The End of Summer

Fall

As much as I hate to admit it, the end of summer is upon us.  I love summer.  I love the sun and the heat and the blue skies.  But, I love fall too.  And one great thing about fall is a bit of cooler weather – which will allow for some harder workouts.  Not that I’m not already working my ass off, but good grief it’s hot!!   Whether I’m working out at home, in the gym or in class I’m sweating to the point that I can’t get my gym clothes off afterwards (BTW – have you ever cleaned a litter box after a sweaty workout?  So gross.) – and this is with fans or air-conditioning straight up on me.  I have a tendency to overheat when I work out (it’s the only time in my life that I’m ever hot) so the cooler weather is helpful to cool things down – especially when I’m running or doing a crazy cardio exercise like Insanity.

With the end of summer also comes new fitness classes {as well as getting me closer to finally taking my course in becoming a Fitness Training Specialist (PTS)} – I am so excited to begin the Barre Strength class as well as get deeper into Yoga, which has become a bit of an addiction.  I mean, does anyone else crave Yoga??

Fall-yoga

And like I said, with the cooler weather, I’ll be able to do more activities outdoors – running and hiking and maybe even a pick-up tackle football game….or even just chasing my nephews while they ride their bikes.  My biggest goal for the fall is definitely to get outside and have some good runs.  I’ve been doing most of my running the last year indoors on the treadmill.   I had surgery on my eye last September and I have no-to-limited depth perception in that eye so it makes running outside a bit difficult with my judgement  – which has left me sliding into the ditch on one particular run.  Hello mortification.  Sliding into a ditch is not my biggest worry with this, however.  Over or under judging something and tripping on the concrete and knocking my teeth out or breaking my arms are more my concerns, so I’m sticking to the treadmill on an incline as much as possible.  But, my goal is to run more outside.  I just need to find a place away from concrete and people.

Although I always give exercise my all, I find that in the fall I’m more determined.  More diligent.  If that is even possible.  I’m pretty strict with my diet and regimen – although fall does bring in one special treat that I look forward to – Pumpkin Spice coffee drinks.  Maybe it’s because of that alone that I feel like I need to work even harder.  Fortunately, the closest Starbucks and Second Cup are both more than an hour away so these treats are mostly limited to at least every couple of weekends.

Starbucks

I guess I’m just looking forward to getting out there and trying to things.  I am hoping that I get to a few different classes – in addition to Zumba, Yoga and Barre – it’d be nice to try out some other classes.  I have a friend who’s a member at a different gym and they offer tons of other classes so I may have to invite myself along here and there.  And though I’m completely faithful to my fitness instructor, I would be keen on trying Yoga with a different instructor on occasion.  We’ll have to wait and see what the next few months bring and where my fitness adventures take me.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

Sleep is Your Friend

Mujer intentando dormir
Last November is when my Insomnia first began. I don’t know how it started or what caused it. But I would have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. Sometimes I’d eventually fall asleep, sleep for 15-45 minutes and then be awake the rest of the night. Some nights I’d lay awake until 4, 5 or 6 in the morning and then would have to get up before 7 to prepare for work. And some nights I just wouldn’t sleep at all. This would occur most often. And usually, it would be two or three nights with no or minimal sleep. I would be a low-functioning zombie at work, then go off to the gym or to fitness class and then home hoping to sleep but never getting there. The insomnia still occurs but it’s not as frequent. THANK GOODNESS.

This may or may not have been the beginning of a small (but very frustrating for me) weight incline. Even tho I was working my butt off, even increasing my exercise, I have gained an itsy amount of weight (but itsy is sometimes enough to make one want to bang her head off a wall – amiright or amiright??). Why? Because getting enough sleep is dire to a healthy life and weight.

Research has shown that an important factor in losing weight, and keeping it off, is adequate sleep. Your hormones are affected by sleep. The most important one is leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. The minute you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels go down. Ghrelin is the hormone that says ‘feed me.’ When you’re sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels go up. “When you consider that the average American sleeps just six hours a night- down from 7 hours a night only 10 years ago, and 9 hours a night at the turn of the century- it’s no wonder American’s are struggling with weight and obesity issues.”

Keys to a good sleep are to reduce stress and avoid overeating. A good night’s rest can help keep hormone levels stable and eliminate behaviors that follow sleep-deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause the body to create cortisol, a hormone often linked with stress (cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up the motivation to eat). Our brains may actually signal us to look for high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” after a stressful, sleep-deprived day. It’s also important to note that people who are sleep deprived usually consume more calories in the day – especially in the evening.

It’s important to make sure that the quality of your nightly sleep is deep and gives you the rest your body needs. The following may help you get a good night’s rest:

Unwind before bedtime with a warm bath or shower, yoga stretches, light reading, meditation and/or listening to quiet music.

Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your alcohol consumption to one drink at least a few hours before bedtime. (Caffeine is a 12 hour drug so be aware that if you’re consuming caffeine after noon you might be awake and alert well into the night.)

Exercise, but not right before bedtime.

Don’t take naps.

Go to bed when you’re tired, but get up at the same time every day whether you’ve had a good amount of sleep or not.

If you have trouble staying asleep at night, keep clocks where you can’t see them. This may help you avoid feeling stressed about the amount of time during which you’ve been unable to fall back asleep.

When your body feels rested and you are getting the sleep you need, your hormones will work in balance and support your overall weight loss program.

Cat Nap

Cat Nap

I wish you all a peaceful sleep.

~Fit Bitch

Call Me Maybe Squat Challenge

I found this challenge over the summer on Pinterest and the other day I offered it to my friend Krystal to complete over the weekend. Actually, I went all Inspector Gadget on her and proposed the challenge, should she choose to accept it, without her knowing what it was. She accepted it (no one self-destructed) and said she was going to do it Saturday and Sunday. (I hope she completed it.)

The challenge, which is to squat for the duration of Carly Rae Jepsom’s “Call Me Maybe”, offers different level squats so that you work tons of muscles and tone your thighs and booty. I challenge you all with this.

Have fun!

~Fit Bitch

21

My friend Kritt sent me a text the other day with the following photo and the caption “Let’s Do This!”:

21

I told her I was totally on board. This Challenge I think will be especially easy since I don’t include in my diet, ever, white bread, sodas, chips. For the most part I’m not a pastry/cake person (tho my brother’s birthday is this week so I will have to figure that one out), and I really don’t do fast food – but will have a wrap or Subway if it comes down to it. The big kicker for me is chocolate. I’m just short of a 12-Step Program. But so far, so good. Nothing from this list has entered my body since her text. It’s not such a big deal. Out of sight, out of mind.

HOWEVER (isn’t there always a “however”??), although I plan on completing this 21 Day Challenge, I’m all for having a treat on occasion. The key to good health and a healthy diet and lifestyle is moderating. Everything in moderation. If, once this Challenge is complete, I feel like having a slice of birthday cake, well, darnit, I will. I just won’t sit back and eat the whole cake (or have a slice every day). But once slice of cake won’t kill me. And one croissant won’t kill you. If you want something bad enough, have it. Enjoy it. Just don’t over do it.

Deprivation will only make you depressed and bitter and will (more than likely) be a contributing factor of failure.

Enjoy.

~Fit Bitch

Barre Strength

Barre
I am super duper excited. Next month (which, OHMIGOD, is less than 2 weeks away) my fitness instructor will begin teaching Barre Strength classes. I’ve been wanting to start these workouts for a while but no one in my area teaches them. Thank goodness for the continuing education of my instructor. 🙂

However, last week I did get to attend a Barre Strength – my first – and I loved it. It wasn’t a super high intense class but it was tough enough. I would classify it as similar to the intensity of a Yoga workout.

I am very much looking forward to starting the classes and incorporating Barre Strength into my weekly routine. I’ll let you know how it goes with my instructor.

~Fit Bitch

Meatless Wonders – BBQ Eggplant 3 Ways

This season I have become a little obsessed with my barbeque. It’s the first time I’ve owned a barbeque in a few years (I tossed my old because hornets kept building their nests in it) so I’ve been super excited to BBQ often.

Recently I tried BBQing eggplant. I hadn’t done this before but once I tasted the cooked eggplant I said “why haven’t I been eating this?” It was so good. I “marinated” the slices of eggplant with a little olive oil (both sides), pepper and herbs and spices and let it sit for about a half hour; then I threw it on the grill. I turned each slice so that both sides would be equally grilled and ohemgee. So good. It had this beautiful buttery texture that literally melted on my tongue. So delish.

grilled eggplant

grilled eggplant

And so I am on the hunt for other recipes for this meatless wonder – so I figured why not a BBQed eggplant burger using the grilled eggplant in place of a meat burger.

eggplant burger, anyone?

eggplant burger, anyone?

Then I saw these stackable eggplant sliders and I am eager to try them. No meat, no bread. Just eggplant and fixin’s.

Eggplant stackable sliders

Eggplant stackable sliders

Healthy and delicious. I’m always happy to step out of the box and try new things. So stay tuned for other meatless wonders.

~Fit Bitch

Marathon Training

dnews Marathon 10K raceEdit* Because one reader decided to post a rude comment questioning my intelligence on what a “marathon” is, I’m now taking it upon myself to articulate here that the marathon in question below is referred to as the Harvest Marathon in my community.  It is a big event that occurs on Sunday of Thanksgiving here in Canada.  This is why I referred to it as “a marathon.”  Now, that being said, I would like to point out (as I did to him) that although it may not technically be classified as a marathon, the 10k that my friend – and many others – ran in October was a very big feat for her and I’m incredibly proud of her, yet am annoyed that one such poster (who, BTW, blocked his information from the comment section) would attempt to take that away.  As I stated in my first post – Welcome! – I am not an expert.  I write about what I know and love – in addition to a full-time career and life.  I’m not looking for trolls on my site so if you have any negative comments please do not post them here.

I started running 6 or 7 years ago and fell in love with it. I ran a few times a week at first then added more days in. I had never thought of myself as a runner. I did a little track and field in school but it wasn’t until I started running for the sake of just running that I actually (finally) understood the “runner’s high.” Running is totally addictive. Sure, many people tote how bad running is for your body and yes, it may be hard on your knees and/or joints, but so is carrying around extra weight. Truth is, you risk an injury in most things you do, that’s just part of life. But running makes me happy and helps keep me fit so I’m not going to stop because of the potential dangers of it. I’ve made mistakes in the past with my runs but I now know my limits and I try not to push them.

Last week a friend asked me if I wanted to join her in her first 10k marathon. To be honest, I really don’t. Not because I’m lazy or that I don’t want to have to stop and use a port-a-potty in a crowd of hundreds of runners (okay, maybe that one a little), but because this marathon is held on Thanksgiving (in Canada) which is a pretty big family get together AND because it also happens to be my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. So, on top of already being Thanksgiving and having a hundred and one things to do that day, I’ll also being playing host/organizer/wino-trying-to-keep-it-together-when-there’s-so-much-going-on to family and friends. I don’t know if I’ll be in the mood (or state of mind) to run a 10k marathon. And since there is a fee for signing up for the marathon, this Fit Bitch isn’t committing to anything yet.)

Now, that being said, I did tell my friend that I will train with her (and I’ll make a decision on the Run later). So, she has worked out a schedule and I’ve committed to matching her training each week until the marathon. Since I’m already committed to at least 4 classes a week – in addition to my regular exercise regime – I will have to work around those classes and incorporate the training into my regular fitness program. Progress has already been made and I’m looking forward to this quest.

Has anyone ran a marathon? Have some tips? 🙂

~Fit Bitch

Pick One

Need a Reason to Exercise? Here are 50!:

50 Reasons

~Fit Bitch

H20, Baby!

water_bottles_2

Years ago I went on a road trip with some friends. We had a long drive and I have a teensy tiny bladder so I made the decision to not drink anything for most of the trip as I didn’t want to be the reason we’d have to stop every 5 miles so I could pee. We arrived to our destination late in the evening and the following day I was exhausted. Exhausted to the point that I fell asleep around dinner time and my friends were unable to wake me (screwing up our plans for that evening). I slept for about 14 hours straight which was very unusual for me. A few days later, once we’d returned home, it was discovered that I was severely dehydrated. DUH! But I was young and hadn’t thought about it at the time but looking back on that weekend I’d drank very little – next to nothing. I get dehydrated very quickly and from that trip I learned my lesson.

Other than oxygen, your body needs water more than anything else. This is especially important for people who are exercising. You need to drink water before, during and after your workout, however, If your exercise session is around 60 minutes or less, and doesn’t involve vigorous activity outdoors in hot, humid weather, you probably don’t need to interrupt your exercise session for a drink unless you prefer to. But you do need to replenish what your body loses (thru sweat, urinating, etc.).
hydrate

The goals of fluid intake during exercise are to prevent dehydration from occurring and to not drink in excess of one’s sweating rate. One good way to figure out whether you need to drink something during your workout is to simply weigh yourself (without clothes) just before and after a typical workout. If your weight change is more than 2% of your starting weight, then in the future, you should plan to drink enough water during your workout to keep your post-workout weight within that 2% range. Typically, drinking a cup (8 oz) of water every 15-20 minutes will do the trick in all but the most extreme situations.

If you’re like me and sometimes work out vigorously for two hours or more you’ll likely require something other than water to replenish your fuel supply (glycogen) that your muscle cells use during vigorous activity. Your body may need something to drink that contains carbohydrate for energy and to sustain performance. Commercial sports drinks containing 6% to 8% carbohydrate from various sugar sources are recommended for exercise events lasting longer than 1 hour. Higher carbohydrate amounts should be avoided because they impede the rate at which the drink leaves the stomach thereby slowing down the hydrating benefit. To estimate your carbohydrate need during sustained exercise, aim for about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of endurance exercise.

Drink up.

~Fit Bitch

Additional Sources:

American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine. “Nutrition and Athletic Performance.” 109 (2009): 509-527.

Ivy, J.L., Costill, D.L., Fink, W.J., Lower, R.W. “Influence of caffeine and carbohydrate feedings on endurance performance.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 43 (2011).

Sawka M.N., Burke L.M., Eichner E.R., Maughan R.J., Montain S.J., Stachenfeld N.S. Exercise and Fluid Replacement.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39 (2007): 377-390.

Wedro, Benjamin C. “Heat Exhaustion,” accessed July 2011. MedicineNet.com.