cable) 3×10
•Abduction (cable) 3×10

Superset 3
•Barbell Calf Raises 3×25
•Hamstring Curls 3×12

Superset 4
•Donkey Kicks (cable) 3×12
•Leg Extensions 3×12

Don’t forget to stretch! Have fun with it. Adjust your weights accordingly. If you have bad form, drop your weights. We won’t want any injuries!

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Good luck 😉

Friday five…in quotes!

Okay, so I love quotes. So in honor of that, I’ve decided to do a Friday five in quotes! This was hard for me because I have so many favorite quotes to choose from. But, here are five of my faves!

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I had this one as my phone background for a while. It’s a cool picture. Plus, I love it. Always think of yourself as a princess and never let anyone treat you as something less.

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Very true. Don’t ever be embarrassed about doing something out of the norm. You could inspire someone else to follow your lead.

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I love Blair Waldorf. We’d be bff’s if I was an upper east sider. But she’s right. That body you want? Make it happen. That job you’ve dreamed of? Make it happen. Want to go back to school? Do it! It’s not going to fall into your lap. You have to take charge and get what you want. Don’t be afraid to do it. Sure, it could be new and foreign, but it could be fun!

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This is just self explanatory. Another of my absolute favorites!

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Be happy. It’s simple…although sometimes we make it more difficult. It’s hard to purge some things that make is angry, upset or unhappy, but it needs to be done. You only get one life and you need to live it as happily as you can.

Change is good

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This inspired me today. It’s true! I have worked on changing my thinking to change my world. Ladies: I know you think endless amounts of cardio will make you lose weight but CHANGE your thinking! Add some heavy weights! It’ll change your world 😉

I had leg day today. I may not be able to walk tomorrow, but my legs will look good in that graduation dress in may. I challenge you. To what, you ask? Lift heavy tomorrow. Eat clean all day long. Go one day without that soda or juice. Don’t eat dessert. Pick something to change, and do it. Don’t say ‘if I just do this someday then blah blah.’ Change and do it now!

Feel this moment

Feel this moment by Pitbull – great song. I love music. It’s a lifeline for me. I commute back and forth to school (an hour each way) and if I didn’t have music I’d go insane. I hate the radio, though. The talking…no. I recently discovered Fit Radio for my workous. Download it if you haven’t already! It has some great mixes.

Okay, so the title was the point of the intro. Feel this moment. Love that song. Lately, I’ve learned to “feel the moment.” It’s taken me so long to actually do it, but I’m pretty successful for the most part. I’m really trying to feel the moment in workouts and in my eating, which is HUGE for me.

So a little background info:

I’m Italian…I’m a little heavier than I should be, and I’m trying to battle those Italian genes that want me to eat and eat. A few years ago I saw a weight loss site that I signed up for because I was serious about losing weight. So I was all “yea, this is great!” because, you know, I was losing weight slowly. What I didn’t realize was that I was starving myself and very restrictive. I’ve never admitted it until recently that that is what I did…because I nevery realized it until now. I was only eating around 1200 calories. But I’d do so much cardio (I was the elliptical queen, doing 60 min about 5-6 times a week) and I would get hungry that I’d eat a bunch of crap after my exercising! So essentially, I would barely eat, then eat ice cream, cookies, diet soda, etc.

I didn’t realize that I wasn’t actually being healthy. I finally gave up soda a few years ago, which I’m proud of (every now and then I’ll have a little…then regret it when my tummy hurts). NOW my battle is sweet tea. I live in the south where tea is sweeter than you can imagine! And it’s sooo good.

So I had lost some weight in all of my restrictive eating, lots of cardio, and no resistance training and decided to push myself harder by running hard on the treadmill. Bad idea. I gave myself a bad injury. I had a bruised bone and cartilage in my knee which gave me a huge setback. The doctor said I could go on the stationary bike, but who wants to do that when you burn so many calories on the elliptical or treadmill?! Not me. So I got lazy. And with my crappy eating, and lazy (again) lifestyle, I gained weight slowly back. So fastforward to now, and I’m still battling to lose that weight. Except now I realize what I’ve done wrong and how to correct it. I know that I can lift heavy weights and it’s GOOD because I won’t get bulky and I don’t have to do as much cardio. The problem is I no longer want to do cardio! And I’m trying to work on my eating to moderate the bad stuff.

I’m trying to “feel” the moment and make myself go after my goals. It’s hard! But I have graduation in 6 weeks and I really want to look good in that super cute dress I just bought at the store. So I’m going to eat well, lift heavy for 3-4 days, do 2-3 days of cardio, and on my rest day go for a slow walk. After all, I have a Boxer puppy so he keeps me on my toes a lot!

Although I’ll post a lot about fitness, nutrition, and my weight loss journey, I’ll also post randoms. So keep me accountable! 🙂

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