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New Year…New Planner

One of my favorite parts of starting a new year is reorganizing and setting a plan.

I started a little late this year and I’m kicking myself a little bit because I feel slightly behind because I haven’t quite found a system that works for me. I did find a planner that I absolutely love; I bought the ‘create365 The Happy Planner’ from my local Hobby Lobby.image1-1

I like it because it is completely customizable. I’ve had a planner every year for as long as I remember but what usually happens is I end up not really utilizing it because I lose interest mainly due to it not really fitting my needs. Or I end up with 2-3 planners/journals and then get overwhelmed by it all.

After purchasing this planner I went on youtube, instagram, and google searched The Happy Planner and came across hundreds, maybe even thousands of ways people organize and decorate this planner. While majority are beautifully decorated I just can’t find myself to sit down each week and do that. Kind of seems like a waste of time to me personally. Most of the layouts and organization people use follows along with how it is originally set up, particularly the fitness extension kit (I’ll elaborate more on this down below). I still haven’t figured out completely how I want to organize this planner but I’m narrowing down with a little trial and error. I know I  want to track three main things:

1) Important events/appointments for the family

My husband has a busy schedule so knowing his weekly/monthly calendar is essential. Also with a baby making an arrival sometime early April I know I will have dr appointments and milestones/developmental events that I will want to keep track of.

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Here is the monthly view-I have always used this as a month at a glance and to help organize each week

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Here is the weekly view. It is broken down into three categories Morning/Afternoon/Evening. Since I don’t work at the present time or really plan this way I plan to use the top box for that day’s appointments for the family, the middle box will be for my To Do list that I need to get done and the bottom box as of right now is more for notes/goals I’d like to complete or accomplish for the day

2) Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping Lists

One thing I have started that I really have found helpful is planning ahead dinners and having 2-3 options available for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Not only does this save time but also less stressful. I would also argue it saves money because I go grocery shopping about once a week or so and just get what I need. I have been using this planner to help create lists and plan the upcoming weeks dinners. I like that I can add a pocket folder to this planner to hold the coupons/gift cards/etc. I plan to use for that particular shopping trip.

3) Health and Fitness Tracking

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This is the extension pack I purchased to snap into the planner so that I can use one planner for everything. It comes in 4 month packs and includes all the labels and stickers needed to set up the months (This is for February that I haven’t set up yet).

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Here is the weekly view of the fitness pages. This is the page I struggle with finding a way to utilize in a way that makes sense to me.

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I really like at the end of each month there is a reflection page that allows you to review the past month and help plan for the next. I will not add pictures to this planner like the top suggest because I don’t want the planner to get so bulky but I will use this for measurements and additional information like my workout split, etc.

This is probably the part that is taking the longest to organize because this fitness extension kit that this planner offers allows for tracking daily food intake/exercise/and water intake. While I know many like to use the food tracker I just can’t seem to do that or find a benefit for it. I have used myfitnesspal for maybe a year or so and I find that this works best for me. Tracking on the app and the planner just seems excessive and I know I won’t keep it up long term.

I don’t know what to use the space dedicated to food intake in the planner for just yet. I have considered tracking my macros so I can see in a weekly snapshot what I’m consuming and what I’m doing well/poor with. I’ve thought about using it for more of a journal/reflection area to write how I feel on a daily basis.

I know I want to jot down my weekly goals regarding my physical, emotional, and mental health. I feel what would work best is using this fitness pages more of a reflection and give me a chance to see how each week went at the end of the week and try to improve in the weeks ahead. Finding a way to organize that is just going to take some practice with things. Unfortunately, with most things I don’t really have much patience. I just want to find a method that works and then settle into a system that I can maintain and utilize effectively.

As I figure out how I want to organize this planner I’m excited to get things going and feel organized because that is when I feel I am most productive. While some of the sections I won’t utilize as much now (as I’m not trying to lose weight because I’m pregnant I know later on this year I will definitely utilize!

To everyone else out there who likes to plan…. Happy Planning!

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Leg day: A love/hate relationship

I think I have always been slightly different than the majority of people. I’ve felt this way for most of my teenage and adult years. I say that because if you look at or talk to females in the gym or fitness industry I would feel confident that their favorite day is leg day. I on the other hand loathe leg day. I get it … We all want the JLo booty and look great in pants. I want those things too I just don’t enjoy the workouts. I don’t enjoy the day after. Or the day after that! Don’t get me wrong I never skip a leg day and I lift heavy on leg days; so I put in the necessary work. Just… Well… Ugh it’s the necessary evil.

Over the past several months I am seeing some major improvement in my leg muscles. My calves are very defined. My quads are growing and becoming more defined as well. These two areas tend to develop and grow the fastest on my body so I tend to focus on my hamstrings and glutes on leg days.

Tonight was leg day and it was a really good burn in my glutes. Here is the workout I complete:
Wide stance squat 3-12 100#
Leg press 6-6 460#
Hip thrusts 3-12 135#
Leg extension 3-12 60#
Lying leg curl 3-12 85#
Cable glute kickbacks 3-12 20#
Standing calf raises 3-12 90#
Calf extensions 3-12 100#

I basically went exercise to exercise with little rest(time to set up next exercise). I took about 30-45 seconds between sets. I felt the burn in my glutes half way through and I’m sure tomorrow sitting and standing up will be difficult; but no pain no gain right?!?!?

Overall, I’m really proud of my progress thus far. As of last Monday I’ve lost 44 lbs and over 16″ (chest,waist,hips) since November 2014. I have done everything on my own so progress may be slow and I may have a few hiccups but I view this as a journey I will be on forever. This is a new lifestyle for me and I’m simply loving it. I have done a lot of research and reading about health and fitness related topics. I also really enjoy researching information on nutrition..a good, healthy diet is now more important than ever since becoming a mother. I want her to grow up with good quality food. She doesn’t know what cookies, juice, soda, chips, basically anything that’s junk. I’m proud of that! She’s 17 months old, she doesn’t need that crap.

my workout split right now looks similar to:

chest/triceps

back/biceps

legs

shouder/abs

It is getting colder out and it’s been too chilly in the morning to run with my daughter in the stroller. So in order to keep my body guessing I am switching up my cardio and adding some HIIT circuits into my workouts. I’m going to keep these to 15 minutes or so for now as I am fairly ne to this style of training. Updates to come regarding HIIT progress. So stay tuned!

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Girls Bench Too

Have you checked out instagram or youtube to search for anything fitness related? Whether for ideas on future workouts or maybe to find some extra motivation one day. Well if you have one thing becomes very clear… Females post about doing leg workouts; specifically glute workouts CONSTANTLY! I get it, everyone wants a JLO booty and some ‘junk in the trunk’. I work my legs as well but it is definitely not my favorite thing to do… it’s more like the necessary evil since I enjoy running. I wish I saw more females showing their chest workout or working on biceps. I personally love doing bicep curls and bench presses. I follow a lot of male fitness pages because that’s where I find a lot of good workout material.

Back day is still by far my favorite and after every back workout I leave the gym feeling like a badass. Chest day isn’t far behind that though. I will admit for the first 5-6 months of working at the gym I avoided bench press; and for a couple of reasons. 1. I didn’t think I was ready for them. I go to the gym on my own so I don’t have a spotter and didn’t want to get caught in a position where I couldn’t lift the weight back up. 2. I was intimidated because everyone in the free weight area were men. And they were fit men for the most part. Fortunately after a while I just sucked it up and did it (ok, the gym was pretty empty so I knew no one would be watching me). From the first set I was hooked. I used to do a lot of the machines for chest or I would do cable crossovers…basically anything except bench. I also didn’t work my chest regularly because it’s not like it would make my breast smaller (which would be awesome). I began to research how chest exercises could benefit women and I found a lot of great material. So I decided to start incorporating a more regular chest day.

I now work chest/triceps/shoulders twice a week [currently I’m on a 3 day split that I repeat twice:

Day 1: legs (I do typically focus on my weakest part; hamstrings/Abs

Day 2: chest/triceps/shoulders

Day 3: back/bicep

Day 4: legs/abs

Day 5: chest/triceps/shoulders

Day 6: back/biceps

Day 7: REST day from gym

I go to the gym after my daughter goes to bed so I’m usually there from 8pm-9:30pm (I take advantage of my ‘me’ time)

I also run 3-4 days a week; usually 2-4 miles a day. I did run 6.5 miles today which is a huge victory as that is the farthest I’ve run EVER! YAY! For anyone that things running pushing a stroller makes it easier; let me tell you it doesn’t, especially uphill.

Anyhow, I am currently able to do 3-4 singles at 115# on flat bench and 3-4 singles at 100# on incline bench. I also love doing dumbbell bench and incline bench which I’m up to 40# dumbbells. It may sound kinda nerdy but I get a kick out of the fact that I go to pick up dumbbells from the second row of dumbbells. It also helps when people give you thumbs up or compliments your form and progress. My bench goal right now is 135#! I want a 45# plate on each side of that bar. I’ll get there in due time.

I’m not by any means the only girl in the free weights area there are a few of us and I hope to see more venture in that area. I’m sure by now you’ve seen or read the quote; “strive for progress, not perfection!” It is one of my favorite quotes because it’s so true in any aspect. Every time I enter the gym I am looking for progress from my last workout. One more rep, one more set, more weight. If someone reads this who is just starting out don’t worry if you are intimidated about a particular exercise, part of the gym, or anything. Just keep doing what you are doing and each time do one new thing to get you closer to whatever you’re nervous about. In my case, I did dumbbell bench/incline bench. These were in the free weights area so I was getting accustomed to the environment. I’d watch those with good form and take pointers. Slowly but surely you’ll get to where you want to be. Remember, every experienced or muscular person in the gym used to be just like you; new, nervous, unsure. Just do you! If someone reads this who is a veteran in the gym use this as a reminder to be less judgmental of ‘newbies’, offer to spot them, encourage them, or just ignore them and let them do their thing. I truly wish people would empower each other more instead of finding something to poke at. I could go on and on about that but I’ll move on.

I hope to see more females lifting heavy weights and to break out of the norm that all you should only do is squats, stair master, or plyo circuits. There are no boy exercises or girl exercises… working out is truly an equal opportunity environment. The weights won’t judge you for being male, female, new, or veteran… they just want to be lifted up and put back down.

my tip: Lift Heavy & Lift Often! :):)

Happy Lifting!

I’ve added a couple pics from my instagram account @tnm_514 of some of my chest workouts. 11247852_1492069081103100_1581588425_n 11349415_396298803914217_441241565_n 11850228_123339781348034_1491797210_n

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NEW GADGET!!!

I’ve been really working on my health and fitness for some time now and I felt that it was time to step up my game when it came to tracking what I’m doing.

I’m very much still for paper/pencil tracking and I will continue to do this probably forever but I am officially in love with my new Fitbit watch. I got the Fitbit charge HR and I couldn’t be more happy with it. After reading reviews I was a little unsure about it but I haven’t noticed any inconsistencies with what I was using before; which was my Polar F4T watch. The best part about the Fitbit is that there is NO chest strap. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I would forget the strap or the watch… or starting the watch when I was working out. With the Fitbit it does it for me! I also love that the app allows me to customize different aspects and monitor things throughout the day.

It really has motivated me to keep moving throughout the day because I want to hit my goals. If you know me at all by now I like checklists and goals; crossing something off my list or meeting a goal gives me such a high! (yes I know I’m strange).

The first time I used it to work out I wore my polar chest strap as well to see how close it was with heartrate and calories burned. After my run I noticed that the difference was less than 5 beats and within 20 calories. That to me is perfectly fine; because there is never going to be a completely accurate device. I love that I can track my water because I am HORRIBLE at drinking enough water. All I drink is water (and coffee… which let’s face it is flavored water) but I just never drink enough. I love that I can connect it to myfitnesspal and it will transfer how many calories I’ve had so I can compare with my daily progress how I’m doing! I just overall love it!

If you are in the market for one I highly recommend the Fitbit Charge HR. image1 (1) image3 (10) image4

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Row row row… Your Dumbbells!!! My favorite back exercises

I have mentioned in previous posts how I am really getting into a new lifestyle of health and fitness. I love seeing all the changes both mentally and physically!

I research related topics constantly by reading articles, watching YouTube channels, etc. I am not an expert in these areas. I am interested in possibly pursuing a personal training cert. in the future as I am really finding this as a passion of mine.

I’d like to share some of my favorite exercises per body part. **disclaimer: everything and anything I post regarding health and fitness is what I’m currently doing and is not intended to show/tell what anyone else should do.

For my first post in this series is like to start with my favorite day: BACK and BICEPS!

My favorite back exercises include (I do 3-5 exercises for 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps):

  • Wide grip pull ups
  • Pull down (PR 100#)
  • Seated cable row (PR42.5#)
  • Bent over barbell row (PR40#)
  • One arm dumbbell row (PR30#)
  • Straight arm pull down (PR40#)
  • Reverse grip pull down(PR70#)
  • Hyperextentions
  • Deadlifts (PR195#)

My favorite bicep exercises include (I will do all five exercises 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps):

  • Bicep curl (dumbbell and/or barbell) (20#)
  • Hammer curls (25#)
  • Incline bicep curls (20#)
  • Preacher curls (35#)

I don’t do anything special for biceps l. I will occasionally do curls with heavy cable to have tension throughout exercise.

Back/bicep day is the first day in my 4 day split. Building my back and getting my biceps to grow seems to be a hard part for me but I always walk out of the gym feeling AMAZING after this workout. And let’s face it isn’t that all that matters!!!

Today I completed 26 minutes of interval running and did strength training for over an hour; according to my polar heart rate monitor (which I absolutely love) I burned over 1000 calories today!!

  
If you want to keep up with my fitness journey feel free to find me on Instagram: tnm_514

Train hard!!!

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believing hard work will pay off-May 2015 update

So I have been working on getting healthier… losing weight for about 6 months now; and seriously for about 2. I am trying to do things a little differently in order to hold myself accountable.

1. I’ve been using instagram as a tool to follow fitness pages and individuals which has really helped keep me motivated on days that are a little hectic, tiring, etc. I’ve also been posting on there my workouts that I’ve been doing. I’ve received a lot of feedback in terms of likes to my posts so that is also motivating.  If you are on instagram feel free to follow me @tnm_514

2. I’m also using myfitnesspal to track what I’ve been eating (my account is set to private as I don’t use it to follow or connect with anyone… it’s just for me). I’ve been following a more flexible dieting approach and using IIFYM. I love the research behind it and the fact that I’m not limited to certain foods or restricted from others. I am eating healthier options but it’s important to still track the amount. I won’t go into my macros specifically but I determined my macros by doing a lot of research and through trial and error. I’m not an expert in the area and I’ll never claim to be but I am feeling some results.

3. I am also starting to take progress photos in addition to taking measurements. This is something I’ve never done before when trying to make changes because honestly I’ve always found it more discouraging than helpful. But this time around I do want to see when I start seeing changes in my photos. Especially now having my daughter I want to feel comfortable in photographs with her so maybe if I get used to seeing myself in photos I will feel more comfortable taking some with her.

4. Lastly, I’m gonna start incorporating more of this aspect of my life in my blog. I hope it is helpful to me to get some of my thoughts, accomplishments, set backs and frustrations out and work things out through my writing.

On Thursday morning I weighed myself and I was down 1.6 lbs in about 9 days. I was ecstatic about that movement; mainly because I had been hitting my macros and really working out with some good sessions. I decided to take my measurements that day as well since I was on a high from losing over a lb. Unfortunately, didn’t see a whole lot of movement in the measurements. One thing about me is that I’m very results oriented. I have to see some kind of result in order to stay motivated; so I’m glad I saw the change in my weight, but I would have liked to see in my measurements as well. You know have my cake and eat it too (probably not a good analogy when talking about weight loss, because now I’m craving something sweet).

I am starting to notice my clothes are feeling different on me so I’m very happy about that. Overall, from April to May I feel stronger. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day so I’m believe in the process and hoping that in the upcoming months (especially with summer around the corner) I start seeing the results as well as feeling them.

My workouts are getting more intense and I’ll add some of my favorites some time in case there is anyone reading this who is in a similar situation. I’m very tradition when I work out. I like running or doing some sprint HIIT for my cardio and I like lifting weights. I’m not a big fan of doing a lot of plyometrics, mainly because I’m not comfortable doing them right now. I incorporate some from time to time and I don’t despise them anymore so maybe one day my preferences will change. I’m working on a 4 day split for weight training (day1: legs; day2: back/bi day3: shoulders/abs day4: chest/tri) there are times on days 1,2,4 that I will also train some abs as well. I’m also consistently doing cardio 3x’s a week. I’m so glad that it is nice outside because my daughter and I can go running in the morning and then I can go to the gym after she goes to bed at night. It’s been working out well for the last couple weeks. Key now is to stick with it.

My gym time is the most challenging because I have to work it around my husbands schedule and his schedule hasn’t been the same in over 2 years. So I just have to plan to go and then make up for it later if I can’t make it that night. I’m getting better about doing at home workouts if I can’t make it to the gym.

I’m hoping that for my June update that I see at least 2-3 lbs gone and 1-2 inches from my chest, waist, and hips.

I’m really big on reading quotes and if you google workout quotes there is a plethora of motivation quotes. These two stand out to me right now!

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If you decide to stay up to date on my progress then I look forward to updating everyone on 31 days! Train hard!

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Blood, Sweat, and Tears!!!

I have been MIA for a while posting anything. No other excuse but that I have just been lazy with it.

On a positive note I have been exercising (cardio/weight training) a minimum of 3 days a week; and I’ll probably start to do 4-5 days soon. I absolutely love going to the gym and I wish I would have started a healthier lifestyle YEARS ago but I’m doing it now and that is all that counts.

It’s definitely hard with a baby and a husband that works essentially round the clock. I have to fit it in when I can. I wish I could go back to working out first thing in the morning but I just can’t seem to get out of bed a 430-5am. My daughter also wakes up by 6am most mornings and I don’t want to make my husband late to work. Therefore, I’m only left to work out around 8pm.

I have done a lot of research on weight training/HIIT/macro counting throughout the last year. Before having my daughter I was working out 6-7 days a week and using a supplement stack full of goodies. I was able to drop about 20-25lbs in about 6 months. That may have actually led to me getting pregnant because I felt so much better about myself and I was WAY less stressed. haha!

My supplements included Whey Protein, a fat burner, a pre workout supplement, BCAAs, among other vitamins. I would love to start that all back up but it’s certainly not cheap; 5 lbs of Whey protein is like $50 on the cheaper range (for good quality) and that is about 60 servings. I can definitely tell a difference because recovery from workout to workout was less noticeable when I was taking the right supplements. Pre workouts were probably my favorite supplement because it really took my weight training to the next level. I’m nervous now to take them because I work out at night instead of the morning and I don’t want to be up all night waiting for it to wear off. I may try it to see how I feel.

I’m pretty happy with my progress so far as I am down 12 lbs since November. It could definitely be better but I’m trying to stay positive and improve gradually so it is more of a lifestyle change than a brief thing.

Instagram is like my new addiction because I basically use it to follow fitness people and they provide great ideas for exercises and recipes. I have also become addicted to youtube and the vloggers who are fitness related. It’s a great tool to help me stay accountable to my own goals. I found if I surround myself with things that are geared towards nutrition or fitness I am more inclined to be healthier and more active! I may try to find some bloggers that also geared towards fitness. I love learning and researching this topic.

If you know of anyone please share with me so I can check them out!