Whole 30 Week 4 and Workouts

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A few nights ago I dreamt of a cupcake. I was holding it, looking it up and down, assessing every inch of its deliciousness. It was not your conventional store bought cupcake, oh no. It was a perfectly baked, moist, treat. The flavor was simple, a vanilla cake with what I can only imagine to be cream cheese frosting. My eyes devoured it while my mind started to express the guilt I would feel for eating it, for breaking the Whole 30 rules. I took that first bite and the sugary goodness melted over me like being hit with a ray of sunshine on a summer day. Then I woke up.

A couple of nights later it happened again. This time not with a cupcake, but with alcohol. Whiskey to be precise. A beautiful cocktail in a stemmed glass. I swirled the liquid around, bringing my nose right to the top and smelling all it had to offer. The moral and mental battle raged on again before ultimately the first sip was taken. The warm liquid moved down through my body warming me up from the inside out. I felt calm, relaxed, and happy. Then I woke up.

Now I am not one to dream about food, especially foods I almost never partake in. Maybe once or twice a year I indulge in a cupcake or a whiskey cocktail, but neither are high on my can’t live without list. Which made it that much more interesting to see these treats pop up into my sub concise. My best guess for interpretation is after 28 days of nothing but pure obedience to the rules, my mind feels it is either tired of being so strict or maybe it feels it deserves a reward. Either way I am on the home stretch with 28 days complete and 3 more to go. Right now I am still debating if I want to continue on after the 31 days or start the re-introduction of foods instead. Most likely I will just keep going until something so amazing and tempting comes across my plate I can’t say no.

This week I had the pleasure of actually going to see Melissa Hartwig, the founder of the Whole 30 speak at a book signing. It couldn’t have been better timing since starting the program I have become slightly infatuated with her. It was on Thursday night up in Marin County, a pretty short 25 minute drive from my house over the Golden Gate Bridge. Ideally I would have had a partner in crime to go with me, but it wasn’t in the cards so a solo adventure it became.

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One of my favorite pastimes is seeing authors speak. I love to hear them describe their work, their passion. Hearing them describe how they came about the eloquent words they spent hours typing. I love the questions the audience asks and seeing how quickly they are able to gather their thoughts to respond back. (Which from personal experience is a pretty nerve racking endeavor.) I ended up being more then pleasantly surprised with Melissa, I was flat out impressed. She was fluid with her thoughts, personable with a happy demeanor, smart, candid, and relatable. After almost an hour of talking and Q&A I waited inline for longer then I should have to get my book signed by her and the other author at the event, Danielle Walker from Against the Grain. What ended up being my huge disappointment of the evening? Asking the stranger behind me to take a photo of us. Is it that hard to get someones whole head in a shot? It was a smart phone, not a complex point and shoot. Oh well, if that was my biggest annoyance of the week it was a good week.

Here is to the last 3 days, hopefully the food dreams will start to calm down. Its making it hard to stay on track!

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 60 minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method, 30 minute strength training at gym

Wednesday: 65 minute Spinning Class at Body Rok, 20 minutes of  strength training at gym. Technically class was only 45 minutes but I stayed on the bike a bit longer

Thursday: 60 minute Burn Class (mix of weights, cardio, and pilates board)

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok. I was looking forward to this class all week! Not only was it taught by my favorite instructor in SF, but it was also an 80’s themed ride!

Saturday: 46 minute 7.10 mile run

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Whole 30 Week 3 and Workouts

 

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Wow, I cant believe I am 21 days into my Whole 30. This week was pretty much on cruise control, thank god! Since I was home from traveling I was able to cook  and prep most of my meals, which makes a huge difference. Typically I like to do most of my meal prep for the week on Sundays. It is a life saver to make a big dish so I have something to eat for lunch throughout the week. This past weekend I ended up having lots of time with friends, so my Sunday routine was thrown off. This meant I had to do more cooking at home after work when all I wanted to do was sit and un wind. My other saving grace this week was Whole Foods Hot Bar. It has saved me when I didn’t get my usual veggies roasted and I needed to grab some quick to add to a salad. My only complaint with Whole Foods is they use a lot of Canola Oil in their food, which technically is complaint in the Whole 30, but not encouraged. Oh well, a girl has to make sacrifices and for me that was it.

So what should I be feeling 21 days in? In reading the Whole 30 guidelines by this time I should be in the stage they call Tiger Blood. What is Tiger Blood you ask? Well according to their website it was a phrase they took from the actor Charlie Sheen (which who knows what he was using it for) and then attached their own definition to it. Essentially Tiger Blood is the part of the program where you are passed the biggest hurdles, i.e. the cravings and “hangover” part. From the website, “Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.”

For myself it is not this dramatic transformation I anticipated. However there are definitely some noticeable differences. I would say if you are not looking for them, it could be easy to miss. Let’s start with the more noticeable ones. First my carvings for non Whole 30 Foods is pretty low or non-existent. I dont have any urge right now for anything processed, sugary, bread/grain like, or even alcohol. Which if you know me a glass of wine, bread, and cheese plate are my 3 essentials if I would be trapped on a desert island.  I was also really nervous about not drinking for a month due to the social impact. Instead I have been trying to spend more time with friends outside of happy hour. This has lead to many a coffee, breakfast, or workout class dates. It is a friendly reminder are friends love us regardless of what we put in our mouths.

Next and probably the most impactful is I am sleeping sooooooooo much more soundly. If you can relate, there is nothing worse then waking up all throughout the night. You wake up feeling almost as bad as if you had gone to bed at 2:00am. So to be able to get a full nights sleep night after night is incredible. Just to be fair though, we also did just buy a new King Bed around the same time this started, so that may have something to do with it as well.

My pants are fitting better. This was something I noticed after the first round I did of Whole 30 back in December and was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to continue the program. After years of practically starving myself I just can’t ever go back to that place. So it is nice to feel like I am not depriving myself of any food and I am still able to see an impact. I have also had some other things I started around December 1st that could be attributing, but regardless of what it is I will take it.  I am not sure what this equates to weight wise as we are not allowed to weigh ourselves on the program, which is fine by me as I broke up with my scale over a year and a half ago and have never looked back!

Lastly and the least noticeable is my energy. I wear a fit bit everyday and track my steps. Since starting the Whole 30 I have noticed without even trying I have added an extra 2-4k steps a day. This is huge if you really think about it as it is an extra 1-2 miles a day. Without trying my body has just wanted to move more. I have also found I have energy to do more “life” stuff like go through my closet, pay bills, cook, get together with friends, etc.  If I had not been paying really close attention to this one I may have completely over looked it.

To summarize, I may not be Tiger Blood yet, but I am seeing the Eye of the Tiger for sure.  One week left to go, although I am not going to lie, I might just keep this party going as long as I can. It feels good to feel good, you know?

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at the Bar Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 50 minute Barre Class at Mint Studio, 26 minute 4.15 mile run

Wednesday: 50 minute Spinning Class at Core 40

Thursday: 60 minute training session with personal trainer. Lots of legs and arms! Could hardly walk the next day

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 33 minute 5.15 mile run, 60 minute Barre Class at Pop Physique

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 7/20/14

Technology addiction- how should it be treated?– A topic that is near and dear to most of us. I for one have a hard time going extended periods of time without checking my phone. We have become so intertwined with technology in our day to day lives. “The symptoms and nature of this perceived addiction vary from case to case but hinge around a perceived excessive engagement with a user’s smartphone, the Internet or social networking sites that comes at the expense of their mental well-being. Persistent checking of instant messaging apps and frequent changing of status updates – as well as the notorious uploading of “selfies” – are linked in addiction cases to insomnia, depression and social withdrawal.”  

Break 3 Rules, Build More Muscle– This article has a lot of great content on how to build muscle and where to focus. It is a little long but the top three things are; “Partial or incomplete reps can be very effective,” “Learning to feel a muscle makes it easier to stimulate and grow,” and lastly “Use a large arsenal.”  

Let’s Cool it in the Bedroom– I for one sleep so much better in a cold room, but this is really interesting and another reason to keep it cool in the bedroom. “Cooler bedrooms could subtly transform a person’s stores of brown fat — what has lately come to be thought of as “good fat” — and consequently alter energy expenditure and metabolic health, even into daylight hours”

Xylitol 101- Everything You Need to Know– There was a time in my weight loss journey where I drank a ton of diet soda and used artificial sweeteners in order to save calories. Xylitol is a more natural added sugar with lower calories, but is it healthy for you? Here is a good article that breaks it down for you. “Bottom Line: Xylitol is a type of sweetener called a sugar alcohol and is found in some plants. It looks and tastes like sugar, but has 40% fewer calories.”

It’s Time to Finally Convince Your Clients That the Scale Doesn’t Matter– For me the number on the scale is always fluctuating, which can really make or break my day. I really let it affect my mood and because of that I thought it would be good to this share article on how our weight is really determined. Every time the scale is not where I want it to be I think through a lot of these points. This is one of the best articles I have seen on the subject, hope you enjoy! 

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 5/17/14

How does Facebook affect our sense of belonging? With the mass use of social networking sites I thought this article would be applicable and interesting to most of us. The various studies show different conclusions, but in the latest  study they summarize “Findings suggest that it is communication, rather than simple use, that is key in producing a sense of belonging. When sharing or feedback is restricted, belonging suffers.”

Does Skinny Equal Healthy?  We always think about being overweight or obese as un-healthy, but this article brings up some good questions on if being too skinny is just as un-healthy. “It turns out that while it’s generally healthier to be slimmer than fatter, skinniness doesn’t guarantee health. There are caveats (tons) and exceptions to the rule (that isn’t really even a rule). Skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. There is such a thing as “too skinny” – for everyone”

Outdoor Exercise is more Beneficial than Indoor for Children: Study Some of my favorite childhood memories came from playing tag and capture the flag outside with the other neighborhood kids. It is interesting to see a correlation to playing outside and increased activity with children. It just makes sense. “Findings showed that children who spent more time outdoors were more likely to be physically active when compared to those who spent more time outdoors.”

Life expectancy up worldwide; Japanese women live longest Looking at the top 10 countries for life expectancy for both women and men  most are located either in Europe or Asia. Makes me wonder what can we incorporate in our daily lives from these cultures to help out with our health?

 Trendy workouts rejuvenate old fitness routines–  In an age where people are short on time and money they are going back to the core basics of working out. This article highlights the re-emerging popularity of fitness tools and exercises like jump ropes, kettlebells, dumbbells, group step fitness classes, and basic running. When you know something works why not stick with it.

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 5/11/14

Happy Sunday everyone! Below is this weeks article roundup, enjoy!

‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal? – This article touches on the popular subject right now of childhood obesity. I for one am very passionate about this subject and definitely want to see the documentary. You can tell from the movie trailer though that this documentary has a very strong point of view. Some of the scary facts I took away were in two decades 95% of the American population will be either overweight or obese and by 2050 one third of the population will have diabetes.  Something to think about…..

Could a Few Beers a Week Cut a Woman’s RA Risk– If only alcohol was the cure for everything! However like anything else that seems to good to be true, the article states this is merely a correlation with alcohol consumption and arthritis reduction, but can not be relied on for cause and effect.  “Long-term moderate alcohol drinking appeared to reduce the risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis, Lu said. But drinking a few beers per week seemed to have the best effect, providing a 31 percent reduction in risk.”

Life With a Dog: You Meet People– For all of us who are pet owners it is nice to read the various benefits of being a dog owner. This article is more or less a feel good piece with some health and medical finding’s added in. “Studies of the health ramifications have strongly suggested that pets, particularly dogs, can foster cardiovascular health, resistance to stress, social connectivity and enhanced longevity.”

Too much protein in middle age ‘as bad as smoking’– If you are anything like me then you grew up being told to make sure and eat enough protein. I for one have never been a huge meat eater, so I have to work to balance my protein intake through other foods like beans, lentils, greek yogurt, eggs, and tofu.  This article challenges the idea of how much protein we really need to consume in our diet and shows research on how eating it in excess can actually be bad for you.

Why Does Your Willpower Wane? And 7 Tips to Pump Up Your Willpower Muscle– Willpower is an interesting concept and the study has some great findings. Regardless on the verdict I think the 7 tips are really worthwhile to look at. “Does willpower get used up if you push it too much, or is it all in your mind? According to the American Psychological Association, there is a robust body of evidence to support that willpower may in fact be a limited resource.

 

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Photo from Huffpost

 

Saturday Morning Farmers Market- When Pictures Are Better Than Words

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Happy Saturday everyone! After having two back to back weeks of work travel and then a week with commitments almost everyday after work I decided I  needed a “me” morning to myself.  Now if you have never done a “me” morning before let me just say first you need to. “Me” mornings are those mornings where everything is focused on what you want to do. No obligations, no watch, nothing has to get done, just time to enjoy the simple things in life that make you happy. These mornings can be the most therapeutic for me personally and are a great way to re-charge your life battery.

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For me that meant starting my day by sleeping in with no alarm clock. I woke up to the sun creeping in through the curtains, feeling the slight coolness from the slow morning breeze, all while being tucked under the warmth of my comforter.  Leisurely I got up and slowly started my day. Once I made it from my sleeping cocoon I took the dog for a walk and then proceeded to go on a run. My initial thought was to just do 5 miles, but today I had the running gods with me and it just felt easy. With no commitments or obligations I decided to just keep going until my body decided it was done. That ended up being a little over an hour (66 minutes to be exact) and 10.10 miles.

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After my run a shower and getting ready was in order. After an intense exercise nothing is as calming and rejuvenating as a long hot shower. There is also something so nice to not have to worry about being ready by a certain time and just being able to enjoy the moment. Part of my “me” day also consisted of wearing my weekend clothes. You know that ratty old t-shirt and torn up comfy jeans that are perhaps not work appropriate, but for a Saturday morning they are just what you want to wear and make you feel good the moment you slip both on. I hope everyone has a weekend outfit that gives them the same satisfaction!

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Next I decided to grab a cup of coffee at my local joint and make my way to the neighborhood farmers market. Let me just say I love going to the farmers market. Strolling through the crowd, seeing what people are excited about, tasting everything I possibly can, the vibrant colors, the sweet smells from the fruit, and just getting inspired by wholesome food. Cherries and Strawberries are in season right now and the market was full of them! The strawberries below were some of the sweetest and most delicious ones I have tasted in a long time. I left the market with 2 very full bags of fresh produce.

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The morning ended with me heading back  home and making a delicious breakfast to enjoy while reading some news articles, which you will all see tomorrow! I sat at my dinner table over looking the window and enjoyed another cup of coffee, some overnight oats (a mixture of yogurt and oats), fresh cherries and strawberries from the market, and a piece of whole wheat toast with my friend Jaclyn’s homemade jam on top. My mission was accomplished, my “me” morning put me into a relaxed place and was a great way to end my week.

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 5/4/14

Dustin has done a fantastic job of curating articles weekly and I  have been so grateful for his help with my blog.  However it is time for Dustin to focus his Sunday’s on enjoying his one day off of the week and therefore I will be stepping up and trying to fill some pretty big shoes. It might take me a little bit to find my footing, but I hope I can bring some interesting news to all of you weekly as well, Enjoy!

Study: Eat 7 servings of fruit, veggies daily– Just in case we needed more proof that a diet full of fruit and veggies is beneficial to our health. This article is short and sweet, but sells you on the added benefits of eating at least 7 servings a day of the good green stuff

Coffee Tied to Lower Diabetes Risk– For those of us who are coffee drinkers it is interesting to read a study on how coffee consumption can not only lower your risk of diabetes, but can in fact decrease it even more with higher consumption.

Kick start your physical activity this spring with the “Good Enough” workout! – This article focuses on how sometimes after a long period of not being active all you need to do is just get up and go. It emphasizes doing something physical is better then not doing anything and how this little step can help get you back into a routine.

Does food taste better the more expensive it is? “We were fascinated to find that pricing has little impact on how much one eats, but a huge impact on how you interpret the experience. Simply cutting the price of food at a restaurant dramatically affects how customers evaluate and appreciate the food.”

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Photo from Huffpost

 

Indoor Rowing and Channeling House of Cards

Perhaps it is just everyone around me, but House of Cards is all any of us can talk about. If you have not tuned into this show yet, it is a must! It is a Netflix original series with two seasons under its belt. Netflix brilliantly releases all episodes of a season at once, which makes binge watching the show pretty much inevitable.  Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright not only play ruthless and complex characters flawlessly, but the show portrays how relentless people will be for power and prestige. While being all engulfed in the show I noticed how exercise is a big part of both characters lives and one of their go to workouts outside of running is rowing.

Now rowing machines are common at most gyms, however they typically are stored somewhere in the corner almost out of sight for most people. In my many times at the gym I rarely see people frequent the indoor rower. I myself have utilized the machine a hand full of times before, but  it has been for a quick 10 minute cardio set prior to a strength training class. Also to be honest the only reason I gave it a shot in the first place was because my legs were in desperate need of a break and the thought of running made me cringe. After watching House of Cards it made me re-think about my past rowing quickies and made me wonder if this exercise machine could be more?

In true San Francisco fashion I went straight to my site for all information, Yelp.  I started a search for rowing and happened to stumble upon a gym called APEXWellness Center that offers various fitness classes and an indoor rowing class was just one of them. For your first time at Apex you are able to try a class for free, so I thought why not and signed myself and Dustin up for last Saturday. 

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The class was located in Apex’s Lite Gym down a little alley in the Financial District. Walking down the paved road I almost missed the small studio and felt like I had stumbled into a European street opposed to a place where I was about to get my sweat on.  We walked into the gym and met Leo our instructor for the day. Leo is from South America and although his English was still a work in progress he was able to guide us through the class perfectly.  Now I have to say I was a little skeptical, how was I going to be able to row for a whole hour and either not bored out of my mind or in so much pain that I was going to want to pass out by the end of it.

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Leo started the class off by working with us individually on our form. Once we started to prefect that he would give us goals to hit in terms of pace and strokes per minute. We would then perform one minute on of rowing followed by a one minute break. After the first 20 minutes we started to incorporate 15 second sprints towards the end of our sets and would row as hard and as quick as we possibly could. It is amazing how rowing utilizes your entire body  from your shoulders down to your calves. Your heart rate goes up quickly and the motion of pulling with all of your strength is exhilarating. After 45 minutes of the interval training on the machine Leo had us we finish the workout with 10 minutes of stretching to cool down.

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 I had no idea until this class just how much form is required to perform rowing properly. Once you start to research rowing you find out it is an excellent exercise for improving cardio-vascular abilities, weight loss, cross training, and just general fitness. It is also great at blasting calories with a 130 lbs woman burning about 280 calories in 30 minutes. So next time you see the rowing machine standing all alone in the corner at the gym try testing it out. I highly recommend the high intensity intervals. It keeps it fun and interesting, while also giving you a great cardio workout. Here is a great 20-Minute Total Body Rowing Workout from Shape Magazine to get you going. Enjoy!