Feb 28, 2014

Good Bye Fitbit Hello Fitflex

In my Valentine's Fitbit blog I wrote about the fitbit my bf got me for Valentine's Day.  I was happy to get it because I wanted to track my daily activity and calorie burn.  It tracked steps, distance and calories burned which was great but it did it based on the info I plugged into my dashboard so it was pretty general.  One day it calculated that I burned 1,254 calories and at that rate I will be gaining more and mor weight.  But I am not so I need a new measurement.

It did not track going up or down stairs, every day movement, lifting or anything that I do above walking.  It brought great awareness to the fact that at work I hardly get in that many steps because I am at my desk all day long but I make up for it in the gym.  This is what I wanted to know about so I traded it in for the Fitflex.  Honestly, I do not think I am going to get the info I am looking for with this either but it tracks sleep patterns and I would like to know my sleep patterns.  It is a great way to see how much tossing & turning I do - or don't do!

The Fitflex is worn on the wrist and since I have been sleeping with it on I do not have to worry about forgetting to put it on first thing in the morning to track my movement before heading to work.  This already makes a difference.  Additionally, it tracks that I move my body - not just my legs.  I have  used it for a couple days and so far I see a lot more activity but it still shows me at around 1800 calories a day.  In the Valentine's Fitbit blog I talked about how I usually consume 1800 calories on days I am NOT working out and about 2,200-2,400 on days I am.  Actually, I probably consume 2,200- 2,400 every day and then work harder the day after a rest day to compensate :)  Or I just bitch about my pants being tight.....whatever.  hahaa

I just realized I can wear it in the shower so I'm NEVER taking it off.  LOL.  The real test will be today at the gym.  Although, I'm pretty damn sore from cross fit these last couple days so I will get back to you and let you know how it goes the next couple days.  I am at work and so far I have walked 188 steps.....def NOT enough. 

The Fitflex tracks movement even during sleep so it has been neat to see how long I go without moving.  Which could even be tossing and turning.  It also shows increased calories burned during potty breaks- which I hate in the middle of the night but with as much water as I drink it is inevitable.  So far, it looks like I move about every hour.  How do I know when REM sleep begins?  I don't know the answer to that and I don't really feel like looking it up but I bet I will!

It also tells you about how much activity you are getting when you double tap it.  It will show one little light for every 20% of the recommended daily activity completed.  (I think it said 20% but I cannot quite remember).  It has a lot of great features including logging your food and daily activity.  The Fitbit allows you to enter food as well but I did not keep it long enough to figure out if it did anything else.  Both allow you to join a community of other Fitbit/Fitflex users to help keep you motivated and accountable.  Those are great features for those who are looking for that.  Especially if you are looking to lose weight.

Post comments below.  I want to hear what kind of tracking device you use or would like to use.

Follow me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 26, 2014

Treat Meal VS Cheat Meal

A cheat meal is when a person allows themselves to have something they normally would not eat.  This is something done usually at the end of the week as an indulgence.  A way to enjoy the foods that are usually avoided and it is done in order to prevent binge eating.  It is usually just one meal per week but some people do it for an entire day.  The meal usually has more fat and calories than a typical meal and it brings pure bliss!  :)

 I have always said that avoidance of certain foods are the best way to head diving straight back into old behaviors and eating patterns.  It truly is the way to end up in a binge eating sesh.... or even a few.  Did I ever tell you the story about how I would deprive myself and then eat an entire junk food item in the parking lot of the store I just bought it from?  I could not even wait to get it home and ate it all at once.  I have done this with crumb cakes or other baked goods.  I had a rule that I did not buy what I considered to be junk or garbage and if I wanted it I would get the single serving and if the single serving was not available I would get the mini.  So I had a mini-Boston cream pie and ate half of the damn thing in one sitting!  I had to force myself away from it at that.

Moderation is key.  Eating 4 servings of a crumb cake at once because I just could not stop is sorta embarrassing but I've done it.  I may over indulge on holidays but I have done that my whole life so that makes it alright, right?!  hahaa :)

I always suggest having a cheat meal and a few months ago I saw an interview with Jilian Michaels where she said she does not have "cheats".  She has "treats" and really, I have been eating clean (mostly) for so long now that I could see why she calls them 'treats' instead of cheats.  I was reminded of this today when I read Fitness Blondie's blog and she talked about a fantastic treat meal she had.  

I was just thinking the other day about mindset and I wrote Think and Grow Thin.  A lot of what we say or how we perceive things can really impact our view and behavior towards food.  I really like the idea of calling meals 'treat' meals as a way to refer to something that we do not typically eat.  Because I no longer 'cheat' since my eating habits are pretty consistent day to day.  Even my 'cheat' meals aren't really cheats..... except maybe chicken pot pie.

I will say that I tried to make it as low cal as possible so that it did not kill my whole week!

Do you have special weekly meals?  If yes, do you call them cheats or treats?

 Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle
~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 24, 2014

Bis & Chest Workout w/a Twist

Last week I talked about a woman's breast tissue being "high and tight."  Here is an image of the muscular tissue that is found on every woman.  IF it gets worked, amazing results can happen.  To be specific, the breast tissue itself will not lift, it is the muscle underneath it.  I am just playing on words by saying "breast tissue" ;)

This image shows the muscle tissue in strand-like fibers and the breast tissue lies over it.  This is the Pectoralis Major.  Since women have breast tissue we, often times, think it will turn into a hardened chest muscle like men have.  Reality:  even men do not have hardened, or pronounced, chest muscles unless they REGULARLY LIFT HEAVY.

Ladies, do not be afraid of developing a manly chest.  Instead, you will have a more shapely, lifted chest that defies the laws of gravity!!  (and kids)  :)

[mini disclaimer:  the lift will not occur overnight.  It will take a lot of training with weights and a healthy low cal/low fat diet to burn and reduce any excess body fat]

When the muscle is firm, it pulls and tightens the surrounding areas.  It also helps decrease fat content which also reduces the appearance of sagging.  Come on lovely ladies, give it a try.  Guys, I already know you love to workout your chest and you see the benefit but women tend to neglect this area and I am here to tell ya, you should not neglect it!

Do one set:
Incline Dumbbell curls w/7.5 lbs in LEFT hand and 10 lbs in RIGHT x 10
1 minute sideways run on treadmill for 1 min
Do one set switching the weights:
Incline Dumbbell curls w/7.5 lbs in RIGHT hand and 10 lbs in LEFT x 10
1 minute sideways run on treadmill for 1 min
Next set increases weight:
Incline Dumbbell curls w/10 lbs in LEFT hand and 12 lbs in RIGHT -I went to 7 reps then hold with elbows bent, supporting the weight for a few seconds
Super Set:
Russian Twists with 25lb weights and move legs in a bicycling motion
Incline Dumbbell curls w/10 lbs in RIGHT hand and 12 lbs in LEFT x I went to 7 reps then hold with elbows bent, supporting the weight for a few seconds
Super Set:
Russian Twists with 25lb weights and move legs in a bicycling motion

This is a great way to mix up your workout because it really confuses the muscles as they are not accustomed to being off balance.  Be sure to balance out the other side by alternating the weights.

Incline Dumbbell Press same concept as above by beginning with 2 different weights and alternate 4 sets of 10
Super set each set with 10 push up spiders

High Pulley Curls beginning with 10 lbs & increase 10 lbs per set.  10 reps each and hold the last one for a few seconds
Super Set with Roman Chair straight legs, bring them high (try to get your feet above your head) 10-12 reps each

Low Pulley Curl with Straight Bar start with 20lbs & increase 10lbs per set- 3 sets of 10 w/final set of 17 reps
Super Set with Roman Chair straight legs, bring them high (try to get your feet above your head) 10-12 reps each

The above image is a cable cross over.  I like to modify it a bit by standing slightly straighter to target the lower portion of the Pectoralis muscle to help create the lifted, sculpted chest. 

I did this modified version with 10-20 lbs 3 sets of 10
Super Set with 3 sets of decline crunches with 12 lb medicine ball.

Ladies, do you work your chest?  Why or why not?

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 23, 2014

Think and Grow Thin- the Power to Always Stay Motivated

Think and Grow Rich it is all about mindset which reminds me of weight loss.  For some reason the phrase “Think and Grow Thin” always pops in my head.  The truth is it is all about mindset.  When a person is motivated to accomplish a goal they try and try again, never giving up, until they finally achieve it.  It does not matter how many failures there are because the mere attempt makes the person a winner.  Eventually those efforts will pay off.  Staying motivated to never quit is what’s important.  

After I wrote this I Googled “Think and Grow Thin” just to be sure I was not using an idea that someone else is already using.  I thought it was a genius idea and that I was the one who came up with it.  Nope.  Someone already did and the book is for sale on Amazon.  As I read the description I absolutely love it!  This blog was supposed to be short and quick so I left out a lot of helpful details.  Once I read this description I decided I better add a few thoughts.  In order to keep it short, I decided to include a link instead.  I wrote an article about how sometimes difficulty with weight loss is more than motivation and will power.  Click here if you would like to read about it.

 For those of you who have read Think and Grow Rich you know that Napoleon Hill refers to many great individuals who became highly successfully but went through many tribulations to get there.  The greatest common factor between them all?  They did not allow setbacks to make them a failure-meaning they did not quit.  They persisted and made changes to what was being done in order to become successful in their venture. 

Motivation can come and go, that’s OK, and that is part of life.  The point is to be sure to regain the motivation and try again.  Your health is highly important and your kids are looking at you as an example.  I am sure you want to set great examples for them so they are prepared with the knowledge to live a healthy, long life!
Take Henry Ford, for example, he worked on the V8 engine forever and a day.  All the while being told it could not be done.  With each failure he persisted telling the engineers to find a way.  As we all know, there are V8 engines so we know it finally worked!  Maybe not in the time Ford would have wanted but he was successful in the end.

Sometimes the hum drum of everyday life gets in the way.  It seems like obstacles can weaken the morale and sometimes that gives way to a mindset that nothing ever goes our way.  Which leads to losing desire to accomplish a specific goal.  This can be any goal but for today’s purpose I am talking about weight loss.  It is important to KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that no matter what your body type is or what you were unable to accomplish before, it is possible for you to make a difference if you continue to believe in yourself.  (Please know I am not referring to specific medical conditions as I am not an expert in those areas).  The power of suggestion is mind blowing.  You would be surprised what you can do when you believe it.  Stay positive and always look for new solutions if something is not working.  

One of the most common problems I hear is gaining weight when incorporating a workout routine.  The probable culprit behind it is hunger.  When the body burns the fuel it has in the stomach it needs more.  Just like any other day.  When the stomach is empty it is hungry.  When a person works out they are burning more calories than usual and calories come from food.  (you already knew that-duh) 

Stored body fat is what the body has set aside for a time of famine.  The body is supposed to do that like it did in the cave man days- it set aside reserves so that when there was no food for a day or 2 or 3 or more, a person did not literally starve to death.  Remember, the body is doing its job when it stores excessive food as fat.  Of course storing it is the easy part, it is shedding it that is the difficult task.

Anyway, when a person is hungry they eat.  This is how we do things so there is nothing wrong with that.  Where the problem comes in is that now the person has increased their intake (more food or snacks) for the day, and they do not realize it, which is counterproductive when the goal is to shed pounds and as we know to do that we must take in less food than the body needs.  This way it takes from the storage, thus losing weight.  Unfortunately, in many cases we tend to eat a little more than we normally would to replace those calories burned.  Click here to read this article that talks about being smart and aware with the meals/calories consumed while incorporating exercise.  Some studies have shown that people who began a workout routine end up consuming more post-workout than they normally would have which is what causes weight gain- so just be aware.
This is not intended to discourage someone from working out.  It is highly encouraged to exercise.  The point of this is to bring awareness so that you can stay motivated if this happens to you.  You will be prepared in what to expect in the event you come across this.  

Think and Grow Thin can really work if you change your mindset.  Thinking positive and following through with the great changes you are making.  Adjustments can be made if something has not worked for a couple weeks but giving up will certainly not allow you to reach your goals.  It is discouraging, yes, but Henry T. Ford ended up with the V8 in the end.  Giving us our V8 engines and then breaking way to the powerful V12!  Point being he thought it could be done and continued to think so until it was.  There were many changes along the way when unsuccessful attempts were made and that is what it is all about.  Making changes when necessary if something is not working.  It is kind of like parenting, trial and error.  I am not a parent but this is what I see with people who have children.

Keep making positive changes and keep thinking positive.  You can “Think and Grow Thin”!

Click here if you would like to take a look at the 1 of the books I found that look great!  And Click here for the 2nd one that looks great. I am an affiliate of Amazon so if you decide to buy the book there may be a small compensation.

I am almost done with my fitness website so feel free to get a sneak peak at it.... just remember I  have a couple small things to fix in it.  Feel free to let me know what you think so far.  http://tcfitlifestyle.com/

What do you think about the concept of think and grow thin?  Post comments below.

 Follow me at:
   https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 22, 2014

Muscle Recovery and Soreness: No Pain No Gain, Right?

Yesterday I worked legs and today I am sore which reminds me of a question someone asked me.  The question was how to avoid or prevent being sore after a work out.  Good question.  The answer is that there is no way to prevent it.  If your muscles do ANY activity that they are not accustomed to for a few minutes or more they will be sore.

I have been focusing on strengthening my hamstrings because they are my weak area and it could be part of the reason my knees have pain.  I used to be a runner so my quads were greatly developed, however I had not learned the value or necessity of strengthening all areas of a muscle group.  For example, we have all seen guys who work the crap out of the chest & have a great chest but no back muscle.  Usually their shoulders are rolled forward because the chest muscles are developed and pull on the back muscles which are not developed.  This imbalance can create injury and is likely it will in due time if not right away. 

There is no way to prevent the muscles from being sore or stop them from being sore once they are.  We can help reduce the soreness by drinking plenty of water to help the formation of lactic acid to be flushed from the body.  Lactic acid naturally builds as a result of working out and it can get trapped in the muscle fibers.  The way out?  Water and massage.  Massage is a great way to maintain the integrity of healthy muscles and help work out nasty knots.  Post massage it is crucial to drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.  Another common thing to do is soak in a warm bath of Epsom salt.  I am not much of a bath person (weird, right?) so I never do this but it works.  This is something I recommend to my massage clients on a regular basis.

Stretching is imperative and it is best to do that pre and post workout.  This is something that is all too often overlooked.  I am not sure if it is because people do not realize the benefit or if they do not want to take the extra couple of minutes to do it.  Believe me, this really helps reduce the soreness.

Another important thing to remember is rest.  The body absolutely needs to have rest days.  Commonly I hear about people working out 7-9 days in a row which does not allow any of the muscles worked to recover.  A myth is that the more the muscle gets worked, the better results it will have but the fact is that the real muscle growth occurs during rest days.  Besides, it helps reduce soreness for those of us who are not looking to kill it in the gym every day.  A good rule of thumb for a beginner is to start with 2-3 days per week.  Personally, I would think 3 days would be good but as I have stated in other blogs I am not a doctor and you need to consult with yours before beginning any workout routine.  They know you best!  (I hope)  ;)

I prefer to avoid taking aspirin, Tylenol or other pain relievers.  I really try to avoid taking anything besides vitamins and supplements unless I absolutely have to.  Sometimes soreness prompts people to take these things and a suggestion I might make is use something topical such as Gwei Hua.  This is something similar to Tiger Balm and it is a more natural alternative if you just cannot bare the pain. 

Sometimes people are being sissies and whine about the pain of working out.  When I hear someone say "No Pain, No Gain" I understand they mean in order to get results you will be uncomfortable, maybe even endure a little pain.  Nothing that is not worth it!!  It will definitely be worth it, I promise.  I remember the burn in my lungs when I began running and it sucked... bad... but I did it because I was running for a cause and then the burn went away... eventually.  heehe, really it did. 

On the other hand I have heard people injure themselves, I see it on Twitter A LOT, and continue working "through" the pain.  Ummm, no.  (In an authoritative tone)  That is not the way injuries work.  Genuine injuries need time to heal and "working through" it can lead to further injury.  This means even more down time, sometimes permanent injury.  It is best to allow an injury heal prior to getting back into the gym.  The term "No Pain No Gain" should never be used in reference to an injury.

This reminds me of when I was training for a marathon and broke my arm.  After the surgery I asked the doctor if I could resume training for the marathon and he said no.  I asked why not, my legs were not broken.  He then said "OK, if you think you can".  Clearly he knew that the broken bones clanking against one another each time my feet connected with the ground would make me change my mind.  But I did not know it... yet.

I get my shoes on, get in my sling and stretch then begin running.  At first it was a bit uncomfortable -but it had been this entire time because it was broken.  Then the pain grew quickly.  It intensified tremendously with each pounding step I took.  About 1 block in I realized what an idiot I was and what the doctor already knew.  If I would've used the term "No Pain No Gain" I may have pushed through - maybe not because it was excruciating - and could have caused more damage.  Or not allowed appropriate healing.

The next tip is keep up to date on your shoes.  Shoes should be changed out every 3 months or 100 miles if you are a runner.  Your shoes support you and if they are broken down you could be hurting or damaging your knees, ankles and back.  Buy good ones.  Expensive does not always equate to good but you should consider having yourself fitted.  I got my fitting done at the Runner's Den.  It was amazing and the shoes are a little more expensive there but once I knew what shoe I needed I could get them anywhere.  I did buy my first pair there; after all, the sales person did their work for me.  Besides, who doesn't like new shoes?

While there is no way to avoid being sore after a work out, there are things you can do to reduce the discomfort.  Remember, that is all it is.  It is just discomfort and is is temporary for a lifetime of fulfillment!!  It is a good idea to work through this but never through an injury.  No pain no gain should only be used when referring to workout soreness but never an injury.

Can you tell me a time you were injured versus being sore?  I love and welcome your comments.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 20, 2014

Valentine's Fit Bit

I have been wanting to get a calorie counting device because everyone else is doing it.  Actually, I have been really curious to know how many calories
I burn per day.  I know as a general rule of thumb that I consume about 2,200-2,400 calories on workout days and I need to decrease it to 1,800 calories on non-workout days.  I do not always reduce it on those days like I should which means anything more than a couple days of consuming the same number of calories without working out leads to weight gain.  I figured this out for myself because I keep a food diary and this is something I highly recommend for anyone trying to change their body composition.  Especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Apparently, my bf is psychic because he got me a Fitbit for Valentine's Day.  He also got me some super cute earrings which I love!  They are very lightweight and do not hurt my ears.  I hate it when my ears are pulled by earrings.  It irritates them and they hurt.  I do not feel any need to go through that for the sake of cute earrings.  I will admit, there used to be a day that I would do that but I also used to wear shoes that hurt my feet just because they were cute.  No more, it is not necessary to torture myself like that!

Back to the Fitbit.  The first thing I noticed on the packaging is that it tracks sleep patterns which I also think is really cool because I would love to know how long I am in REM sleep.  As we all know, sleep is a HUGE part of being healthy.  It is great for the body and mind and I absolutely  positively MUST have 8 hours of sleep every night.  You probably already know the more hours you are awake the more calories you consume in a day.  Additionally, when the body is tired it gives signals that it is hungry and that is because it needs a source of energy to fuel it.  Unfortunately, this can lead to excessive calories in a day and who really wants or needs that?

It also says that it tracks the number of steps you take in a day.  This is important because I work a desk job which keeps me pretty sedentary.  When I worked at Jenny Craig we always encouraged the clients to use the pedometer so that they could get in more physical activity each day.  It is a great way to start with a basis  point and then work your way up to move more each day.  When I worked there I walked to and from the front lobby to my office, back to the scale and back up front again.  Many times I got all the food from the freezer as well so I was walking around all day long.  Then I went to the gym and I lived in a condo that kept me walking to take  out the trash, go to and from my car and to do laundry.  I no longer live there or work at Jenny Craig so I was super excited to learn how many steps each day I take.

With the steps taken, it also tracks calories burned.  I think this is fantastic but I do not really see how it is possible for it to be truly accurate because it is worn on the waistline and tracks how  many steps you take.  Either way, I was excited to try it out and curious as to how accurate it can be.  Especially because there is no way possible for it to track when I lift weights or when I increase the weight.

It says that it tracks body movement so it should even track lifting weights.  I thought "I will put it to the test" and the next day we left to go to  Pinetop which meant I sat in the car for 4.5 hours.... this was EXTREMELY sedentary but I also danced a little bit that night.  Fortunately, I ran a few errands and went to the gym before we left so I was able to get in some activity.  Firstly, I forgot to put it on until about noon on the 14th but it still tracks based on your height, weight, gender and age which was programmed into my profile.  So it will still track calories burned at resting and sleeping.  I supposed it probably thought I was sleeping until noon but whatever, all I need is a starting point.

I took 5,551 steps on the 14th and this was not very surprising but I certainly missed the mark of 10,000 steps.  I burned 1,654 calories - I definitely consumed more because my general rule of thumb is 1,800 based on personal experience.  Day 2 (the 15th) we rode quads and rode in the rhino.  This meant I was hardly taking any steps at all but I was using my body and legs to maintain control.  Plus, I got stuck so there were a few minutes that I bounced and rocked the quad to get it out.... that thing is heavy and I worked up a sweat.  I find it hard to believe that I only burned 1602 calories but I'm not surprised I only took 4,191 steps.

Day 3 we took a walk for about an hour and drove back.  The walk was good but the 4.5 hour drive was not active.  This day I burned 1,997 calories and took 12,770 steps.  This is better and the calorie count seems more realistic.

Day 4 I had the day off but went to the gym and ran errands as well as did  household chores.  I think I put my Fitbit on late but I can't quite remember.  I burned 1,683 calories and took 4,993 steps.  Day 5 I return to work and I remember to put the Fitbit on when I first get up.  I took 2,128 steps and burned 1,831 which included my workout.  Day 6 is today and I am seeing a trend.  I hardly get in ANY steps so it brings awareness to the fact that I need to move more.

My problem with this is that I lift and it is not tracking that so I am not getting an accurate reading of what I am truly burning.  I am getting an accurate reading of my number of daily steps- which can improve but I am not surprised because I do not do much cardio.  According to the number of calories I burn each day I should be gaining weight each day as well.  The thing the Fitbit cannot track is body fat percentage versus muscle mass.  I am no body builder but my fat content is low- it was professionally tested using the 2nd best method.  1st best method being the water test.  This means I burn more fuel than the average 128 lb woman.

Conclusion:  The Fitbit is great for the average person to determine how many steps they take and how many calories they burn each day.  I would highly recommend it because it is a great way to begin tracking what you already do and then make improvements each day.  The goal is to reach 10,000 steps per day and do this by gradually increasing what you already do each day.  This can be done by doing small things such as parking farther, taking the stairs, walking to the further printer, getting up from your desk and taking a walk during your break, taking a walk in the evening or morning and my personal favorite is what I suggest to my grandma:  walk to her mailbox one additional time per day.  Simple stuff to start with and then gradually increase.

I think I am going to get one of the wrist devices that can track/monitor my heart rate.  I believe this will be more accurate because it will be able to track when I am lifting. 

Oh, another thought is that it does not actually track sleep patterns.  It just tracks time of no movement and when I go to the Fitbit dashboard it looks like I can enter in the hours that I slept.  I have not done that and I started with entering my food but a lot of it was restaurant food.... I mostly eat at home. 

Do you have a favorite tracking device that you use?  Post your comments below.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 19, 2014

Snowboarding with no Snow

This past weekend we went up north to snowboard but ended up riding quads.  It has been unseasonably warm in AZ, which is nice except there's not enough good snow to fuel the mountain.  I guess "fuel" can really be used to describe the sun and non-winter conditions!  A few of us packed & headed up.

The cabin (it is really a house) was awesome!  The fireplace kept the place super toasty, which would've been super fantastic if it was cold.  Either way, the ambiance was cozy.

We went out the first night and had a couple drinks then came back to the house and hung out. (AKA drank some more)  I was practicing my modeling moves.  I hope you like it!!  hehee

The neighbors said the conditions on the mountain were not that great & is best not to spend money on lift tickets. Instead, we cruised around in a rhino and rode quads.  We set up shop in the middle of an open area and played Apples to Apples while we took turns riding.  "Shop" including a couple small plastic tables, chairs, water, drinks and music.  It was a cool little set up and we even had some really classy plastic wine glasses!!  HAHA. 


It was probably 60 degrees or so and after a while I was wearing jeans and a tank top.  It was SO nice out!  There was a breeze to help keep it from being hot and also to blow the cards away.  If any of have played Apples to Apples you will know it can be pretty fun.  Its cousin is the game "Cards Against Humanity" which is also fun but it can be highly offensive to those who offend easily so beware. 

I did not grow up riding quads but I have ridden them occasionally.  The same goes for 3 wheelers and dirt bikes which meant my learning curve was pretty quick.  I started to get pretty confident and decided to do a doughnut in this tiny little patch of snow.  It was so tiny I had no idea I was going to get stuck in it!!  I gave it a little more gas, nothin'.  Again more gas, nothin'.  I got off it and began bouncing the back tires trying to move it over out of the rut I had just created.  This damn thing is heavy!  Fine by me since the car ride had me sitting on my ass for 4.5 hours to get there & I had to burn calories some how!

Well, I struggled for a few minutes and could not get it out.  I had not gone by myself so I knew that they would soon notice I was missing and would come back looking for me.  I walked out to the road and, sure enough, one of them comes to my rescue.  Apparently they were in a panic thinking I had crashed while I was laughing at the stupidity of getting stuck in the tiny patch of snow.  My friend gets on the quad and gives it even more gas and gets it right out.  Now I really feel stupid cuz he did it so quickly and easily. Oh well, it is not mine and I did not want to burn up the motor so I was being careful with their quads  :)

We do some more riding around & I am having the time of my life and almost forgot about snowboarding - which is pretty hard to do but I was outdoors enjoying nature so I was good.  We stop to visit with everyone else for a bit and realize we are hungry but there's no food.  We brought everything else except that.  My bf & another guy decide they are going to ride the quads back to the house to pick up a few things to hold us over for dinner and it should take about 40 minutes round trip.  I can wait that long, right?

They got lost on the way back because they took some back road.... go figure.  Thankfully, it was only about an additional 10 minutes but it seemed like an eternity to the rest of us since we are now STARVING... some of us even getting cranky.  Lack of food does that.

The guys pull up on the quads and neither of them are wearing backpacks or have anything strapped to the back.  We ask where the hell's the food?  My bf, making a joke, says "what food?" "were we getting food".  Which he thought was hilarious until he realized the bag was gone. haha.  They strapped one of those reusable grocery bags to the back and they double tied it so there was no way it was going anywhere..... well, it did.

We decide we will just pack it up and head back as we had already had a great day and it was feeding time!  On the way back, we find the bag in the middle of the road.  A ways down we find a fork and a crushed tupper ware with food on the ground.  This is amusing, the bag had split open and the items were strewn about a mile or so down the road.  As we are picking up non-salvageable items, we come across some cheese and crackers.  Oh ya!!!  At this point we don't even care about the 3 second rule and wipe the dirt off and eat what's left!!  mmm mmm mmm....good.  Not that I make a habit of eating off the ground but desperate times call for desperate measures and none of us were too good to do it!!  Good friends!  :)

Our friend's mom thought it was hilarious and she laughed harder and harder each time we can across more food in the road because it went on for a while, piece by piece, falling out of the bag.  One of the girls was cranky and she got more and more irritated so I did not take a pic- even though I really really wanted to.  I should have snuck and done it just so you could see it.  I am sure you can get a visual of this dirt road in the wilderness with food items sporadically strewn down it.

For dinner we went to Pasta House and it was Uh-maze-eeng!!  I had a combo plate which had 1 small manicotti, 1 stuffed shell and a small piece of lasagna.  Small or not, it was a lot of food so I had leftovers even after leaving full.  I also have to be sure to call dibs on my own leftovers because the bf usually views stuff in the fridge as a free for all.  It works out in my favor anyway so I am not mad.

Sunday morning comes and we go to Darbi's for breakfast.  It is another place in town that is a great place to eat.  Servings are big enough to share with 2 or 3.  I ordered... crap.... I cannot remember what it was called by now.  Anyway, It was biscuits with green chili sauce on top of the biscuit, a sausage on top of the green chili sauce and topped with 2 eggs and gravy.  OMG!!  I would have never thought to put green chili sauce with biscuits and gravy but it was sooooo good.  It was also so huge that I could not eat all of it.  Why would I want to with servings that big?!!  I even pulled off some of the biscuit and then I had leftovers for lunch.

After breakfast we went for a well-needed walk along what used to be a railroad and is now a dirt road.  I really should have sprinted the whole hour rather than walk but it was nice being outdoors.  I learned that the forest gets thinned out in certain areas to help reduce the spread of forest fires since it gets so dry here.  The houses have less trees around them and I understand the reason as well as the concept but it is a bit strange seeing thinner areas of forest.

We did not have internet access so I did not do any work.  It was kind of nice but then I felt pressed to leave on Sunday even though I had Monday off.  Our trip began as a snowboarding trip then turned into a muddy quad-riding trip which was fabulous!

Can you think of a time that you went out of town for something specific and totally did something else and had fun anyway?  Tell me about it!

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle
~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 17, 2014

This Week's Grocery List

We were out of town this weekend so I had to handle this week's grocery list today before heading to the gym.  It is very easy to go to the store and pick up a bunch of random stuff and end up with hodge podge meals.  Poor planning (or lack of) can lead to unhealthy eating habits.  If I go to the store hungry, forget it!!!  I end up buying every damn thing with no real balance to any of the meals.  I always prepare a grocery list before going to the store and I usually add things to my list throughout the week as I think of meals - or things that we are running out of.

This week I plan to make kale chips so I picked up some organic kale, can't wait to make them!  Kale is a super food AND it is low calories so it is a great alternative to chips.  It gives you the same crunch and you can flavor it any way you want.  I plan to use sea salt and garlic.  This is one of those items that can easily absorb a lot of pesticides but I do not always buy it organic and since it was on sale today, I did. 

This week we will be eating broccoli and asparagus for veggie sides and chicken for dinner.  The chicken will probably be grilled because the weather is so fabulous lately that I want to take advantage of it before the heat becomes sweltering.  I have a feeling it may be a scorching summer since we hardly had a winter at all.  I usually like to have carbs like potatoes, bread or pasta during lunch and breakfast but we have sweet potato that needs to be used up so I may bake that this week as well.  Normally, dinner will contain carbs in the form of veggies.  Sweet potato is a great choice for a carb because it is complex rather than a simple carb.  Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down and process which allows the body to utilize it for energy.  Compared to simple carbs which break down easily and usually stores as fat easier.  PS, 1 serving of sweet potatoes are 1 cup and about 115 calories so be sure to measure if you are not sure and are watching what you eat.

Let me throw in a disclaimer that even pasta can be broken down as a complex carb but I prefer to have it as a natural starch, rather than refined.  Basically, I choose wheat options for pasta and bread.  To clarify, I do not always have wheat or whole grain bread but I do about 95% of the time.  I buy bread at Sprout's and I choose the ones that have the shortest list of ingredients, again being whole foods rather than processed or added crap.  For example, sometimes I buy cinnamon raisin or jalapeno cheddar from there but that is pretty rare and it is a treat when I do!!!  Again, I choose the option that has a short list of ingredients.

Red bell pepper was on sale and that is a staple we usually keep in the house.  It goes well in salad, soup, eggs, pasta and tons more like meatloaf.   it is even fantastic on its own.  Avocado is another item we keep around for salads. It is a good fat and it helps to reduce cholesterol so it is something we like to use.  I do have to throw in an interjection because while it is healthy and nutritious, it is also a higher calorie food.  This is something that should be consumed in moderation to avoid excessive calorie intake.  Remember, every calorie counts no matter where it comes from so if you are trying to watch your figure, be sure to only eat the serving size which is about 1/5 of a medium size avocado. 

    1. Bananas
    2. Organic apples
    3.  Frozen fruit
Apples are another item that absorbs a lot of pesticides and this is something I ALWAYS buy organic so when I see them on sale I get them.  They have a long shelf life so they will stay good for a long time.  Bananas have a thick skin so pesticides are mainly in the skin so I never buy these organic.  It helps save money for items that I do like organic.
I also picks up some frozen veggies so that I can put them in oatmeal.  A few days ago I had a grand idea to make some warm oatmeal with some fruit in them.  It is a good way to mix up the norm when it comes to oats.  Matter of fact, I used to eat egg whites and plain oatmeal... yum ...UMM...NOOO ... it was not good but I got used to it, ate it a lot- so I ended up getting kinda burned out.  I talked about the transitions my eating style has taken and my idea of clean eating was low calorie and usually low taste.  I used to eat a lot of protein pancakes too, those were OK but I got kinda tired of that too.  Hmmmm.... maybe I'll have them this weekend, it has been a while :)

We go through A LOT of Greek Yogurt because it is so high in protein and low in calories (as long as you stick with the one cup serving).  It is great for a post workout meal to quickly deliver protein to the muscles.  I like to put honey on it and count it as 'dessert'.  YUUUM!  Plus, when adding sugar post workout it spike the glucose in the blood stream, moving the protein faster.  (that is the shortened explanation)  Sometimes I add chia seeds and pomegranate, sometimes cranberries and walnuts or pecans - it is very versatile.  Then we have almond milk which is something we keep in the fridge at all times, in place of regular milk. 

The turkey is supposedly reduced processing, is that even possible?  Well, according to the price it is!!  LOL.  Provolone cheese and grilled turkey sandwiches with tomato make fabulous lunches.  Although, I won't be grilling anything to take to work cuz it will get soggy but on the weekend it'll be great.

Diced tomatoes are a staple I always keep in the pantry because it goes into a lot as well.  The El Pato I just like to keep on hand in case I feel like making salsa on a whim.  I have 2 gallons of water in the background just for decoration because we actually pick up 10 gallons at a time.  I drink 3/4 of a gallon to a gallon of water a day and the bf drinks a  lot too.  It is good for ya!  I promise you won't get water toxin if you increase your water intake.  Be sure to do it gradually each day and as long as you do not attempt to chug the full gallon within an hour or less, then  you will be good to go.

I love hearing from you so tell me what your favorite staple is in the comments below.  Tell me your favorite fruit/veggie staple and pantry staple.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

 PPS- My blog is currently under construction so I will move this one to "health" once it is complete.  Coming up:  my weekend snowboarding that ended up not snowboarding!

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 13, 2014

Shoulders Workout

I love working shoulders, especially because I think mine could use some work.  Actually, I hate working shoulders because they are hard for me to work.  It is kind of a love-hate relationship.  I am sure you can relate!

One of my friends texted that she would be in the area so we went to the gym together.  I like working out with someone else because it increases motivation.  It pushes me to do a little more, a little longer and a little harder.

I started with rear delts cuz they are small and I want to give them the biggest push and then I like to end with them as well.  Or mix it up and do a couple rear delt exercises.

Warm up included 5 minutes sideways run -AKA side step - on speed 4 with incline of 1.5-2.5.  Rotating sides.  If needed, take 10 seconds to slow down by walking at a speed of 3-3.5 and then go again, keeping the heart rate up.

Standing rear delt fly 4 sets of 12 starting with 7.5lbs & increasing weight with each set
Super set with stability ball pike

Anterior delt raises 3 sets of 12 starting w/7.5 lbs & increasing weight each set
Super set with 3 sets of 36 Russian Twists with 25 lb weight


Lateral delt raises 3 sets of 12 starting w/5 lbs & increasing weight each set
Super set with 3 sets of 10-12 spidey push-ups- --this is the shit!


Standing shoulder press combo 3 sets of 10 7.5 lb weights
Super set with 3 sets of 12 bent knee pike on stability ball

Rear delts with cables 2 sets increasing weights and 3rd set burn outs on reduced weight 
super set 1 of each of today's ab workouts

Shoulders are a great way to sculpt the shape of your arms.  If you are only targeting biceps and triceps then the proportions will be uneven.  In order to complete the upper body it is important to incorporate shoulders.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle

What is your favorite shoulder workout?

~ Continue Reading ~

Feb 12, 2014

Clean Eating... or Not?

What is your idea of clean eating?  For some people it is low calorie, low fat or low carb.  For others it is eating more whole foods and less processed foods.  For me, it is reducing the amount of poisonous chemicals, like formaldehyde and arsenic, out of my diet.  This sounds drastic, right?  It does not make sense that I would even say these items are in our food but they are.  Today I am going to talk about the transition I have taken through what I view to be clean eating.  Formaldehyde and arsenic will be another blog.

(not clean)

Clean eating has transitioned for me throughout my 'getting healthy' life.  The first part of getting healthy involved eating smaller portions and then it moved to cooking my own foods instead of eating Hamburger Helper or other prepackaged stuff.  I started losing weight, feeling great and looking better.  I liked it a lot and decided it would be really awesome to keep it up.  This led to my weight loss journey and to read more on that, click on the link in this sentence.

So I started eating all things low fat, reduced fat and light.  Even fat free which I thought tasted like shit so I was clever about it and I mixed a full flavor item with something not so full flavor.  For example I used to buy calorie free salad dressings from Walden Farms.  They are calorie free, sugar free, carb free, cholesterol free and taste free.  Oh wait, I added the taste free part myself.  ;)  Most of their products were not so delicious so I would mix the raspberry dressing with a different brand of light raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.  I had to adjust to the taste but it was worth it to have less calories.  Eventually, I got used to it and it tasted quite delicious.  This is really how it happened when I started drinking beer in high school too!!! 

I began eating the way many fitness inspired individuals do.  I ate egg whites and turkey bacon, tilapia, broccoli and protein shakes.  Tilapia and broccoli are whole foods so I still eat those but I was not getting some nutrients found in the egg  yolk.  True, egg yolks are also where the cholesterol comes from but I will have 1 full egg and 2 egg whites rather than all egg whites.  This way I get the benefit of the nutrient without the added cholesterol and calories.  Protein shakes have their place but I do not think they are great meal replacements on a regular basis.

(sorta clean)

One night after drinking and dancing, my friend introduced me to sugar free cheesecake pudding.  OMG!!  It was so good and such a great treat..... oh, and don't forget low calorie!  I never really ate regular pudding so I did not recognize any difference in taste.  I discovered Stevia which is a no calorie natural sweetener derived from a plant but it has an after taste so I did not really like that.  I did like Truvia which was derived from Stevia but tasted WAAAAY better.  This I could do. 


I started drinking coffee during a very slow, long and boring training that was very important and I had to stay awake for it.  That led me to drink 1 cup of coffee per day but I did not want to have cream in it and black was a bit rough so I used Truvia.  mmmmm....good.  I thought it was genius to be able to have my cake and eat it too.... or my sugar and drink it too!  What a great way to sweeten my coffee without added fat and calories!

During my clean eating and getting healthy journey I paid attention to the necessary vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to be healthy.  Certain vitamins are good for specific things like calcium is great for bones, teeth and nails.  Everyone knows Vitamin C is great for the immune system so we all pound it when we are getting a cold or any other sickness. 

I noticed the better I ate, the stronger my immune system became and allergies bothered me less.  I learned which fruits and vegetables absorbed more pesticides and that ingesting pesticides can have harmful effects.  With this, I began buying only organic apples and organic spinach since I eat a lot of those items.  This way I was reducing the sheer amount of unseen chemicals I ingested.  It is tasteless, odorless and we don't really know the harm it is causing until it is too late.     

(not clean)

I started to learn how the body develops disease and ailments from the artificial crap that is in the foods we eat.  For example, Red Dye 40 can cause excitability in children and even cause an incorrect diagnosis of ADHD.  On a whim, I just googled it right now and found an article on Dr. Oz's site http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/food-dyes-are-they-safe.  I am happy to see that this is becoming more mainstream because when I talked about it before, people just disregarded it.  PS, Red No. 40 is in a ton of stuff, including your kids' fruit candy snacks. 

(not clean)

I learned that cancer is caused by damaged cells and cells get damaged by free radicals.  Free radicals are cause by a variety of things like toxins, stress, pollution, chemicals and more.  I started to realize that on a day to day basis there were many things I was inadvertently exposed to that could cause cancer.  I was using lotion with parabens in it, cooking on skillets with PHTAs and beauty products with PHTAs in them, sometimes my life would be stressful, I was eating pesticides, arsenic and other processed stuff.  We all are.  Every day. 

I started paying attention to what calorie free, fat free and reduced fat really meant.  In order to reduce fat in peanut butter or cooking oil, the product was being partially hydrogenated (this is when hydrogen is added to the oil at extremely high temperatures) which created trans-fat.  It was also done to help preserve the shelf life.  We learned later that trans-fat is not good for the heart but we were consuming it in order to have less calories or fat in a food product and make it last longer. 
(clean eggs & toast)

(clean except for the bell pepper)

Does clean eating include products that are generally recognized as being safe (GRAS) by the FDA?  It sounds like they are generally safe so that is great!  Or is it?  What does 'generally' safe mean to you?  It sounds like this means most of the time a product is safe.  Although, driving is 'generally' safe.  When is generally not safe? And who could it effect when it is not generally safe?

I would say I fall under the generally safe category because I do not have any health issues, allergies or anything to be concerned about.  Plus, our body filters toxins through the blood, kidneys, liver and vital organs so we can be exposed to foreign items and still be OK.  What about those who do have health issues?  Is this 'generally' safe for them?  How do we know when a 'generally' safe product can create other issues?  For example people who are chronically sick but have not figured out what is wrong or how to correct it.  It reminds me of a woman who was diagnosed with MS only to find that once she stopped drinking aspartame the MS went away.  What really happened is that the aspartame created MS-like symptoms because it is foreign to the body.  Once it was eliminated she was fine.  When we repeatedly expose ourselves, and our loved ones, to small amounts of a chemical in every product we use or food that we eat it can become a problem.
(Mostly clean)

I used Walden Farms in the above example only because that is the product that I used.  Please know I am not saying anything bad about the company or picking on them.  I truly loved using their products because I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds.  Taste and low cal.  I took a look at the label and saw xantham gum; per Web MD is made of  "fermented sugar mixed with certain bacteria" and propylene glycol alginate which is derived from kelp and then chemically processed.  Each of them is used as thickeners in food products and they are usually in pretty small amounts.  These are examples of products that are GRAS.  These are on many, many food labels.  I never gave it much thought because I recognized it as being in everything.  Since the FDA allows it, I thought it was fine. I wrote an article on why the FDA allows harmful chemicals, toxins and pollutants in everything (in small amounts) and you can read it here.
(Mostly clean)
This brings me to the latest topic in the news.  That is that Subway's bread contains a chemical, Azodiacarbonamide, that is used to produce yoga mats and make the rubber on a shoe.  Subway is recognized as healthy and Jarrod lost a bunch of weight by changing his eating habits and eating there.  By all means, Subway has some great low calorie options but it IS processed -just like any fast food- and there are crazy things in there that man was not intended to eat.

It is really not a big deal to those of us whose immune systems are functioning optimally because our bodies are designed to filter stuff out.  In small amounts.  And that is the key here.  "Small amounts".  As long as we are exposed to a small amount of a substance, gas, toxin or pollutant then it is OK.  As long as we only consume a small amount of a chemically processed product or pesticide we will live.  Our body reminds me of "The Terminator" because it regenerates and heals and cures itself just like the Terminator did.  We do not regrow limbs, it still is quite the miracle machine.
(Clean except for pesticides & salsa preservatives)
The problem is that it was never intended to put small amounts of stuff into it all day long and expose it to pollution all day long.  Not to mention the topical things we use like lotion, make up, face wash, and shampoo, etc.  I began to be more aware of how my clean eating was not as clean as it could be.  It was low calorie and I was healthy but I could be more choosy about the added chemicals since there are small amounts in almost every product and food.

The next transition I made was eating more whole foods to reduce the number of items I consumed that had small amounts of pesticides and chemicals.  I also incorporated beauty products with little or no chemicals.  I still use products with chemicals and eat foods with pesticides (more in another blog) but I have reduced the number of items to help reduce the load on my body.  It is healthier and cleaner that way.

What is your view on clean eating?  Post your comments, I would like to hear your thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle
~ Continue Reading ~