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Health

Healthy Food Grocery Haul!

November 25, 2016
lemon

I made the mistake today of going to the grocery store after my 8 mile long run, and came out with a lot of healthy food and some not-so-healthy food. Since I personally enjoy watching people’s grocery hauls on YouTube, (which is weird, I know) I thought I would post a mini Sunday healthy food grocery haul!

I went to Whole Foods, and while I’d prefer to shop at a non-chain health food store, Whole Foods is my best and closest option here in the Orlando theme park corridor for organic produce.

Of course, I used Publix bags. I have a strange guilt complex surrounding Whole Foods shopping.

Healthy-Food

Here are my groceries, laid out in all of their delicious glory:

groceries

My produce included a mixture of organic and locally grown green peppers, organic grapes, mushrooms, and an organic onion, lemon, and avocado. I have a recipe planned for tonight that I’ll post soon! I also bought a couple of bags of frozen organic strawberries for my breakfast smoothies, and some local orange juice.

orange-juice

The main reason I shop at Whole Foods is for organic dairy (I know there are lots of issues about even organic dairy, which I won’t go into here). I don’t always eat dairy, but lately I’ve been on a dairy kick. However, I prefer milk from grass fed cows, and my favorite yogurt brand of the moment, Dreaming Cow, also produces dairy from grass fed cows. It tastes so much better! Plus I feel less guilty about consuming something meant for baby cows when I know it is from a smaller dairy, where the cows can eat some yummy grass.

I also bought a couple of grain items, including tri-colored quinoa and Israeli couscous.

Of course, I needed random lunch items. Tuna salad and corn bread for tomorrow, and frozen organic burritos for when I have no more fresh food left.

No grocery haul could be complete without strange random foods, like herbs and dog treats.

The best part of the haul – healthy junk food! Okay, most of this is not healthy. Yogurt covered cherries and coconut milk ice cream really have few redeeming values. But they are delicious! Some of my favorite snacks from when I have the munchies are included here, including frosted shredded wheat, snap pea crisps, and pumpkin seeds. Yum! This is where the whole “I just ran 8 miles and want to eat everything” will power problem I was talking about occurred. I can pinpoint my weight loss problems to this one category of foods. I’m going to do my best to eat these in moderation!

lemon

I also bought lunch. My favorite kale, apple, lemon, and ginger juice, and sushi were an excellent post run meal!

kale

Health

Shopping the Lululemon Outlet

November 25, 2016
Lululemon-Outlet

This past weekend was tax-free shopping in Florida, and I decided to take advantage of the back-to-school perk by heading straight to the Lululemon outlet store for new workout clothes! Since I’m no longer in school, I’ve decided to deem this time my back-to-half-marathon training shopping.

Nothing, unfortunately, motivates me more to workout than cute clothes. I know that the health benefits and sense of accomplishment should do something for me, but unfortunately I’m not there yet psychologically. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my wallet), an old coworker who was a Lululemon brand ambassador got me hooked on their gorgeous workout clothes.

She was actually paid to wear Lululemon clothes and look cute in workout classes! Alas, I am not a fit model, so I like to shop the Lululemon outlet here in Orlando, FL. Since there are only 3 Lululemon outlets in the world, and their clothes are ridiculously expensive, I feel somewhat honored to live nearby one of these rare and mysterious places. For someone not near an outlet, you can buy final sale outlet items online at: http://shop.lululemon.com.

The outlet, unfortunately, is hit and miss. On my last trip, there was a ton of selection. Most of the clothes were pastels being offloaded as we head into fall, but in Florida pastels are appropriate pretty much year round, so color selection was not much of an issue. I was able to find most of what I wanted in my size. However, I haven’t been as lucky on past trips. Either selection is poor, or sizes are limited to the very smallest (0-2 seems to abound at the outlet). If you are very tiny and don’ mind bright colors, than I highly recommend the outlet. If you fit into every other category and happen to be nearby, than it is worthwhile to take a look. Lululemon discounts aren’t exactly easy to come by.

If you want to go to the Lululemon outlet, here is a word of advice – go early in the day! The outlets are packed most days, and parking is a huge issue midday. The outlet only has a couple of changing rooms and sales are final – so if you don’t want to wait a long time in line to try items on, the earlier the better. Most people seem to go one size up in Lululemon.

Sometimes I think I am crazy to fight the outlet crowds just to spend an irrational amount on a running skirt – but the way Lululemon’s clothes fit give me much more confidence working out. Plus, the clothes do double duty because they’re cute enough to be work running errands or to the dog park.

The only thing I don’t like about Lululemon is the strange feeling that I’m being sized up when I enter the store. Inevitably, some super-hot, super-fit sales girl always asks what I’m running or what type of yoga I like, and although it is always friendly, I feel the need to have some kind of fitness speech prepared when I enter. Plus, I’ve read articles like these http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-licorish/lululemon-cult-culture_b_3690378.html about Lululemon being some kind of cult, and other articles about the brand discriminating against larger sizes. So be warned – for now, I think the flattering look is worth the outlet prices!

Health

Choosing a New Gym

November 25, 2016
Choosing a New Gym

Choosing a new gym is not an easy decision, but one I recently decided was time to make! I’ve been working out at the same gym for the past year, and although it’s a good gym, I was starting to think that it wasn’t the best choice for me. Unfortunately, choosing a new gym is a big deal, not only because of the cost, but because you’re loosing a little community that you’ve formed – after all, this is somewhere you go to potentially 3-6 times a week.

When you suddenly find yourself not going to they gym anymore, it’s time to evaluate why. Do you need to workout at a different time of the day? Are you bored or not seeing results and need to meet with a trainer to refresh your routine? Or, are there factors beyond your control at play like lack of equipment and poor gym hours?

My current gym has a lot going for it. It’s large, clean, and has a nice amount of cardio and strength equipment. The spinning room is huge, and I really like having a pool and spa available for workouts. Unfortunately, the time I spent at the gym has been getting shorter and shorter since I moved a few months ago. I sat down and tried to weigh the gym pros and cons, and see what was sabotaging my workouts!

Choosing a New Gym

Unfortunately, I noticed that many of the cons were things out of my control. For instance, some days it takes me 30 minutes just to get to the gym and park! When you’re already crunched for time like I am, this becomes a real excuse for not hitting the gym regularly. I decided that the cons I couldn’t change about my current gym where enough to start looking for a new one. I made a wish-list of things I want in a gym based on all of the things I’ve enjoyed the most at facilities I’ve belonged to:

Gym-Wish-List

Immediately I started looking for gyms that fit the items on my list. I had 3 gyms within 15 minutes to choose from, including Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Gold’s Gym. I instantly ruled out Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness. Although those gyms have good prices and a lot of equipment, they don’t have the exercise and spinning classes I like.

I toured Gold’s Gym, and liked what I found. Not only did they have way more features, like extra cardio equipment, a “cardio theater” where you can exercise and watch movies, and more group fitness rooms, but they had a women-only fitness area. No more trying to get meathead guys off of the equipment while they are “resting,” aka: talking on the phone, talking to friends, or trying to look cool. Plus, I toured the facility during the time I would normally workout, and found that I could get there faster than my current gym, and that it was less crowded.

A few of the items I really wanted, like a lap pool and sport courts, were only available nearby at my current gym, but I decided that I would get more use out of Gold’s circuit area than these amenities.

I signed up and am excited to begin my first workout there!

Health

My Top 5 Running Gear for Half Marathon Training

November 25, 2016
Running Gear for Half Marathon Training

I have run for fitness for a long time, but when I started participating in races last year, the running gear I required changed dramatically. Half marathon training requires a lot of gear! I have also added items to my gear list as I’ve lived and learned (and blistered, and chafed). Here are 5 of my running necessities for anyone participating in a half marathon training program, or interested in beginning running.

#1 Music

I cannot run without music, and it has to be upbeat. Right now I use my Samsung Galaxy as an Mp3 player. My current tactic is to buy a couple of songs before my long run as motivation. I mean, $2-$3 on music a week is a great morale boost, and while it seems expensive, is in actuality the price of a coffee.

#2 Expensive socks

I cannot tell you how much better your feet will feel during and after a long run if you wear a quality pair of socks. I like Thorlos brand socks, mostly because they’re easy to find at most sports stores. A lot of runners also prefer knee high compression socks, which I will be trying out soon.

Here is the 84NRCW 84N Runner for Women:

#3 Multiple pairs of sneakers

Running is hard on the sneakers. The brand and type of sneaker I’m into changes, but I like to have a very light weight shoe for shorter runs, and something more stable for longer runs. Alternating sneakers seems to help my feet recover, and extends the life of my shoes.

I currently like these pretty inexpensive Reeboks, especially their ZigTech and other lightweight shoes, for my short runs.

I like Asics gels for my longer runs, especially the Gel Forte, Gel Kayano, and Gel Nimbus.

ASICS Women's GEL-Forte Running Shoe

Buy from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ASICS-Womens-GEL-Forte-Running-Shoe/dp/B0088WT8DW

I’m due for a new pair of shoes, and might go back to my old standby, the Mizuno Wave Rider.

#4 Water source

I cannot run without water, but most water carriers are uncomfortable. I’ve tried carrying a water bottle, used a water belt, and currently use a Camelbak hydration pack. I have on shorter runs stashed a bottle at my house and made stops, but in the Florida heat I find myself needing water too often to rely on stashed sources.

Camelbak hydration pack

Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-62202-Hydrobak-Hydration-Pack/dp/B00J08KQSY

#5 Sport Shield

I use the Sport Shield liquid-roll. I might try something else when I run out, but the point is I need something for blisters and chafing. I like to use it on my feet and thighs, but it can be used anywhere that might rub when running. One caveat – it is incredibly slick. After a treadmill run at the gym this stuff literally caused me to go sliding across the room when I dropped a little too vigorously on a mat to stretch. It gets the job done!

Health

30 Days of Ab Workouts

November 25, 2016
30 Days of Ab Workouts

A friend inspired me to complete a 30 day ab challenge, so tonight I made myself a chart of 30 days of ab workouts! This is perfect timing – for one, I need to lose about 15 pounds, and most importantly, I would love to have flatter abs for my vacation coming up in December. We were out paddleboarding today, and when I saw how flat my friend’s abs were (she just finished her 30th day of ab workouts) I knew that this would be a fun and hopefully worthwhile plan. I searched all over the internet for ab workouts and 30 day ab challenges, but was really unimpressed by what I found. Some were way too easy to be a challenge, and many just included the same exercises, with added reps each day. How boring is that!

I remember from the good old days when I used to be fit that the abdominal muscle becomes used to whatever workout you are doing really quickly, so variety is key. I created a series of ab workouts that work different parts of the core, adds reps, and includes some variety, so I’m hoping to see great results at the end of the workout.

30 Days of Ab Workouts

I’m unfortunately starting on day 5, so I’m already behind! While I attempt to catch up, here are the ab workouts I’m going to follow this month. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m excited to try this challenge – its been a really long time since I’ve paid much attention to my abs, and it shows! I’m hoping that this not only helps whip them into shape, but gets me back into the habit of incorporating ab workouts into my daily routine.

Questions of the day: Have you ever completed an ab workout challenge? What are your favorite ab exercises?