Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Lift, You Lift, We Lift

Strength training has changed my view on exercise and women who exercise. Let me explain. As I started running more miles, I found myself looking into the mirror more wondering when I would see my body change. Everyone says running changes your body so I was eagerly awaiting the change. Months later, while I built my confidence and endurance, I still didn't see any change in my body. In fact, I had gained weight because I was taking in more calories due to running. Am I saying running made me fat? Hell no. But running did not give me the definition I wanted. A couple months ago, Hubby raved about the trainer he had at the gym. So I decided maybe I needed a little help with strength training. Maybe that was the answer to finally getting the definition I want. Ding Ding Ding. I met with Trainer and well you know the rest. Today, I see definition in my arms, my stomach is not as flabby as it used to be and what's that in my legs? Muscle! Thank you squats.


Strength training has not only giving me definition but it's also made me a better runner. My mile time has improved after lifting. I feel stronger and I have more of a desire to eat better. That said, would I have gotten here without running? No. I'm forever grateful to running because if I never ran, I'd never have the confidence to lift. And if I never lifted, I'd never have the push to eat clean to see results. I'd probably still be sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching reruns of Teen Mom. Ha! Yea right, I have never even eaten a bon bon. Teen Mom, well you guys know I love that show. I also think it's funny that so many people say that women should do more reps of a lighter weight in order to prevent getting bulky. I heard this so much I thought it was true. Then I saw CrossFit chicks. They are perfect examples of women who lift heavy and aren't bulky. In the gym the other day, I saw a women curling a 2 pound weight really fast. I wanted to say something. I wanted to tell her that's not going to do anything for her. I wanted to yell Woman, lift heavy! I was there before, I was lost with weights myself. But I have now learned that lifting heavy will not make you bulky or manly. Steroids, on the other hand, will.

So back to lifts. Here are my PRs:

Dead Lift - 75 lbs
Squats - 105
Bench Press - 45 lbs (I've done this once)

Hubby just forwarded me a link to a chart on Big Lifts relative to Body Weight. Scroll down to Females of course. I'm going to consider myself in Class IV - Beginner - and weight class - 123. Here are the stats from the site -

Dead Lift - 164 lbs 
Squats - 130 lbs
Bench Press - 86 lbs 

I need to work on my dead lift and bench press. I am actually pretty confident getting to 130 lbs for squats won't be a problem for me. I think it's really helpful to see where you relate to a standard in the right perspective. So I could look at this chart and think I suck and be disappointed. Or I could use it as  something to work towards. I'm going to choose the latter. Soon enough, you will see all 3 of my numbers go up!

Wondering where did I got the push to lift (no pun intended)? It was Hubby. He's been saying it from day one. I finally listened and I'm thankful I did. In fact, we're not the only ones who lift in our family.

The family that lifts together stays together! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

From Fat Tuesday to Fit Tuesday

Though I've never been to New Orleans, I have experienced my fair share of Fat Tuesday parties. I can say for sure that this Tuesday isn't a Fat Tuesday at all, it's a Fit Tuesday. Yes I know I'm a dork.

For the past couple of days, I have some form of stomach bug that Little Beast most likely acquired at day care. Hubby got it from Little Beast and the strain I got was much less (thankfully) than the both of them had. The stomach bug left me feeling fatigued and kept me away from most things Paleo. Today I'm finally back on track. My last workout was on Friday and I have been feeling guilty for not doing anything for 4 whole days. I've also been slacking with running because of all my strength training so I decided to stop making excuses and go for a run today.

A while ago I bought the Timex Women's T5K698 Marathon GPS Speed+Distance Watch but never got around to configuring and using it. I took it out on my run today. Unfortunately, I didn't set it up right and have no clue how far I ran or how fast! I did run my usual route though and stopped before I hit the 3 mile mark so I'm assuming I ran 2.8 miles and I believe I ran it around 30 minutes but I have no idea. It was 80 something degrees and sunny and I came home red faced and sweaty and feeling pretty damn good. I'm glad I got my running mojo back.

It's not Fit Tuesday just because I ran. I have also been eating really clean today. This is what I have eaten so far:

  • Banana 
  • 1 cup Black Coffee 
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • LARABAR Fruit & Nut Food Bar, Apple Pie - I had this before my workout. If you've never had one, you must try it. It's delicious! And it only has dates, walnuts, cinnamon, apples, raisins, cinnamon - nothing artificial. Okay I'm done selling it now. It was just really good!
  • Protein Shake - 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 scoop whey protein, water, cinnamon and 2 tsp coconut shavings. Can you say amazing? I can. AMAZING. And yes, it was!
  • Mexican Salad with Avocado - you can find the recipe here
  • Cup of Almond Breeze Chocolate Milk
For dinner, we're grilling steaks and zucchini. So today is definitely Fit Tuesday. I got my run on and ate clean and I feel great! Tomorrow I have an appointment with Trainer and I'm looking forward to her kicking my ass. And next week, I am more than happy to report, we're going on vacation. Woohoo! 

In the spirit of vacation, we decided to get Little Beast a BroHawk.

Isn't he cute?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Guest Post: Benefits of Eating Paleo

Kishana Sainte writes health & lifestyle, as well as diet & fitness articles, on behalf of, a trusted online doctor reviews and medical information website. She has generously offered to write a post on the Benefits of Paleo.

Who would have thought that our ancestors had it so right so long ago? According to research done by health experts, our caveman ancestry may have been on the right path when it comes to eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. Is our commercialization of food from the basics of vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots and meats into refined sugars, high fructose corn syrups, cereals, breads, and pasteurized milk products making us fat?

If dieticians like Dr. Kim Mulvihill have anything to say about it, processed foods are contributing to our nation’s high obesity rate. According to a story ran in CBS, Mulvihill is reported as saying that this sort of diet is not only great for your waist line but is also quicker acting against high blood pressure when put against prescription drugs.

The Paleo Diet (also known as the Caveman Diet) will benefit you in multiple ways. Here is a look at three different ways you can benefit the most from making the Paleo Diet a part of your life.

  1. It will bring your system into a state of authenticity. Our bodies were not meant to eat processed foods. This creation and addition into our diet has created much bloating and discomfort, not to mention added pounds. Eating the way of the caveman is said to help avoid different diseases because it allows our bodies to work in partnership with our genetic makeup.

  1. The Paleo Diet creates natural weight loss. People that have done the Paleo Diet have found that the pounds just seem to naturally melt away. Described as a “side effect” of the Caveman Diet, it is believed that our societal consumption of processed sugars and carbohydrates is a leading cause in our obesity and when we remove this component from our diet the pounds naturally come off. This is perfect for those people that find themselves caught on a plateau of weight loss that they can’t seem to get off.

  1. This diet is naturally effective in combating high blood pressure. The issue with high blood pressure prescription medicine is that it doesn’t affect the reason why the issue is occurring. That is the beauty of using a diet like the Paleo Diet for reducing high blood pressure: it snuffs out the reason at its source. The Paleo Diet is also beneficial for problems with cholesterol and hypertension as well. In fact, research found that study participants had a 30 point drop in cholesterol levels in as little as two weeks.

Do you have any questions for Kishana?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Who's the fittest girl of all? Almost every girl I know will say..oh not me! I'm not fit at all. I need to lose weight, or I need to tone this, or my ass is too big, you get it. I admit I do the same. I stand in front of the mirror and criticize. Oh my stomach should be flatter, my arms should be more toned, my legs are okay but I could firm up. Why do we all do this to ourselves? Did you know that only 12 percent of women think they look good in a swimsuit? 12 percent? That's pretty ridiculous. And as I say this, I don't think I look good in a swimsuit. To be honest, I have never felt comfortable in a bikini or regular bathing suit for that matter.

If I had a daughter, I would tell her to ignore the media and the focus on skinny and just be herself. But would she listen to me? I doubt it. We see magazines everywhere where this celebrity had a baby 6 weeks ago and is already back to her pre-pregnancy weight. Considering it takes 6 weeks for your uterus to go back down to size, I have no clue how going back to pre-pregnancy weight and being fit is in possible in 6 weeks but what do I know? I'm not a celebrity.

Forget thin. We switched the focus to being fit, remember? But being consumed by being fit isn't good either.  Exercise should be for you and you should have fun doing it. I know I enjoy hot yoga in the winter and I really enjoy CrossFit and working out with my Trainer now. But if someone told me to do something I didn't enjoy doing a couple days a week, I wouldn't be able to do it. I recently read about a disease called Exercise Bulimia. Apparently people with that disease feel they have to exercise every day to work off every calorie they have eaten and on the days they don't exercise, they feel guilty about it all day and don't eat much because of not working out. In fact, they burn an excessive level of fat and it negatively affects their health. Why would people do this to themselves?

So what am I getting at? Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and get the rest you need. Today is day 6 of Paleo and aside from eating a little rice with lunch yesterday, I have pretty much stuck to it. And yes, I felt guilty about the rice until I read this article. Instead of giving myself credit for sticking to Paleo and turning down ice cream yesterday (yes I actually did!), I felt guilty about eating a little rice. I realized how ridiculous I was and got over it. Last night, I PR'd on my squats - 105 lbs baby!

I felt proud and accomplished after that and knew I'd probably need a rest day today. I was right. I am exhausted. The original plan was to go to CrossFit but I am going to take a rest day instead. And guess what? I don't feel guilty about it. Not one bit. Part of being smart when it comes to fitness is knowing your limits and knowing when your body needs rest. Well tonight, I need rest. I need my pajamas. I need the couch. And I need the TV. And I am perfectly happy with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Me vs Box Jumps

I have a love hate relationship with Box Jumps. Last week at CrossFit, the WOD included 30 burpee box jumps. I think I did 4 of them properly. I ended up doing the burpee, then pausing at the box and getting my nerves together to jump. I have no clue why I'm so bashful when it comes to box jumps! One of the instructors actually came by me and yelled Jump! Jump! I got it together and jumped, it was either that or cry and I figured I'd [wo]man up. So yea, me no likey box jumps.

After class, I told Hubby about my hatred of box jumps and the Trainer-in-him said "A vertical jump is a measure of power, or more specifically “force production”.  It requires well developed motor unit and muscle recruitment.  Because if everything isn’t “firing” correctly then your vertical jump will suffer.  This is another reason why compound exercises and lifts are superior to isolation exercises and lifts.  They demand more of your body to function at once." And because I'm competitive and unwilling to accept that I can't do something,  I became determined to be Box Jump Queen. I told him we're ordering a box and I'm going to practice in the garage. He sent me the link for a Rogue Games Box. It's a little pricey so I haven't ordered it yet but I would absolutely love to have one in the garage.

I want!

Surprise surprise - yesterday's workout with Trainer included box jumps. They don't have a box at the gym, more like a platform. I also think it's not as tall as the Rogue box but I killed it! Trainer even mentioned how I finally got rid of my box jump fear. Yea! I'm by no means a Box Jump Queen yet but I'm well on my way. Now, me likey Box Jumps.

So how did that happen? How did I overcome my fear of box jumps? To be honest, I just did it. I didn't think about it, I didn't stop in front of the box and psych myself out, I just jumped. And when I actually got out of my head, I did it. The less you think about something, the easier it is to do. Have you ever noticed that? Last year, my brother got married in Costa Rica. After the wedding, we all went waterfall rappelling. Standing in line on the way to the first rappell, my cousin was nervous. Even though I rappelled before, I was too. He kept telling himself Keep it Simple, Keep it Simple so that he wouldn't think about it too much. He actually said the less he thinks, the better.

As for last night's burpees, I just did them. I smiled and did them. When Trainer asked me why I was smiling, I said I just frieking love burpees. Yea right. I don't. But I do. I'm getting better at them. And when you get better at something, you start loving it. Scary.

I tried another recipe from PaleOMG last night and boy was it good. I scarfed it down when I got back from the gym. I'm also going to buy The Paleo Coach to understand more of why eating Paleo works and the reason for it. I have to admit that I wonder why you can't have any dairy. I really love yogurt and I don't think it's bad for you so I'm interested to see why Paleo restricts dairy. As far as eating Paleo, I'm on day 4 today and I feel great. I have energy and I've lost a couple pounds. I do want to stress that I didn't start it to lose weight, I started to avoid snacking with Little Beast and to see results of all my working out. After all, what's the point of exercise if you're not eating clean?

Monday, June 10, 2013


Immediately after I wrote the title for this post, I thought of the South Park episode about Change.It's where everyone turns into a bum asking for change. Got any change? Change? Change? You should see it if you haven't. It's hilarious. While I don't need that kind of change, I do need to change.

It's been nearly two months, well I think more like 6 weeks, of consistent exercise and while I see a difference, I don't see as big a difference as I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect instant gratification (or maybe I did) but I'm not disappointed so much as ready to really make it happen. I realize that most of it is what I eat. While I have worked at eating better, there are still some days I eat crap. And since Little Beast is a toddler, there is plenty of cereal and goldfish in my house. And I just love goldfish. More than anything, I just love snacking with him.

So change. On Friday night, I was having a much needed glass of wine and I was doing some research. I looked up the hype on grass fed meat and was surprised at what I found. I'm not going to recite from a website and try to act smart so here it is if you're interested - Why Grass Fed Animal Products are Better for You. That led me to do some Paleo research and I found this blog - PaleOMG. Not only is the author hilarious, but what I like most is that she was thin and wasn't happy because she wasn't strong. Strong is the new skinny. I'm all over that bandwagon. I also went through some of her recipes and decided that Paleo was worth a shot. Friday night I decided I am going to try Paleo until our vacation at the end of the month and see how I do. I am proud to say today is my 3rd day on Paleo and I feel great!
Last night I tried a recipe from PaleOMG - Crockpot Ropa Vieja and it was delicious! I didn't have time to make the cauliflower rice because I had a bridal shower to go to but Hubby said he would eat that any night. Woohoo! Paleo wasn't so bad after all. I do have to say that it is tough. I ate veggie sticks and fruit at the bridal shower and refrained from muffins, cake, pita, and kieshes. It was tough but I'm determined.

I also thought I would NEVER be able to have my coffee black. This suit is black..NOT. If you don't get it, I can't help you. Anyways, I started black coffee Saturday morning and have had no issues the past 3 days. Where there's a will, there's a way. I'm not sure I will stay on Paleo for the rest of my life but I will say that avoiding processed foods is huge. Just knowing I am committed to eating clean keeps me away from the snacks I give Little Beast. Otherwise, it's 1 goldfish for you, 2 for Mama.

So far today, I have had a cup of black coffee, two boiled eggs - just the whites and I just had an apple with almond butter. I bought fuji apples from the store over the weekend and Justin's Nut Butter Natural Maple Almond Butter. I get the packets because it's easy to take to work and it's already portioned for me.

I will probably have leftover Ropa Vieja for lunch and then I'm going to make another recipe from PaleOMG  for dinner tonight.

I am going to post a post Paleo picture right before we go on vacation. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cleaning Cheerios

Little Beast loves Cheerios. He's constantly eating them, throwing them on the floor and feeding them to the dogs. We got him The First Years Snack Bowl which is a cup with a membrane so that he has to reach his little fingers in to grab his snacks. He loves the cup so much Hubby calls it his Little Jon cup - don't ask. Anyways, what's the point of all this? The point is that I don't like cleaning, unless of course it's a squat clean!

Love this shirt!
Hell Yea!

While I'm still working on technique, squat cleans are great. The last CrossFit class I went to, I did 5 rounds of 20 squat cleans and boy was I sore! The low squats are what gets you. It's tough to get the technique down - I worked on it more with Trainer last night and hope to get it soon. Today's CrossFit WOD is - 

Push Press 5x5

for time 
1k row
30 burpee box jumps
1k row

30 burpees followed by box jumps, I just couldn't resist! I told Hubby I want to do the WOD too. So tonight after his class, we'll hand off Little Beast so that I can go to the next class. Am I excited? Hell yea, it's a lifestyle...biiitccch. Am I nervous? A little. Am I motivated? Yes, I search crossfit women on Pinterest at random points throughout the day to get me motivated. It works!

Now on to Cheerios. They are yummy and according to the commercials, good for your heart but what I don't get is all the negativity around the new commercial. 

So what, there's a white mom, a black dad and a biracial daughter. The first thing I said when I saw that commercial was that the daughter was really cute. I didn't comment on the fact that she's biracial. I didn't even think about it. What difference does it make? I guess it really upsets me that in 2013, people are still causing a fuss over biracial kids. I'm Indian, Hubby's Italian and guess what, that makes our little man, 100% biracial. But also 100% American. Look around you. You'll see interracial couples everywhere. And what do interracial couples make? Biracial babies. What's wrong with that? We live in America. The beauty of our nation is the fact that we are so racially diverse. If anything, this commercial is American and that's perfectly fine with me. I know this isn't fitness related at all but it is close to my heart and I just had to say something. Cheerios, you're awesome in my book. 

50% Indian, 50% Italian
100% American

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


In the corporate world, there's goal setting, mid year reviews and year end reviews. So I thought yesterday that I should do a mid year review on my fitness goals. I never officially wrote out fitness goals for the year (I guess partly because once you acknowledge and announce your goals, you're commited to them) so I am going to do that now.

Goal 1: Run a 5K
I ran my first 5K this past March and ran another one in May. I am also signed up for Rugged Maniac (my first obstacle race) in mid July and another 5K in late July.

Goal 2: Forget about getting skinny and Get Strong!
At the start of the year, I didn't realize that this was a goal of mine. But somewhere along my journey, I realized that I don't particularly care about being skinny. When I first signed up for training sessions at the gym, the gym manager asked me how much weight I wanted to lose. I surprised myself by telling her that I didn't care if I lost any weight, instead I wanted to build muscle. Since I switched my focus, I'm much happier with my progress. I don't get discouraged weighing myself because I see changes in my belly and in my arms and those changes aren't visible on a scale. I don't think I have accomplished this goal yet as I'm not as strong as I want to be but I'm definitely getting there.

Goal 3: Run a Half-Marathon
Strangely, I set this goal before I even ran my first 5K. After I ran my first 5K, I was even more committed to running a Half-Marathon. I signed up for one in Vancouver. Expenses came up and we decided not to go to Vancouver. So instead I plan on running my first half at the Jersey shore. I haven't signed up yet (not sure why) but I am going to sign up this week. I have been slacking with my running because I have been focusing on strength training instead so I need to get back to my long run Sundays.

Goal 4: Meet other Moms into Fitness
I actually googled running moms and found Moms RUN This Town. I looked for a local group and when I didn't find one, I requested to be a chapter leader. So far, we have 8 members in my group and I am working on getting us together for our first 5K in July.

Goal 5: Promote my Blog
While blogging isn't really a fitness goal, it is definitely related. My blog holds me accountable. If I write that I am going to run a 5K and make it public, I am going to do it. It has also linked me to several people that I find inspiring and has allowed me to motivate others. Yesterday I was featured on Real Into, a blog about health and fitness. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be featured on someone's else blog but it happened. And as a result, I have a couple more followers - another added benefit. I am also currently working on having some guest posts on topics I find interesting.

The truth is that as 2013 progresses, I am probably going to set more goals. My fitness goals are evolving as I evolve. I mentioned yesterday that I am reading Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives. This morning, I read that "Goals are an extension of our visualization. They are the specific outcomes we visualize for ourselves". Isn't that the truth? If we visualize never crossing a finish line or not being able to complete a hot yoga class, we won't be able to do it. If you see yourself crossing the finish line, you'll do it. The secret to accomplishing goals is visualizing and committing to them.

So what about you? What fitness goals have you set for 2013 and how much progress have you made toward them?

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Wind Beneath Your Skirt

Disclaimer - this post is not about farting! Or maybe in some ways it is. We'll get to that later.

Part of Hubby's Christmas gift to me last year was Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives, a book about how strong women make healthy lives. I thumbed through it when I received it, said it was interesting but never got into reading it. Yesterday, as I was looking for something to cut my nails on (gross maybe but at least I'm honest!), I found the book. I started reading it and immediately found interest. I told Hubby I am now ready to read it. Sometimes people gives you gifts with the best intentions, maybe they see something in you that you don't see, yet you disregard the gift not realizing that while now may not be the time maybe someday it will interest you. Yesterday was my someday.

I started reading the book last night and love it. There was a saying in the beginning that stuck out - When you meet other woman, do you start by sharing your accomplishments? Probably not. Yet, when men meet other men, it's usually over bragging rights - I caught a bigger fish, or I benched 350 lbs. When we women meet other women, we tend to belittle ourselves. I immediately thought of myself at the gym last Friday. I finished crazy arm workout with Trainer and went to get a strawberry banana oatmeal protein smoothie (yum!). While at the smoothie bar, I overheard a lady talking about threading her eyebrows and how she is allergic to wax. I don't know why but I felt the need to say "Oh threading is the best, I've been doing it for years. You can even thread other areas on your face. I'm Indian and hairy so I know." Yes I seriously said that. Really! Why did I feel the need to call myself hairy so I could join in on the conversation? I have absolutely no idea.

I haven't read too much of the book yet but I do really like what I have read so far. I like the premise of the book - that if you are strong and into sports (regardless of what they are), you are happier. The sense of pride and accomplishment you get after making PRs and meeting goals, gives you the confidence and drive to extend that to other areas of your life.

Another part of the book that really sticks out is this quote "No wonder some women may get obsessed with having it all - it turns out we're equipped to have it all." I love that. As women we are made to multitask. We are wives, mothers, sisters, friends and we give everything to each one of our relationships. We work, we play with our kids, we run, we bike, we swim, and we compete. The more we do, the more we push ourselves to do more. That's pretty damn amazing if you ask me.

Since I've started running, I have discovered so many things about myself. I'm fast, I'm committed, I'm determined, I try my best, I work hard and I love sweating! Once you open yourself up to something you never thought you could do, it really changes your biiitchh!

So stay classy and workout in beast mode. Feel the wind underneath your running skirt! Go out and do something you told yourself you can't. Do it because you're capable and equipped.

Be a beast at whatever sport you do!