Get SMART

Happy Holidays! As we get closer to Christmas next week, and my shopping is wrapping up, I have been giving some thought to my New Years Resolution. I know that I still have time to make one, and not to rush the holidays, but I am a person who takes my resolution pretty seriously. It’s well thought out and I do everything in my power to stick to it.

I recently read an article in Outside Magazine (I’m on their e-mail list, I have no idea how I got on there, but I love their e-mails!) about choosing the right fitness goals for you. You can read the article here.

So if you are like me at all, or you are thinking of setting a few goals for yourself, it’s not too early to start thinking about it now. Get SMART about it!

S-Specific

M-Measureable

A-Achievable

R-Relevant

T-Timely

So basically, if you set a casual goal without being specific about it, or setting a goal that is WAY beyond your reach is just you setting yourself up for failure. Also- make it measureable. Here at the Rec we always talk about people wanting to lose weight. Well.. that’s great, but lets get serious about it. How much weight? What are you going to do to your fitness regimen to achieve it? How will you take the steps to change your eating habits? Are you going to take into account all the muscle you’ll (hopefully)gain?

In 2012, I announced to my family on New Years that I was going to run a marathon. Up until that point the furthest I had ever run was a 10k, or 6.2 miles. I had work to do. So I set up a training plan and completed the Chicago marathon in October of 2012, and I have to be honest, it was one of the best days of my life.

Setting goals that motivate you are also, honestly, a way to break up the monotony and do something for yourself. My running ended up being my ME-time. Something to look forward to. I stayed motivated because I knew it would all come to a fantastic finish with my family cheering me on and an awesome long weekend in Chicago! (And beer, there’s always beer at the finish!)

So, I hope this post inspires you to take that step. From walking each day for 30 minutes to competing in your first Ironman- as long as it’s relevant for YOU.

Let me know your fitness goals for 2015! Make it a great year!

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Stressed? Try some Gentle Whispering

Yesterday while vegging out on the couch after a long day at work, I was busy writing a list of the menu that I’m serving up for Christmas Eve this year, and checking Pinterest for some inspiration, when I happened across an article on msn.com about ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). I had heard of this briefly during a hectic morning of getting the kids off to school on the Today Show, so I read the article and somewhat intrigued, clicked on the link to Maria’s YouTube channel to watch a video.

Wow. First let me try to explain what ASMR even is. It’s a euphoric, tingling sensation that you get in the back of your head, and it travels down your spine and into your legs. This feeling happens when you hear soothing sounds, such as someone whispering to you, the turning of pages in a book, or the sound of hair being brushed. The way I understand it, is that some people can watch these videos and experience ASMR, and others simply do not. To them the video is..well…mind-numbing and boring.

Remember how great it felt to watch Bob Ross paint those happy little clouds and speak in a slow soothing voice? Well, he was before his time, because he was using ASMR to keep you riveted.

I asked my husband to watch a brief 2 minute video of Maria, and he felt nothing, and thought it was dumb. I, on the other hand, watched 2 more. Even with reruns of Seinfeld blaring in the background, I was able to focus on Maria waving her make-up brush at me and make tapping noises with her fingernails.

Keep in mind that I discovered this yesterday, so I know practically nothing about it, but it certainly focused me. All the other thoughts I had swirling around in my head melted away for just a few minutes. I’ll take it.

Check out Maria’s 2-minute video here, and let me know if ASMR affects you!

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Have a Red and Green Holiday!

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In honor of the colors of Christmas, I thought it would be neat to share fruits and vegetables that are colored green and red. Fruits and vegetables help us stay healthy, protect our immune system, and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The National Cancer Institute has provided us with a list of green and red fruits and veggies that we should try!

Red

· Tomatoes

· Spaghetti Sauce

· Red Peppers

· Beets

· Red Cabbage

· Kidney beans

· Apples

· Pink grapefruit

· Red grapes

· Strawberries

· Cherries

· Watermelon

· Raspberries

· Cranberries

· Pomegranates

· Tomato juice

· Tomato soup

· Red onions

Green

· Leafy greens

· Asparagus

· Green peppers

· Broccoli

· Green beans

· Peas

· Cabbage

· Green onion

· Brussels sprouts

· Okra

· Zucchini

· Chinese cabbage

· Green apple

· Green grapes

· Honeydew melon

· Kiwifruit

· Limes

This holiday season try these red and green combos!

· Make a pizza with whole wheat crust. Add onions, red and green peppers and other veggies

· On cold days try a tomato soup with green onions and a strawberry spinach salad for a side

· For breakfast, create your own yogurt parfait with red and green grapes topped with granola

Truly the combos are endless! Don’t have a vicious holiday season, have a nutritious one! To learn about other fruits and veggies please visit www.frutisandveggiesmatter.gov.

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Fitness Gift Guide

I know most of you have probably seen lots of blogs featuring some gift guides with some pretty great stuff, but I thought I’d give you a gift guide where every gift can be purchased for either a man or a woman. These are also some of the items that I have been crossing my fingers for, and a couple of them I already have and absolutely LOVE. So cue the Christmas music, here we go!

1. SOCKS

I for one can always use some socks for working out, especially since I can’t ever find a pair that I love. I tend to like thicker socks, but as much as I run I always seem to be having problems with black toenails and blisters. Of all the ones I’ve tried, Thorlos are my favorite, but lately I’ve been hearing great things about Bombas.

Thorlos have a buy 3, get one free deal and trust me when I tell you, these socks last forever. All you do is wash them inside out to fluff the fibers, and they can easily last over 5 years. I have 4 pairs that I have had since 2007. No holes. They also have socks for every sport you can imagine. I have a pair that I use for skiing too!

Bombas will give you 20% off your first purchase if you buy 4 pairs or more, and the great thing about this company is that they donate a pair to people in need for every pair you buy. I hope my husband reads this post and goes shopping!

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2. CARMEX

This may sound crazy, but it’s an awesome stocking stuffer. My lips have been super chapped lately and were on FIRE earlier last week while I was at the store. On an impulse I picked up a tube of Carmex right by the check-out. Only the best purchase ever- not only does it have that soothing menthol feeling, but it also shines up my lipstain for that glowy J.Lo look. Guys can wear it too, promise! What a great thing to have in your pocket on those long runs.

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3. Gaiam Sol Yoga Mat

I love having yoga in my life. What I didn’t love was feeling the floor through the mat during poses where all my weight was on my knee. I went our on a search for a thicker yoga may earlier this year and ended up with the Gaiam Sol Dry-grip Yoga Mat (5mm). Whoa baby, what a difference! Nice and thick, comfy and I’m not sliding all over the place during those extra sweaty sessions. The mat is on sale right now, and the design is perfect for all you macho men out there. Score.

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4. Columbia “Might Lite” Vest or Jacket

The vest is high on my list this year, and my fingers are firmly crossed that I’ll get it. I’m not much of a vest person—> is there such a thing? But there is something about this vest that calls to me. I think it’s a perfect transition item from fall to winter or winter to spring. It weighs practically nothing and keeps you super warm. I can see wearing it on a blustery day, as well as on a quick cold weather run. The more I write about it, the more I want it!

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Good luck with all your shopping!

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When you can’t study anymore…..Study S’more

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While walking to my last class for this semester before finals hit next week, I saw the cutest table set up. When I first saw the sign I thought to myself, “That is a cute little saying!” Then I realized they were allowing students to make their own S’mores! I was intrigued by this set up and inquired about what was going on. The two girls working told me this was to promote stress relief and to offer tips for test anxiety…. GENUIS!

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I know personally I have had issues with stress during my college career. There have been moments I felt pressed for time to finish up last minute assignments and pressured to do well on assignments I was trying to complete. It felt stressful enough figuring out when and how I was going to study but then came the nagging amount of worries while preparing for finals. How am I going to study for finals? Do I know enough to do well on the exam? Shoot! I should have read over that paper ONE last time before submitting it! All of these thoughts have probably crossed many college students’ minds at some point in time or another.

Stress can cause a person to have high blood pressure, skin rashes, muscle tightness, headaches, mood swings, and unstable behaviors. So how do we combat stress? What do we do when we are feeling in over our heads? The Marshall University Student Center Resource Center gave a pocket slider out to the students that will help teach different ways to cope with stress.

On this list are sleep, diet, time management, exercise, breathing and meditation, journals and laughter. All of these tips are important to follow in order to reduce your stress. However, I would really like to share with you the tips for diet and exercise.

Diet and Nutrition:

o Limit caffeine and sugar intake

o Maintain a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and lean meats

o Learn about vitamins and minerals or supplements you are taking

Exercise:

o Physical exercise increases health, boosts the immune system and can make you feel good about yourself

o Do moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week

o Join a class or find an exercise partner for encouragement

o Try to perform strength and aerobic exercises.

Hopefully these two tips help you get through your finals coming up and when all else fails you can study S’more. All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows, Hersey kisses, and a microwave. Stack the marshmallows and kisses however you like in-between two graham crackers and microwave for 20-30 seconds. Now you can invite your friends over for a study group and make your own S’mores! Let us not be vicious to our bodies as we prepare for finals, let us stay nutritious! Good luck and study on!

How do you relieve your stress?

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Leftovers!!!

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Well friends I hope each one of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year was a unique experience for me. I was able to have two Thanksgiving dinners which is not the typical pattern and while it is sad but true, I overate at both dinners….(tisk tisk).

As I sat at the dinner table and listened to the conversation, I soon realized that no one was talking about family or leftover food they were talking about their plans for Black Friday. I was in complete shock. What has happened to Thanksgiving? I was hearing that stores were opening at 6 P.M. on Thanksgiving and even a few others were opening earlier than that! I could not help but think, “Thanksgiving has turned into Black Friday!”

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On that note, during Black Friday I was at home cooking up my leftovers and relaxing. When talking about leftovers, I know a lot of people do not know what to do with them or they get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. So, whether you braved the shopping centers or stayed at home, I have decided to share with you a couple recipes you can use to use up all of your turkey leftovers and create new meals for the family!

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If you are looking for a quick, tasty lunch and had left over turkey and cranberry sauce…try this recipe!

 

Turkey Quesadillas

Ingredients

Cooking spray

1/4 cup slices green onions

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

Cranberry Salsa to dip quesadillas:

Ingredients

1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

Click to see savings

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Click to see savings

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pear, cored and finely diced

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1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

Instructions for salsa and quesadillas:

To prepare salsa, combine first 7 ingredients. Cover and chill.

To prepare quesadillas, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup sliced onions to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove onions from pan; reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each of 4 tortillas. Top each cheese-covered tortilla with one-fourth of onions, 1/2 cup turkey, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tortilla.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 quesadilla to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with cranberry salsa and low-fat sour cream.

The awesome thing about the salsa above is that you can use it on any type of turkey sandwich! If you wanted to make a turkey club or turkey melt, just add the salsa to the sandwich.

Here is another recipe you can use for your left overs that creates a nice meal.

 

Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 pound ground turkey breast

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can tomato juice

1/4 cup preshredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Instructions

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and turkey, and cook 3 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder and the remaining ingredients (chili powder through tomato juice); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve and sprinkle with cheese.

I have only given you a couple of recipes to use for your leftovers, but as you can see there is a wide range of dishes you can make. You can make anything from sandwiches to soups to pies. If you have time, check out different recipes to make or use the ones above. If you went out shopping, I hope you made it home in one piece and got all the good deals you were seeking. If you stayed home I hope you enjoyed relaxing! As always don’t be vicious while shopping and stay nutritious with your leftover turkey!

What is your favorite dish to make with leftover turkey?

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#MotivationMonday Happy (After) Thanksgiving Workout

Hi readers! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving…I know I did. So what is my workout motivation this week? Well, we all know a good Thanksgiving means lots of food. Turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie, cobbler, and the list goes on and on.

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Every Thanksgiving I promise myself I’m not going to eat as much, but every Thanksgiving I break that promise, because I just can’t say no to holiday food. So my motivation this week is making up for how much I ate last week.

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Honestly, this week is going to be a crazy busy time for me, but I am so excited to get back into the gym and get back to my normal eating routine. I love the holidays, and I’m all about celebrating, but man, it feels good to go for a nice run and eat vegetables and fruit again.

With Christmas approaching, I am feeling even more motivated to workout hard, because one thing my whole family is good at is making huge, delicious meals for special occasions. It’s a gift. So, this week I have made it my goal to run more than usual and do more ab workouts than usual (because they are my kryptonite). I also plan to try the Expresso bikes because they’re a new workout tool for me. If you guys haven’t tried them, you need to! It’s a great workout experience and you almost forget that you’re working out.

Basically, if I’m going to celebrate holidays with lots of food (and I definitely am), I am going to work my butt off in the gym too!

How was your Thanksgiving? Are you a holiday foodie too?

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