Friday, August 29, 2014

Alcohol Free August Recap

Happy Friday!

So, I'm a failure. I completely bombed Alcohol Free August...okay, not completely, but I did drink. Who didn't see that coming, right? 

That being said, I did make it 14 straight days without a drop. Then I had a fun outing planned with some girl friends on August 14th, where I was okay with having a "cheat night." I knew about this night going into my monthly goal, so I had already planned on it happening. This night was going to be one and done. Or so I thought.

Basically, after that evening, I told myself I had ruined my progress and rounded out the rest of August without a care in the world (I don't recommend this mindset). A cheat night turned into a cheat weekend, which turned into I really don't care anymore. 

I will say this...there were only 4 times the entire month where I drank more than 1 alcoholic beverage. Impressed? Small victories, people. The other few times I did have alcohol, only one drink was consumed (i.e. a work happy hour cocktail, a glass of wine with dinner, one margarita with Tex Mex, etc.). All in moderation. 

I'll be posting September's goal next week. I'm pretty excited about it. It does involve cutting back on alcohol again, but come on, it's football season...the likelihood of that happening is slim. 

And on that note: Hope everyone has a great Labor Day Weekend! Stay safe and don't drink too much ;) 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to Running

Lately, I've been trying to ease my way back into my usual running groove. After preferring to stay indoors and beat the heat during June & July by completing Insanity, I need to start logging the miles now. 

I have a few upcoming races I've already registered for, with the next one being a half marathon in Las Vegas in November. This gives me about 2 solid months to get my mileage back up. I'm not necessarily out of shape, but it will still take me a few weeks to get back to where I was earlier in the year. I have another half in January and one already set for June 2015 (in Liverpool...more on that soon)! 

Until recently, I hadn't run one mile since May. That's quite the break! But I needed it. It's always a good idea to switch things up and take breaks so you don't burn yourself out. It was also a welcome hiatus for my knee. 

I've kept track with my "daily mile" app and surprisingly, I've only run 203 miles in 2014. This time last year, I was probably close to 75% of the way through my goal and nearing the 750 mile mark. I'm thinking I'll hit close to 500 miles this year. 

August is still extremely hot here in Texas, but I've decided to just deal with it, go in the evenings, and start slow with short distances. My plan is to stick with 3-4 mile runs 3-4 times a week, where hopefully it'll help me slowly get back up to 5-6 mile runs once it eventually cools off within the next few months (with longer runs on the weekends). 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


If you're looking to mix up your cardio game and build up your leg strength at the same time, might I suggest running stairs? It's an extremely effective way to get your heart rate up while also working your leg and glute muscles. 

Yesterday, my friend Ashley and I, drove about 10 minutes from my apartment to one of the highest points in good ol' Austin, Texas. Mount Bonnell is a popular tourist destination for both locals and visitors. It's known by many as quite the romantic date-night spot and has amazing views overlooking the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River. It's about 780 feet above sea about altitude man! See, not all of Texas is flat. :) 

There are 100 stone steps up to the top and 100 (slightly scary ones) back down. Ashley and I completed 10 full reps. You can do the math. 

This is my third time going and I really enjoy it. It's good people watching and it can be completed rather quickly (20-30 minutes). Plus you get to end it with a really great view! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Recipes

One of my mini-goals this month is to try out new recipes. See, previously, when I had cable, I "didn't have time" to research recipes, buy the ingredients, and then try making them. Obviously, that was just a dumb excuse I was telling myself because I've created two new dishes so far and each one took less than 10 minutes to do. 

The first recipe I attempted is from Since it's so hot out in Texas right now, I went with her Grape Blueberry Mint Popsicles. First, I had to order some popsicle molds. If you don't have any, or are too impatient to wait for them to arrive, you can always freeze the recipe below in a ziploc storage container and eat it like a sherbet. 

Here's the recipe (credit

Grape Blueberry Mint Popsicles

Makes 6 popsicles (in my molds)

- 1 1/2 cup fresh red grapes
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 7 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk

- Blend everything in a blender until smooth
- Pour mixture into popsicle molds (or storage container) and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
- If you have trouble getting the popsicles out of the molds, run them under warm water to help loosen     them. 
- Eat up! 

These are amazing little treats after coming back from a hot run or pool day! I did the math and each one is under 25 calories and costs less than .50 cents each. 

For my second recipe, I was on a mission to find a legit replacement for pasta. I LOVE pasta, but know it's not the healthiest option out there. So I searched around and found Spaghetti Squash. I vaguely remember hearing about it before, but thought it would require too much effort and time for what it was worth. After checking out different variations and ways to make it, turns out it takes the same amount of time (or less) as cooking pasta. Below I did my own spin on a healthier version of spaghetti with meat sauce. 

Here's the recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Ground Turkey and Diced Tomatoes

Makes one serving (I got a small squash, so if you're feeding more people or want leftovers, make sure and buy a bigger one or two small ones)


- 1 Butternut Squash or Acorn Squash - whatever your store has in stock (but don't get regular yellow       squash
- 1 lb Ground Turkey (99% lean)
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes


- Wrap the squash in a damp paper towel and microwave for 5-7 minutes (maybe 10 if it's on the larger     side). If you have more time, you can cook the whole squash in the oven for 20-25 minutes on 400         degrees. 
- While the squash is in the microwave, season and brown the ground turkey until cooked. Set aside. 
- Carefully cut the squash in half (long-ways) - it'll be hot! Scoop out the seeds.
- Scrape out the inside of the squash with a fork and heat in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.     This will remove some of the extra moisture so it won't be soggy.
- Quickly heat up the diced tomatoes (microwave or stove) until warm.
- Serve like normal spaghetti and enjoy! I topped mine with a little parm. 

The squash makes the dish a bit sweeter than normal pasta, but I was still a big fan and will be recreating this often. Especially since it only has 40 calories and 8 grams of carbs, compared to 200 calories and 40 grams of carbs for regular pasta (1 cup comparisons). I also went with plain diced tomatoes and seasoned them myself. Most jars of pasta sauce have way too much unnecessary sugar added. 

I think the next recipe on my list will include a crockpot meal of some kind. I've had one for a while and it has yet to leave my cabinets. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

I wanted to change things up this morning. I get bored easily (I'm surprised I made it through 63 days of Insanity), so in order to avoid weight room redundancy, I decided to throw on my one piece from high school (genuinely shocked it still fit...that was 8 years ago, people!), grab my goggles and a towel and headed to my apartment complex pool at 6:30 this morning. Call me a rebel, but the pool technically isn't open until 8. Oh well! No one was awake anyways. Pretty killer view of downtown Austin, huh? 

I went into it unsure how my body would keep up. I haven't really swam laps for a workout since I was a lifeguard in high school. I went into thinking "10 laps...that should do it." After I finished the 10 laps, I realized it only took me about 15 minutes and I had another 30 minutes to kill. That's when I started to get a little more creative.

Below is the workout I finished this morning. It took me around 40 minutes to complete. I did take a minute or so rest in between sets. 

*Note: I forgot to add "Repeat Set 3x" on Set 3...that'll show me to not close a window before saving. So do Set 3, 3 times. 

Happy Swimming! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hop On, Hop Off Treadmill Workout

This morning I wanted to mix it up a bit in my apartment gym. I've done quite a bit with weights the past two mornings, so I felt the need to rest certain muscles today. Some cardio was in order, but I typically get a bit bored on the treadmill. I decided to incorporate a few strength training moves after every 3 minutes on the 'mill.

I took a little inspiration from Julie, over at the Peanut Butter Fingers blog, and created my own Hop On, Hop Off Treadmill workout using some of the same moves she incorporated in her 30 Minute Living Room Workout

I set up a little station (a mat and medicine ball) next to one of the two treadmills in our gym and got to work.

If you do not have access to a treadmill or there isn't enough space in your gym to have your own little area for these moves, you can always do the walk/run/walk portion outside and stop anywhere to complete the 5 sets. If people stare, just smile. 

No equipment is required for this, but I did use a 6lb medicine ball for most of the ab moves and squats. 

Here are some links to certain moves, in case you aren't familiar with a few:

This took me about 30 or so minutes to complete. 

After I was finished, I stayed on the treadmill for 10 more minutes, alternating a 1 minute 3.5mph incline walk and a 1 minute 6.0mph flat run. I left sweaty and properly satisfied my craving for a non-boring cardio morning. 

Happy almost Friday! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Workout Playlist

Happy Humpday!

I haven't posted a Workout Playlist since I started this blog in January 2013. I figure it's time to update that with some new music and share what's pumpin' me up lately!

Here's what's currently playing:

What are some of your favorite workout songs right now?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday At Home Workout

Can I just say how happy I am to be done with Insanity? It was an amazing workout and got me into great shape, but I could not wait to finish the 63 day program so that I could get back into the gym and do my own thing. 

This morning I woke up with some excitement to hit up my apartment gym (does that make me weird?)

Other than cardio machines, my complex only has 3 other weight-related machines, so I had to deal with what was provided. I was so ready to lift some iron...sometimes body weight just isn't enough. Below is the workout I completed this morning.

A few of the exercises do involve certain machines, so if your gym does not have these, you can always exchange certain moves for your favorite ones (or see the alternate options below the photo). I focused mainly on arms and core this morning, with a few leg sets thrown in...I'm going to run stairs this evening so I didn't want to wear them out too much. 

The weight amounts are what work for me, so obviously, adjust the weight to your liking. 

Here are the workouts that required a machine. Many subsitutes are available, but here are a few options (with some how-to videos):
 -Lat Pulldowns - Flat Dumbbell Chest Press
 -Seated Rows - Bent Over Barbell Rows
 -Leg Curls - Standing Leg Curls
 -Rear Delts - Flat Dumbbell Flies
 -Leg Extensions - Standing Leg Extensions

After all was said and done, this took me about 45 minutes to complete, including the 10 minute treadmill warm up and short breaks in between sets.


Friday, August 1, 2014

August's Goal: Alcohol Free August

Happy Friday!! 

I can't believe it's already August...this year has flown by. 

With that said, it's time for another monthly goal in 2014!

July's Water Challenge was successful for the most part. I kept track daily and tried to aim for 90-95 ounces each day using my handy iPhone app. It's no longer July, but I just caught myself tracking my intake today...a new habit maybe? It was a breeze during the work week, but a little tougher on the weekend...mainly because I was consuming other types of beverages instead...

Which is exactly why this month's goal could not have come at a better time. 

Alcohol Free August. 

I've attempted this many times before and was only 100% successful one time in college (it was a February...the shortest month of the year...go figure). 

If it weren't for alcohol, I would have a six-pack. Seriously. Insanity has kicked my butt and all of my other muscles groups (arms, legs, butt, back, etc.) are toned and strong. The stomach, eh, it could be better. And I blame YOU, alcohol. 

I know it's going to be tough. Weekly happy hours, girls nights, wine with my parents, pool day refreshments - they will all have to be on hold for 30 days. I'm hopeful my friends will understand (and possibly join me). Let's just say I'm prepping myself and my liver for football season :) 

So there you have it - no strict diet goal, no detailed workout plan. Just abstaining from certain drinks. How hard can it be?

On a side note, I have a few other mini goals this month:

- I put my cable on hold for the month. I decided I've been wasting too much of my life watching other people's lives on TV. I need to get out there and start living mine. 

- With all the free time I'll have from no TV or going out drinking, I'm aiming to cook one new recipe a week. I always cook the same things every week and I'm getting tired of it. I never "had time" (AKA my favorite TV shows were on) to research new recipes, go to the store to buy those items, and cook them. If it takes longer to make it than to eat it, I typically won't do it. That will change this month. 

- Mix up the workouts. After 60+ days of Insanity, I'm SOOOOOO bored and ready to have freedom in my workout routines. As much as I enjoy having a plan, it's also great to not have one at times. I'm ready to start running again and hopefully hit up my gym to lift weights and get buff. With all this extra free time, I'm hoping to attend a few group classes each know, to be social and all.  

I still have 2 days of Insanity left (it's a 63 day program), so I'll be posting my review and results next week. 

Have a great weekend!