Tag Archives: Planning

Crazy Committed

16 Jun

No matter what I did yesterday I couldn’t get on the right foot. I woke up late, drove to work in horrible traffic, forgot to take my supplements during the day, drove to the gym in horrible traffic and to top it off the parking garage at the gym was under construction.

All of that was fine, not even too much of a problem, but I forgot my gym clothes at home and I had a boot camp class with Armando that was part of my 1/2 marathon training, a class that I had paid for and could not make up.

So I bought new gym clothes.

JoannaBurgraf_gymclothes

Joanna's new gym clothes

I made it to class and you know what I’m really glad I did. But it got me thinking, is this ‘normal’? Is this just a testament to my commitment to working out? Or am I just crazy?

For me the former is true. There is very little that will get in the way of me and my time at the gym, especially if I’ve already paid for class or a personal training session. I really like to get my money’s worth when I pay for something. That’s a major motivating factor, it’s worth it to me to pay to keep me motivated when sheer will won’t do it alone.

I think that everyone has their source for motivation, what’s yours?

Advertisements

Muffins at Midnight

15 Jun

Midnight is a great time for making muffins.  A few months ago I discovered these vegan zucchini date muffins on ChoosingRaw.com. They are absolutely delicious. I’ve been craving them for a few weeks and now that I’m running more I want to have plenty of clean post-run snacks around.

Zucchini Date Muffins

Zucchini Date Muffins

Not sure that midnight was an ideal time to bake these but I will be so happy when I have them after today’s boot camp.

Also, since it’s gotten warmer I’ve been obsessing over Arugula. This is the third day in a row that I’ve prepared this salad.

ShrimpBlackberrySalad

Shrimp & Blackberry Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup organic baby arugula
1/3 cup organic blackberries
1/2 organic zucchini, sliced
1 small Persian cucumber, sliced
2 TBS green onion, chopped
1 lemon wedge
6 wild caught jumbo gulf shrimp
1 tsp coconut oil

Saute the shrimp in coconut oil over medium-high heat, toss all ingredients in lemon juice and enjoy. This salad takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

For all of you muffin lovers I leave you with, Muffins, a clip by one of my favorite comedians.

Which seasonal fruits and veggies are you craving right now? Do you have a favorite muffin flavor or recipe?

Throwing out the Scale

17 Mar

This past weekend, I had one of the most informative weekends of my entire fitness-junkie career! I got a Hydrostatic Body Composition test, a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test and VO2Max test. Some of you may be wondering what in the world these are, so before I get into my results and how they will impact my training (and eating) I’m going to explain a little about each of the tests and why they’re important. If you’re familiar with these tests, skip over this next section and get to reading at the end.

Hydrostatic Body Composition Test
This is a fat test. Without going into too much complex detail, the way that this works is you get weighed on an underwater scale. You go into a tub and submerge your entire body onto this underwater scale, while underwater you blow out as much air as you possibly can from your lungs. This technique is more accurate than a fat scale, body pincher or hand-held body composition scanners at the gym.

It’s actually more important to know your body fat composition than your weight. Say what?!? The reason for this is because someone can be very thin and in the normal range of weight while having a high body fat percentage and on the flip side someone can be on the higher end of the scale and have a low body fat percentage. Also, the fastest and most efficient way to change the way your body looks is to lower body fat and build lean muscle. Read more about body fat tests.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Test
This test determines how many calories you burn while at rest. The way the test works is you sit in a comfortable chair for 12 minutes while breathing into a tube.

The importance of this test is to determine how many calories someone needs to lose, gain or maintain weight. It can explain why despite eating a low-calorie diet you’re not losing weight. Believe it or not if you’re not getting enough calories that can hinder weight loss and muscle-building. Our bodies are very complex systems and there is more to meeting fitness goals than just exercising more and eating less.

VO2Max
The VO2max test measures your maximum level of exertion, in other words it measures how intensely you can possibly work-out before you can’t workout any more. It distinguishes if you are burning body fat, muscle & fat or purely muscle as you exercise. This test is performed on a treadmill while wearing a mask and breathing into a tube.

Since I am someone who is interested in burning fat it’s important for me to know my fat-burning zone, so that I can train in the fat burning zone. Since I want to build muscle and keep it on, I don’t want to be in the muscle-burning zone.

These are all very generic explanations of each of the tests, but hopefully you can get the idea of what they are and why they’re important. If you want any further explanation, leave a comment saying so and I’ll have Armando answer your questions.
The Results
I am very happy to have taken the above tests, because now I have an actual baseline to track my results. My body fat percentage is 16.4%, for a 30-year-old female 20-25% body fat is considered good. Naturally I am very happy to have a low body fat percentage. I see this as a testament to the healthy lifestyle changes I have made over the past years and all that my trainer has taught me.
The Changes
As of Sunday I am no longer going to try to hit a number on a scale. Armando has been trying to beat into my head that the number on the scale doesn’t matter, he’s been saying “it’s all about how your clothes fit, the way you look in the mirror and the number on the scale can remain the same but your body and it’s shape will change dramatically” (muscle to body fat ratio). My stubborn-self (what can I say I’m a Taurus) wanted to base things on the scale, so I would weigh myself and allow my moods to be affected by the little digits on the blue screen of the scale. I am finished with that. I am also going to be eating more which will result in having more energy throughout the day. Additionally the trainer is changing up my workouts for me to maximize the amount of muscle I keep on my body.
Well, that’s not entirely true, he’s been telling me to do some of these things all along. There are some habits that die hard, I would do certain things my way and not listen to his instructions. I’ve been able to get very fit and produce some amazing results despite my stubborn Taurian ways. I think I’ll let the expert do his job now and I’ll follow his instructions. I’ll be getting the tests again in the next six months so I’ll have plenty of time to track progress.
Have you gotten any of these tests? If so, how did it impact your training?

Breakfast on the Go, (Almost) the Same as at Home

10 Mar

By now I don’t think it’s a secret that I love to cook and breakfast is no exception. I eat breakfast every single day. I don’t change it up all that much. I find something I like and stick to it for several months. Kind of like when I was eating breakfast burritos all the time. Lately the standard has been oatmeal and eggs.

Even when in a hurry I don’t skip breakfast nor do I grab anything processed. I am excited to share with you a way to have the same kind of breakfast you would have at home on the go: overnight oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs. (I didn’t say it was going to be glamorous.)

It’s simple you prepare the whole thing the night before in less than 15 minutes and as long as you don’t forget your spoon you can eat it anywhere. I think I’m the last person on the planet to discover this breakfast delicacy. I first read about it on Carrots and Cake or Kath Eats,  I don’t remember which one. After a year of reading about these women preparing this culinary treasure, I decided to give it whirl. All you have to do is soak your oatmeal overnight in a liquid of preference. I’ve been using unsweetened almond milk topped with a sliced banana and walnuts. The oats soak up the liquid and are just as soft as when cooked. Now there are no excuses for not eating breakfast.

Anyone have a another tip for taking a home cooked breakfast on the go?

Four Steps for Drinking Success

9 Mar

I’ve had a few people ask me what my thoughts are about drinking alcohol, I think this is a great excuse for a post. I have a pretty unique view on drinking. This one is specifically for you Alyssa.

Memorial Day margaritas (margarita, Memorial D...

Image via Wikipedia

So what is my drinking philosophy?
The short answer: I don’t drink alcohol (hardly ever).
The long answer: I don’t like drinking alcohol. It upsets my stomach, I’ve never acquired a taste for it, I see it as empty calories (I would rather eat than drink) and I don’t like the way I feel when I’m buzzed. This makes my choices at parties and bars very simple, I choose tap or sparkling water or if the option is available I drink tea or coffee. I am not 100% abstinent from alcohol, I occasionally have a drink or a shot. When I do drink it’s only premium liquor. My philosophy for alcohol is not that much different from my philosophy for food, only the best ingredients go into my temple of flesh.

I also know that this may not be the right choice for everyone but this is what works for me. If you are going to drink at a party or bar, I’d like to offer you these Four Steps for Drinking Success. You can apply this to eating at parties too, I do this when I know I will be around my favorite greasy foods.

Step 1 Remind yourself of your health or fitness goal. This will put you in the right frame of mind and give you a context to start from. For example, while I’m getting ready to go to a party I might say to myself, “OK you want the body of a fitness model and you’ve never been this close before. This is your dream and you’re going to make it happen.” If you have a photo that inspires you, look at it.

Step 2 Make a game plan. Figure out what you want to drink and how many you will have before you arrive. You have a much better chance of sticking with a plan if you actually make one. If you have friends going to the party get a couple to support you in making your best decisions. For example, I decide that I am going to have one shot of Patron at the party and one Margarita without salt and 3 glasses of water. I will call my friend Suzy Q and ask her, “Hey can you check in with me a couple of times at the party and ask me what I’ve had to drink? I want to make sure I don’t go overboard with drinking tonight. I want to be full of energy tomorrow for my workout. You asking me will help keep me in check, I would really appreciate it.”

Step 3 Drink plenty of water. You can mix it up here, you can drink a sparkling water with a strawberry or an orange slice or go with tap and a cucumber. This way you stay hydrated even if you drink more than you planned.

Step 4 If you go overboard, don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect and sometimes all the planning in the world won’t keep you from caving in. It’s OK, you are human and humans screw up. If you are beating yourself up call a trusted friend and talk to them. When I’m beating myself up I usually dial my brother’s number. (Thanks Pete! You’re the best!) He simultaneously tells me not to beat myself up while having me see where I screwed up so I can learn from my mistake and motivate myself to keep moving forward. Know who that person is for you and call them. 

Most of my friends are drinkers and we get along just fine. But I am curious, are there any readers who share in my philosophy? Those of you who do enjoy your adult beverages more than me how do you handle your liquor at parties?

Working out and Feasting with Friends

23 Dec

I am a social being, I love being around people. This is a fairly new realization for me because most of my life I’ve spent thinking I was a loner. I have shy-ish tendencies. I wouldn’t consider myself shy by any means but I do get self-conscious at times. To understand why, we have to take a short trip to my past.

Our first stop is Kindergarten. When I was a little girl first starting school I didn’t speak English; Polish was my first language. I couldn’t actually talk to the kids so naturally I was a quiet kid. Although I’ve grown into a loud out-spoken adult, sometimes that child-like self-consciousness takes over.

Our next stop is my office, two years ago. After a series of reorganizations, moves and people leaving I was stuck in an office by myself. At first I thought it was the best thing that could possibly happen to me. After a few months, I couldn’t stand it when all I had to interact with was the computer screen. It became very clear to me that I thrive and am happiest when I am around people.

Let’s move along to the present, bringing our little trip to brief halt. This past weekend, I spent both Saturday and Sunday working out with people. On Saturday I went to the gym with my brother and his girlfriend and then they came over for dinner. I made this delicious meal.

Maple-glazed chicken, sauted kale & swiss chard with raisons and rosemary maple covered acorn squash

Maple-glazed chicken, sautéed kale & swiss chard with raisins and rosemary maple covered acorn squash

On Sunday I went to the gym with one of my best friends. Then after a stop at Whole Foods we made this delicious meal.

Clean montechristo sandwich and coconut carrot soup

Clean Montecristo sandwich and coconut carrot soup

When Monday rolled around I felt like I had been on vacation for a week.

As I drive along in life, I increasingly realize the importance for me to be around friends and family. Alone time is cool if I have to clean or read or study, but working out with a buddy is so much more fun and fulfilling.

What’s your workout style? Do you prefer to go alone or go with a workout buddy?

The Right Stuff

9 Dec

This not an homage to NKOTB, the loves of my life in fourth grade. This is about having the proper equipment. Having the right equipment from the right workout clothes, to the proper knife in the kitchen, to the best quality ingredients can make or break achieving health goals.

Have you ever tried to lift weights without weights? You can’t. That’s obvious. What may not be so obvious are other pieces of equipment you need to keep up with your nutrition and fitness goals. As I mentioned in the Turkey Trot post I had dressed warmly enough for running outside. The  proper equipment, proper apparel and the right tools can give you that little edge in achieving nutrition and fitness goals.

This doesn’t just apply to fitness and nutrition, but it also applies to sanity day to day living.

For example, I purchased a travel mug from Starbucks because I liked it, it looked like one of their paper cups but a plastic version. After a couple of months of using it, it started to leak. I thought to myself, “I have to be careful, I’ll just hold it upright.” Well after a year and a half of spills in my car, in my backpack, on my coat, in my purse, on my pants and all over my arms and getting super angry each and every time… I bought a new mug.

oxo_mug

OXO mug

This OXO mug from Target is leak proof. I no longer waste time or energy screaming and wiping down my arm or my car. This helps not only in saving me energy, but it also helps save time and aggravation. It also encourages me to make coffee or tea at  home in the morning rather than buying coffee during the day.

You may be thinking it’s a mug, what’s the big deal?. Having a travel mug I like is important, it fulfills on my commitment to being calm, to saving time, to being environmentally conscious, to resisting temptation of buying high sugar drinks and to using only the highest quality ingredients (at home I use either raw grass-fed milk or almond milk and raw honey to my coffee).

Eating Away from Home, Part 2

25 Nov Ceviche

This past weekend I went to San Francisco again. If you’re wondering what I’m doing there, I’m taking a course over five weekends. The class is about exploring what I want my contribution to be in the world. Every since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be known for changing the world somehow and that is what I’m up to when I travel to California. I’ll be going again three more times, so I will have a chance to perfect this system.

The majority of the time while in San Francisco I am going between the hotel room, the lobby and the conference room. It’s very similar to a work conference. I made some changes to what I did last time and overall we had a better experience, but the process could still use some improvements.

Prior to leaving on the trip my roommates and I took the following steps:
• Made sure that there would be a fridge in the hotel room before arrival
• Made a grocery store list
• Made a list of raw recipes that can easily be prepared in a hotel room
• Found a place to get raw milk
• Brought a cutting board from home

We ate breakfast at the hotel on Friday:

Oatmeal with bananas, raisons and peanut butter

Oatmeal with bananas, raisins and peanut butter

For lunch I returned to the bagel shop up the road for that same half bagel. You may be experiencing deja vu if you’ve read the other post, but I promise things will change as you read along.

Turkey, veggies and hummus on a bagel

Turkey, veggies and hummus on a bagel

Later in the evening on Friday we went to Whole Foods to pick up our food for the weekend. Some of the items we picked up:
• Fish (for ceviche)
• Kale
• Spinach
• Celery
• Tomatoes
• Avocados
• Snap peas
• Mushrooms
• Ginger
• Bananas
• Apples
• Dried cherries
• Bread
• Hummus
• Strawberries
• Blueberries
• Peanut Butter
• Jam

Here are some of the highlights of what we ate. One of us brought a hand-held blender and we were able to make smoothies in a pitcher.

Raw honey, raspberries and raw milk smoothie

Raw honey, raspberries and raw milk smoothie

We put so many vegetables and fruits in this ceviche I don’t think I could ever make it the same again. Some of what we put in here are red peppers, celery, raw dried cherries, mango, avocado, macadamia nuts and fish soaked in lemon juice over night.  It was delicious.

Ceviche

Ceviche

I also ate this roast beef sandwich.

Roast beef sandwich

Roast beef sandwich

I almost forgot about this kale salad with snap peas, tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice and Bariani olive oil (which is so amazing that I could dedicate a whole post to this olive oil).

Kale salad

Kale salad

On the last day as a treat I picked up this exquisite almond croissant, you can’t see it but there was almond paste practically oozing from the center.

Almond croissant

Almond croissant

I was able to eat as well as I do at home. It did require some extra effort and I’ll be honest sometimes I wanted to go downstairs to the hotel restaurant and order whatever, but sticking to the original plan had many rewards. I made excellent food choices every day while away from home, it was fun to prepare food in a small hotel room with friends (especially stuff that tastes good) and I had more energy than I’ve ever had while traveling.

There are a few things I could improve upon for next time:
• A more detailed grocery store list (we had too many left overs)
When at home I don’t usually write how much I need of something because I cook for two people and have recipes planned, here I need to be more specific or get a meal plan together.
• Getting in half a day early
• Asking a friend from San Fran to bring us a knife
• Having recipes ready to prepare on site
• Bring Tupperware

Overall this was a great adventure and I can’t wait until January to do it again. Hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I’ll be running a 10k Turkey Trot and then I have two Thanksgivings to attend in the afternoon.

Life Works When I Workout

17 Nov

Pretty sure that this is going to be my new life motto.

Remember that awesome run I did almost two weeks ago, well that’s the last time I worked out. Initially I though it would be a great idea to get some rest and take a week off, what I didn’t realize is how much working out is integrated into my schedule. Typically I workout 4-5 times a week and I work my schedule around gym time. It requires some planning. Taking this long of a break and not having exercise on the mind at all has put me into a funk.

What do I mean when I say funk, let me define it for you.
Funk=
• going to bed really late
• little energy during the day
• less productive at work
• not paying attention to what I eat
• minimal grocery shopping
• eating out for lunches and dinners
• larger than normal portions
• more than usual sodium consumption
• less water intake
• fewer raw vegetables and fruits
• overall crabby mood and feeling unsatisfied
• no blogging
• minimal motivation to cook

As a human being I do many of these things on a regular basis, just not usually at once. This is the first time, however, that I have noticed the direct correlation between exercising and being in a funk. So now I know, in funk = go work out. 🙂

Life Priority List

21 Oct

Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling greatly with my schedule. I have many projects, commitments and a full calendar. I schedule everything and I typically tell people, “if I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it.” For the most part this system has worked the past few years.

What’s been happening lately however is I’ve been feeling like I’m always working on stuff that I don’t care about. I feel like I have to get so many things out-of-the-way before I begin to work on the stuff I want to work on. For example, I experience not having enough time to plan my meals and I’m always cutting my workouts 5-10 minutes short. I’m spending a lot of time working on random favors and returning phone calls. Meanwhile I’m getting busier, missing events and double booking. Over the past few months any attempt at revising the way I schedule events has been unsuccessful, in fact it’s been getting worse.

Earlier this week, I worked with a friend who is masterful at scheduling. I wanted to get to the bottom of what’s been going on with my schedule. He had me make a list of all major areas of my life and major projects. I then ranked them from most important to least. The results were VERY eye-opening, I noticed that I have been spending most of my time working on the lowest ranked areas. The areas of my life that I care about the most have been getting the least amount of attention. It’s no wonder I have been experiencing such little satisfaction in life and why I have been so frustrated with my calendar.

Cooking, meal planning, exercising and spending time with my friends and family are on the top of my list. These are the things that keep me happy and I haven’t been making them a top priority. It’s time to change all that. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out, but I can feel a major shift coming on.

This week I’m keeping a log of how I spend my time to see where the hours of the day go versus where I think they go. Although nothing has changed in my calendar, I now know what’s important to me and it’s already become easier to make choices on what to participate in and what to decline.

Do any of you have a life priority list? Have you found that it helps with your scheduling and planning?

%d bloggers like this: