Jelly Belly

I eat peanut butter and peanut butter sandwiches an awful lot, but I typically use fresh fruit in place of jelly when I’m cravin’ a pb & j.

Today was a different story. I wanted jelly. Real jelly!

Blueberry Jelly

Though I prefer strawberries and strawberry-flavored treats to grapes and grape-flavored goodies, I’ve always been a grape jelly kind of girl.

When our friend Ross came into town Wednesday night, he brought a jar of Polaner all fruit with fiber blueberry jelly with him. Though I think the company technically calls the jelly “spreadable fruit,” let’s be real and call it what it is. 😉

The blueberry goodness looked an awful lot like grape jelly which immediately intrigued me. Plus, I liked how the label said it was “sweetened only with fruit juice.”

Polaner Blueberry Spreadable Fruit + Fiber

After spreading one half of an Arnold sandwich thin with the blueberry spread and the other half with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter, I was ready to dig in!

Close Me Up & Eat Me You Crazy Girl!

Possibly the Greatest Combination in the World

Since a lil’ pb & j wouldn’t be enough to tide me over, I used a big spoonful of the blueberry jelly to sweeten up a cup of Chobani Greek yogurt to enjoy on the side.

Yog + Jelly

Togetha

I also enjoyed a tumbler full of free Barnie’s French vanilla coffee that I snagged from my gym this morning.

Me + Joe (Cup of Joe???)

I love  the slight hint of caramel in Barnie’s French vanilla coffee. It adds a hint of sweetness that I just adore.

Workout

This breakfast was a great way to refuel after a decent workout!

Today I took my usual Friday morning BodyPump class. We did an older release that included the song “Meet Her at the Love Parade” by DJ Aligator.  I was really feelin’ that song!  My shoulders were burnin’ while the music was blasting and I loved it!

I really do like strength training a lot more than cardio. I often find cardio monotonous and enjoy the muscle burn and the variety that comes with strength training. My former cardio queen self would be shocked by this statement! 🙂

Alright, kiddos, it’s time to work! See ya fo’ lunch!

Question of  the Morning

Strawberry jelly or grape jelly… or a different kind altogether?

For me it’s grape all the way… though I was a total freak growing up and loved mint jelly on my pb & js. 🙂

Vacation Anticipation

Good morning!:D

Let’s begin with breakfast, shall we?

I branched out from my typical Greek yogurt flavors at the grocery store this week and nabbed a cup of blueberry Chobani to use in one of my breakfasts this week.

Today was the day!

I made myself a fruity yogurt bowl with blueberry Chobani, sliced apple and a dusting of flax seeds.

Blueberry Yogurt + Apple + Flax

It was creamy, crunchy, sweet and filling. (Adjective overload! 😀 )

Close Up

Hump Day Breakfast

Vacation Anticipation

Tomorrow I am taking a half day at work so Ryan and I can beat the rush down to the Florida Keys for 4th of July weekend.

We’re meeting up with my family on Thursday night to enjoy a weekend of scuba diving and outdoor fun. I can’t wait!

The anticipation of my upcoming vacation has me feeling very antsy! It’s hard hunker down and check important things off my “to do” list when all I want to do is pack and get on the road!

Workout

Working out is such a great release for me and the gym helped me work off some of my anxious feelings this morning.

I took my typical Wednesday morning BodyPump class where I got to experience the latest release (Release 74) for the first time.

I really, really enjoyed it! I thought the lunge track was killer, but in a great way. I could feel my legs burnin’!

Post-Pump, I took Sadie on a 40 minute walk around the lake by our apartment. On our walk Sadie saw her first armadillo!

'Dillo

I’ve gotta be honest… It was nice to see one of these guys alive for once. I feel like 95 percent of the ‘dillos I see are road kill. 😦

Hope your day is off to a great start!

Question of the Day

Which do you think is worse, packing or unpacking?

I absolutely hate packing. Unpacking isn’t so bad because I just dump everything in the laundry. 😉

Pre Beer Fest Fuel

When you know you’re going to be knockin’ back beer (after beer, after beer), it’s wise to fill up with a hearty breakfast!

Breakfast of Champions

This morning Ryan and I woke up early (Why can’t we sleep past 7 a.m!?), and headed to the gym. We parted ways and I headed to the cardio room for 20 minutes of light cardio before BodyPump, while Ryan hit the weight room.

BodyPump was great, as always. I’m so glad they offer an early-morning Saturday BodyPump class. So many of my gym’s weekend classes occur during the late morning on the weekend and I like checking my workout off my to-do list first thing.

When we came home our tummies were growlin’ and I hit the kitchen to make us a hearty breakfast.

Today’s menu:

  • Eggs
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Canadian bacon
  • Chobani strawberry Greek yogurt

Strawberry Greek Yog

Eggs with Salt 'n' Peppa

Dippy eggs are one of the most satisfying breakfasts.

When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

My pre-gym fuel may or may not have been a small Funfetti cookie. 😉

I’m off to shower before getting some last-minute things in order before our BBQ and BEERFEST!

Catcha lata!

So What IS BodyPump?

If you’ve read this blog more than once you’ve likely caught on to my intense love of BodyPump. Proof: Pop on over to my Exercise Log, and you’ll see that I take a BodyPump class as often as three times a week.

I know some of you share my affinity for the ‘Pump, but I also know there are a few of you out there who feel in the dark whenever I mention BodyPump.

According to the BodyPump website, “BodyPump is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls. Great music, awesome instructors and your choice of weight inspire you to get the results you came for – and fast!

I remember when a former coworker told me about BodyPump. She assured me that it was a challenging class that worked your entire body in under an hour. Though I love group exercise, I’ll be completely honest and say I often feel like the classes are not challenging enough. This is not the case with BodyPump! (However, if you’re new to strength training, don’t be intimidated!  You can control the amount of weight you use throughout the class and adjust according to your personal strength level, adding more weight as your strength increases.)

During a BodyPump class, the instructor leads the entire class through a total-body strength training routine, with a different muscle group serving as the focus during different songs. The order of the class is always the same:

  • Warm up
  • Squats
  • Chest
  • Back/Hamstrings
  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Lunges
  • Abs
  • Cool down

To me, squats and lunges are always the most difficult!

During the class you have a bar to which you add and deduct weight, depending on which muscle group you’re working. For example, I have a lot more weight on my bar when I’m doing squats than when I’m doing triceps.

My BodyPump Set Up

You will work a certain muscle group for an entire song. No more three sets of 15 reps! During BodyPump, you will do a lot of reps of various exercises, which means your starting weight should be lighter than what you might normally do in the weight room on your own.

My BodyPump weight selection typically looks like this (including the 2.5 lb. bar):

  • Warm up: 22.5 lbs.
  • Squats: 47.5 lbs.
  • Chest: 22.5 lbs.
  • Back/Hamstrings: 42.5 lbs.
  • Triceps: 22.5 lbs.
  • Biceps: 22.5 lbs.
  • Lunges: 22. 5 lbs.
  • Abs
  • Cool down

Hi Guys!

(Side note: I feel like the biggest tool taking the above picture this morning. The things I do for the blog! 😉 )

Some BodyPump releases are harder than others, but by the end of every BodyPump class, I’m pretty sweaty and I always feel like I got a decent workout. (In case you’re in the dark, a BodyPump release is created by BodyPump and then distributed to instructors all over the world who learn it before teaching it to a class, so the releases are the same at every gym.) 

BodyPump really works for me. I love the challenge and it forces me to do moves I hate (squats, lunges) in a fun, upbeat environment. Plus, I’m much more likely to skip working out areas like my chest or back when I’m on my own, and BodyPump doesn’t let me skirt around certain muscle groups that deserve attention.

Have you ever taken a BodyPump or other strength training class? Love it? Hate it? Share!

Simple Soup and Sandwich

First of all I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for your supportive comments regarding my answers to your Ask Me Anything questions. I was really nervous to open the doors for such personal questions and I wanted to provide you guys with honest answers, even if it made me step out of my comfort zone and feel vulnerable. So, thank you for your warm and loving comments. It’s really neat to see that we all struggle with the same issues and have a shared desire to love ourselves and lead healthy, happy lives. 🙂

Lunch

Lunch today was oh-so-simple.

Grilled cheese and soup… easy peasy.

Sandwich + Soup

I enjoyed melted Gouda cheese on a whole wheat sandwich thin with a cup of French onion soup and sugar-free strawberry Jello on the side.

Friday's Lunch

Snack

My snack was cocoa-tastic!

Chocolate Yogurt Pudding

I stirred a spoonful of Jello instant chocolate pudding mix into a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and nibbled on a Attune coffee bean dark chocolate probiotic wellness bar. So delicious!

Weekend Plans

My weekend is going to be a busy one!

Friday:

  • Quickly clean the apartment since it’s being shown to potential tenants tomorrow
  • Pack for the weekend
  • Drive to Sarasota
  • Late dinner with Ryan’s family

Saturday:

  • Hang out with Ryan and his family
  • Dinner party with Ryan’s family and my family in St. Pete
  • See the musical Wicked with Ryan

Sunday:

  • Drive back to Orlando
  • Try on bridesmaid dresses with my friend (and bridesmaid!) Laurel
  • Rollerblading with Laurel

It’ll be a go-go-go kinda weekend, but a fun one!

Coffee Lover?

Click here to receive a free sample of Nescafé Taster’s Choice instant coffee.

Yogurt Lover?

Click here to receive a free sample of Yoplait Yoplus yogurt.

AMA Round Three

Ready for round three of Ask Me Anything questions!? Woop, woop!

(Click here to submit an anonymous question. Click here for Ask Me Anything round one. Click here for Ask Me Anything round two.)

What tips do you have about maintaining a healthy relationship? I admire yours & Ryan’s. What’s things do you two argue about? How do you resolve it?

Ryan is honestly the easiest person to be in a relationship with, and I really do feel so blessed to be with someone as open and loving as him. Ryan has taught me so much about love, but the biggest thing he’s taught me is the importance of communication. I am not a confrontational person by nature and will typically get quiet when I’m upset and I prefer to be alone when I’m angry. Ryan has really encouraged me to communicate with him all the time, and he’s always been very open with me. It can be so hard to bring up what’s bothering you, but the only way issues can be resolved is to talk about them. Ryan made it clear to me from day one that as his girlfriend (and now his fiancé), I was his number one priority and he is mine as well. I’ve always felt like he puts me first and I’ve tried to show him the same respect. Ryan also has three ideals of a good relationship that I think are spot-on: communication, trust and entertainment. You gotta have all three! 🙂

As for arguments, we really don’t fight often and our fights are typically over trivial things like my driving abilities (they’re stellar, by the way), or Ryan not unloading the dishwasher when he was home all day. We’ve actually even taken the time to communicate and talk about both of these little issues and even issues as silly as those have improved because of a simple conversation. Talk it out! It works!

In most of the pictures you post of yourself, your hair looks phenomenal!  How long does it take you and what do you do to it?

Thank you!!! To be totally honest, I have the thinnest hair in the world and have always considered myself hair-styling inept. I’m assuming this question refers to the times I curl my hair (since straightening is a pretty self-explanatory process 🙂 ), so I’ll address that! My friend Merri showed me how to curl my hair with a flat iron and it is awesome! If I curl my hair with a curling iron, the curls fall out in no time at all, but when I use a flat iron (I use the Chi for curling and the Sedu for straightening), the curls stay in all day long. Hallelujah! 🙂 There are a lot of instructional videos on YouTube.com that can show you how to do this. I literally propped my lap top up on the toilet seat  in my bathroom, and watched the videos while attempting to curl my hair in the mirror. I burned just about every finger on my hand, but eventually got the hang of it!

I’I notice you eat a lot of veggies, but how do you get your protein? I see you put protein powder in a lot of your snacks but I’ve heard that protein powders aren’t as good for you because your body can’t break down and optimize all the grams of protein these powders offers offer and it’s best to get it from a natural source.

I get my protein from Greek yogurt (one little cup has 15grams!), cheese (I could live off cheese), lean meats, beans, cottage cheese, eggs and protein powder. I am not a protein powder freak and I can’t stand protein shakes. I like to use my protein powder as a mix-in in my oatmeal or in baked goods… basically I like to eat it, not drink it. 🙂  I used to be crazy about protein and concentrate on getting a lot of protein at each meal… now I try to be crazier about fruits and vegetables and enjoy protein as a smaller side.

What does a typical day of eating for you look like (including snacks) on a weekday? What about on a weekend?

I love this question since I rarely post pictures of my snacks and tend to slack off on blogging on the weekend. Here’s a general outline:

Weekday: Breakfast, snack (around 11 a.m.), lunch, snack (around 3:30 p.m.), dinner, snack (around 8 p.m.). If you follow this blog, my breakfast, lunch and dinner are typically posted, but my snacks are not. For snacks I generally eat a whole wheat tortilla with cheese, Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts mixed in, protein cakes/brownies with nuts or peanut butter, apple slices with cheese or peanut butter, cottage cheese with pumpkin, cinnamon and nuts, and oatmeal with protein powder or peanut butter stirred in.

Weekend: My weekends are a lot less structured (for better or worse) mainly because I am not at home or in one place like I am during the weekdays. I generally eat larger meals and smaller snacks on the weekend, but have been known to graze my way through an entire weekend… eating constantly (this isn’t good for me though because even though I eat and eat I never truly feel satisfied). I typically enjoy one meal out on the weekends at a restaurant with Ryan or friends and I’ll order whatever pops out to me at the time. I’m also much more likely to enjoy desserts on the weekends when we’re out and about and Ryan tempts me with ice cream! 🙂

What are some of your recommendations on purchases from Netrition.com?  You’ve said you buy a lot from them.  There is SO much on the site, it’s hard to know what’s good.

I am obsessed with this Web site… they have awesome products and shipping is $5, no matter how much you order. I typically order Joseph’s lavash and tortillas, Kay’s Naturals protein cereal, Kay’s Naturals protein pretzels, Flax-Z-Snax hot cereal, PB2 powdered peanut butter, and Carba Nada pasta from this site. If you’re going to order one thing, order the Carba Nada pasta. It’s seriously unbelievable and I am addicted! I honestly like it better than most normal pasta.

I am currently recovering from hip bursitis and read that you had it too a while ago… Could you share some of your favorite hip stretches?

My all-time favorite hip stretch is this one. Pull the leg that’s not folded over (in the picture it’s the left leg) toward your body until you feel a nice stretch throughout your hip. It’s amaaaaazing! (Click here for another picture.)

I’d like to know what you majored in…I’ve followed the links you leave on your page that lead to your articles, and I noticed they’re always about healthy eating, but did you study nutrition? Or journalism?

I graduated from college with a degree in advertising and public relations and a minor in marketing. I definitely prefer the public relations aspect of my major, but found that in the first two jobs I had right out of college, the tasks I most enjoyed related to writing. I loved writing press releases, brochure and Web site content. I’ve always loved reading and writing and realized within a year or two of graduating that I wanted to make a career out of writing. As for nutrition, I did take one personal fitness/nutrition course in college and loved it. I took it my senior year and truly believe that if I’d taken it sooner my major may have changed. I still love learning (and writing!) about health and fitness and read anything and everything I can get my hands on about food, exercise and healthy living. I am a skeptical learner though and constantly ask questions about what I read and follow it up with a lot of research and supplemental reading.

What resistance and elevation settings do you use on the elliptical for steady state cardio? I am always curious and I’m not sure what other people do with the 20 available settings!

I typically do the elliptical (with arms) at a resistance level of 10 (on the ellipticals with arms at my gym you cannot change the elevation). When I do the elliptical without arms I do it at a resistance level of 10 at an incline of 9.

I have been following your blog for about a month or so and have noticed how active you are.  You seem to find time to get some exercise every day.  Do you ever have days where you just don’t want to workout but still do?  If so, how do you motivate yourself?  Would love to hear your tips for staying motivated.

Of course I have days where I don’t want to work out. For me, scheduling my workout first thing in the morning makes it a lot easier. When my alarm goes off, I can’t go back to sleep because in my head I’ll be thinking “I should be at the gym right now” since it’s such a huge part of my routine. By the time I actually feel awake in the morning, my workout is over!

When I’m really not feelin’ the gym, I have a couple of go-to workouts that motivate me. I keep print outs of a couple of cardio interval workouts in my little gym bag (click here and here for some good examples). It’s always easier to get to the gym when you have a new workout planned. Group exercise classes like BodyPump really motivate me on days I don’t feel like putting myself through a quality workout.

Also, I read somewhere that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit, so if you’re losing motivation, commit to working out regularly (still schedule a rest day or two!) for 21 days. It will likely become part of your routine!

I’m interested in these Body Pump classes you always take but don’t really know what they are. I know people always talk about doing body pump 72, 69 etc. What do these numbers mean?? how long is the class? and what do you do in the class??

BodyPump is a total-body weights class and it’s basically AWESOME. 😀 According to the BodyPump Web site, “BodyPump is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls.” The numbers you’re seeing refer to the different BodyPump releases. BodyPump is the same wherever you take it and different instructors will do different pre-choreographed releases at different times. When a new release debuts, it features new music, exercise, etc. The class is formatted the same way every time, with each exercise lasting for the duration of an entire song: Warm up, squats, chest, back/hamstrings, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs and cool down/stretch.