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Freedom, Fireworks & Food!

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July to all! Thank you to everyone who fought and continues to fight for our country!

Our 4th is off to a wonderful start, with a trip to the grocery store and prep for a mostly grilled meal! As promised, I will be posting the recipes and pictures later. I have a few of the prep work… just to entice!

The menu in progress pics! Recipes will be posted this evening!

  • Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Seasonal Veggies with Fresh Herbs – Eggplant, Red Peppers and Tomatoes 
  • Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter  
  • Grilled Chicken with a Teriyaki-Orange marinade (+ secrets to making perfect grilled chicken – hint: it’s all about the marinade, which includes a little beer to help break down the proteins; low heat)

We also have a 90-minute yoga session lined up, but I have to cut this short as I’m holding up our time on the beach the longer I sit and write.

Happy 4th & Healthy 4th to all!

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Fit for the Road – Boston Edition!

27 Jun

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend has come to an end… Congrats to the newest Mr. & Mrs. in our family. Sneak peak of their first dance below. My brother’s wife has been dancing since she could walk (more or less!) and choreographed their first dance.

Yesterday began with an indoor cycling class (facilities can’t be called “Spinning” unless they pay for it), followed by hair, followed by all things wedding… ceremony, photos, reception and a night of calorie-burning booty shaking… a.k.a dancing. Today was a day of rest and travel to Boston.

I settled into a very cute, historic (tiny!) hotel for the next couple of days. First things first… checking in with a few work emails and then onto the very important tasks: finding out when I have time for fitness in my work travels. I try to stay at hotels with fitness facilities, but this was a very last minute travel decision and I took any hotel I could get in proximity to the conference… After realizing Hotel 140’s “gym” consisted of a mat and an elliptical in a small closet-like room it was time for Plan B!

Back to the room to (1) check the weather and (2) find a running route on MapMyFitness.com (3) and finding a nearby gym in the event of rain. Tomorrow will be a quick a.m. yoga to wake things up, 15 minute walk to the convention center and a running route, as pictured and linked below.

MapMyFitness is another handy tool that gives you multiple options for creating your workout and has the added feature of linking to multiple social networking accounts to share your fitness plans. Research shows keeps social networking can help keep you accountable to your plans. Tuesday is going to be an early, early workout… going to check out Revolution Fitness, which has a discount for hotel guests.

Body Pump class at 6:15 in the a.m. before heading to the final day of conference and an afternoon of exploring Boylston/Beacon Street area of Boston.

From Boston tomorrow… a review of Natalia Rose’s Raw Food Detox Diet.

P90/P90X Nutrition Review: Phase I

24 Jun

It’s X-treme… I’ve only watched 2 days of Tony Horton and his “ism’s” are already lodged into the recesses of my brain. I said I would do a little review on the diet and since I’m kind of on vacation/kind of working/kind of doing wedding stuff I’m going to keep it “lite” unless I receive any other comments or questions asking expand on the post. Email me if you don’t want to leave a comment (erin.haslag AT gmail.com).

There are two versions of P90. Take the “X” and go all out… or in my case, when I return to SoCal, simply drop the “X” and integrate more cardio. Cardio is my preferred method of exercise, but as I’m edging closer to the third decade of my life I’m feeling compelled to add more weights, agility and vary my exercises to keep my metabolism where it is (by having increased muscle mass). Listen up ladies, because muscle mass is the key to keeping your killer (or desired) figure.

Enough about the workouts – they’re tough from what I’ve watched. I’ll write more on that when I start the DVD series back at home. One thing I did start this week is the recommended nutrition plan that comes with P90X. This is an overview and review of the first phase ONLY. There are three phases total.

To make life easier, I put the meal plan into an online spreadsheet, so we can share it and not have to rely on flipping through the book for recipes. Simplify your life by taking a few steps of prep if you decide to do an overhaul on your diet.

Here’s a quick view (double-click for a larger view):

To see the recipes behind them, go to the link, and hover over the little triangles in the upper right corner:

Pros:

  • Lots of fresh fruits and veggies are encouraged
  • Snacks are encouraged between meals
  • Portion control (*note – aside from the sauces and dressings these recipes are 1 serving size)
  • No snacking after dinner
  • Cooking at home will be required (prep in advance when you can)
  • Lots of healthy fats are incorporated; fat-laden recipes are tweaked

Cons: 

  • This will be tough for someone who (1) doesn’t cook and (2) doesn’t eat very well to start with – you are, as Tony says, “cutting out the crap”. Not that I think that’s a bad thing… just saying it will take a considerable measure of willpower. 
  • Can be expensive – you’re buying lots of protein and giving your refrigerator a makeover.
  • A little high in the sodium & salt content – be mindful of how much you are using. Turkey bacon is recommended but I prefer to buy butcher-shop, preservative-free bacon for Ryan (I hate bacon… sorry all).
  • Not sure I would want to ingest all of the recommended protein. I like carbs to fuel me through cardio. I am leery of ingesting extracted things – I like to get goodness from whole food sources
  •  It can be vegetarian friendly, but it takes extra work to substitute the recommended protein sources

Bottom line: the meal plan is a solid base for healthy nutrition with a few tweaks. I wouldn’t follow it vis-a-vis. Make it work for you and your lifestyle – incorporate lots of fresh fruits, veggies and a solid blend of carbs and protein. These are your building blocks for muscle energy and repair. Fat has a little place in all of this, too, so don’t completely skimp out on it. And… do NOT skip breakfast! It’s essential for a healthy weight.

For us on modification meant finding something close to the recommended lunch meals – we don’t have the time to prep all of the food between crazy work and travel schedules. It provides the additional lesson of the importance of being conscientious when dining away from home.

That’s what I’ve got for now… check it out – email or comment with questions!

I’m off to run to a bike shop and check out some new cycling shoes 🙂 I’ve busted my Crank Brother/Shimano platform and cleat set one too many times…

Fit for the Road!

24 Jun

I was hoping to post this yesterday, but flights were delayed all around. Traveling to the midwest in the summer = prone to delays due to massive thunderstorms. Once I settled in for an extended layover I was in a battle for electrical outlet use with all the other delayed layover travelers.

I did not win this battle for outlet space.  But I did finish a great read, Three Cups of Tea. Check it out.

When traveling for non-work events (read=fun stuff) I treat myself to research… ahem… fitness magazines.

I must give much love to my youngest brother’s girl, Andria. We had a little chat about working out on the phone a couple of days ago and she invited me to partake in a little “P90X lite” and running when I’m back home. It is so much easier to stick with a plan when you have fit friends – throwback to the motivation entries! Even if we only get to work out together one day of this busy wedding weekend, that’s one day I wouldn’t have to try to go it alone.

Here are some other goodies I love to pack for the road:

  • Running shoes… which will double as “cycling shoes” on the road (I love checking out other cycling venues when I can!)
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Mini-workouts on the iPod/DVD transferred to the iPod
  • Jump rope (doubles as band for stretches and mini weights)
  • A few sets of work-out clothes – I rely on being able to wash ’em out so I can make it through with no extra bags. Let’s be honest, it’s really to make room fore more shoes.
  • Supplies on hand at my parent’s house – treadmill, mat, mini-Bosu disc & weights! 

There are also so many great resources for exercises online to keep you motivated… some of my favorites are:

  • Zuzana @ BodyRock.tv
  • ExerciseTV’s free, full-length workouts
  • Yoga Download – no visuals, but the descriptors for most of the workouts are great. I use this in home to supplement/offset the cost of taking yoga at studios in the area.

Is staying fit on the road important to you? What do you do? What do you bring? (Answer below!)

    When I return I will have this waiting for me! Squealing with elation on the inside! Only a little over a month until my “trainer-training”. Sign up now to be my practice clients!

    Summer – Now Officially Yours

    21 Jun

    Time for my favorite season of the year! Summer time!

    Don’t let the SoCal location fool you. Although we have good weather most of the time Summer is still the most glorious season here, too. There are rainy times of the year, chill-i-er (low 50’s) and always an ocean breeze that sometimes is more like a blustery Chicago day. Time to celebrate summer no matter where you live! I’m making my way back to the Midwest and East Coast over the next week and will get a taste of summer across the country before I head back to my California home. 

    This summer a new fitness venture is occurring at our household – P90X. Yesterday morning was spent perusing through enclosed materials. It included a workout guide and journal, a nutrition guide and the DVDs. What we weren’t expecting was all of the additional purchases that would need to be made in order to be ready to start, including weights, a mat, chin-up bar, nutritional supplements (ehhhh in my opinion… I won’t be joining in on this part of the diet) and clearing out any remnants of potential junk food in the house. We made a few of the recipes in advance to combat the busy week ahead, including a large batch of wild rice, pesto sauce (w/o any olive oil! gasp!) and cutting/chopping/dicing fruits and veggies.

    If you’re planning to try a new fitness plan or tweaking aspects of your diet make sure you have everything the plan entails or modifications to the plan. This ensures there are no excuses from the beginning.

    And if your friend or other half plans to start something, be as supportive as you can 🙂 I’m going to try to do the workouts with the other half when I can. Finding someone to motivate you when you’re making positive changes (lifestyle, behavioral) is really a huge component of your success. I love teaching because my students motivate me as much as I motivate them. Reciprocity in motivation is good!

    Tonight I’m going to tackle some of the intro P90X DVD after a RealRyder class. Abs. Maybe some push-ups. I’ll give my opinion of it tomorrow and also post part of the meal plan (stay tuned). The meal plan comes in a book form, but I used Google Docs to keep tabs throughout the day since I’m mostly at my computer.

    In the meantime, here’s a quick workout from Women’s Health to celebrate the first day of summer – perfect for the midsection and to get your heart rate up in under 20 minutes. I’ll add something for the guys later tonight, although these are completely appropriate and useful for men, too.

    Try 8-12 of each set, with 2-3 sets. Feel the soreness tomorrow! And love it 🙂

    Squat, holding a medicine ball next to your right hip (a). Keep your arms straight and raise the ball up and across your body until you’re standing and the ball is above your left shoulder (b). Lower back to start. That’s one rep.

    Hold a dumbbell and raise your right arm, keeping your elbow close to your ear (a). Step forward with your left foot, lowering until your thigh is parallel to the floor (b). Push off your left foot to stand. That’s one rep.

    {{These make my arms SHAKE! Love’em!}} Get into a push-up position (a). Shift your weight to your left hand and rotate your body, raising your right arm into the air so that your arms and torso form a T (b). Hold for one or two seconds, then return to start. That’s one rep.

    Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, bend your knees, and lean forward from your hips (a). Brace your abs and pull the weight up to chest height without rotating your torso (b). Return to start. That’s one rep.

    Day of {Active} Rest!

    18 Jun

    When you’re an active person there is one thing you cannot neglect – taking at least one day of active rest each week! It is imperative for maintaining and meeting your fitness goals.

    The American College of Sports Medicine’s stance on active recovery:

    Rest between the training cycles (active recovery phase) allows for the needed recovery so that overtraining problems are reduced.

    And a little more detail about active recovery from a recent article in Runner’s World

    Years of research disprove the notion that a day off wrecks fitness; in fact, the opposite is true. Little detraining—the loss of fitness and performance that occurs when you stop working out—happens until you take off more than two weeks. When it follows difficult bouts of work, rest lets your body adapt to the work and improve. A day off every seven to 14 days restocks glycogen stores, builds strength, and reduces fatigue. Without recovery, adaptation may occur short-term, but ultimately it will fail. And since most injuries come from overuse, a day of cross-training, rest, or easy miles can prevent three-or four-week forced breaks caused by [injuries] ITB syndrome.

    In general I make it a rule to take at least one day off of intense exercise a week. In a perfect week I have one day devoted to intense exercise (cycling, running), followed by a day of moderate exercise (yoga, hiking), followed by a day of weights or weight resistance (TRX, Kettleballs, a pump class). Rinse, lather and repeat. All of this followed by one day of active rest. And by active rest I’m still doing something – not sitting on my butt all day! Usually these are the days the dog gets a long walk, taking a lighter yoga class, playing recreational sports … you get the picture. I also make it a rule to stay out of a gym.

    As a more casual exerciser or athlete you may feel you don’t need these days of rest. You can have a day where you take things “a little easier”, too. Just remember to still be engaging in some type of activity for appropriate for your level of active recovery. Your body will thank you. Promise.

    While RELAXING I’m going to share a few of my most recent Spinning and RealRyder play lists. I linked out to a song or two for each. Most tunes are available on iTunes. If you really want the tunes and can’t find ’em let me know.

    I’ve taught classes every evening this week and an evening of kicking my feet up with a cold beer or glass of wine after a walk with the dog sounds wonderful. Without further ado… 3, 1-hour or more song-sets!

    Check out: RCRDLBL.com
    Check out: DJ Lobsterdust, mash-up heaven

    "He Says"/"She Says" Fitness

    16 Jun

    Not abandoning my dear little blog… just really, really (really) busy this week. Teaching a RealRyder or Spinning class every day or night Tuesday-Saturday is keeping me on my toes. More correctly keeping my toes ever-so-slightly tipped downward and my feet flat as I pull through on the pedal strokes of life (lame, I know, let me have it…).

    I do have something fun to discuss when I return from teaching: P90X.

    For the life of me I cannot get *ahem* someone in my life to take one of my classes, but he will shell out upwards of $130 for this “comprehensive” program and nutrition guide. Rolling my eyes… but being the ever supportive person and thrilled a fitness/exercise endeavor is in the works.

    Do you and your other half sweat it out together? I see many couples working out together frequently, but I’m am not one half of those couples. My other half would rather get another guy to do “guy workouts” and leave me to my spinning, yoga, running, hiking…etc.