Three months of Action 90

25 May

Hey all! Long time no blog! ;) I’ve been a slacker blogger (if you can even call me a blogger), but I’m okay with it. The reason I started writing again was so that I could write when I have something to say. Turns out I just don’t have a lot to say, (although if you follow my Twitter, you might disagree.. haha). Anyway, I have something to say today, A lot to say actually!  I just finished my first round of Action 90 at Action Conditioning, and I wanted to tell you guys about it.  I can’t believe it’s already been three months. So much has happened and so much has changed, mostly good! I mostly just want to talk about how my work-outs, my eating and my body have changed since I started A90 3 months ago, so here goes! (Be prepared for a LOT of writing)

My work-outs:

Obviously, this has been a HUGE part of my Action 90 experience. I don’t want to give away all the Action 90 secrets, but I’ve been doing three months of progressive work-outs six-days a week. Each month, we rotate through three different strength and total body routines with our trainer and then we had prescribed cardio to do on our own which is meant to condition our hearts and develop our energy systems so we improve our metabolism and endurance. Both the strength and cardio routines change each month.

I managed to only miss one strength work-out for the entire three months, despite this meaning that I had to get up at 4:10am every M, W, F. We had an awesome trainer and I love everyone in the 5am class! We really got to know each other and got good as supporting one another and pushing each other just enough! The work-outs were always challenging, but also super fun and never boring.

At the end of each month we did fitness tests and at the beginning and end of the entire program, I’ll talk about those when I talk about my body changes!

My eating:

Not surprisingly, my eating was the biggest challenge out of everything in the program for me! We’re given a really easy-to-follow and fairly intuitive nutrition plan. It’s not restrictive, it just focuses solely on whole foods instead of processed pre-packaged stuff. I just love food! I do really well during the week but struggle with wanting to eat everything bad for me on weekends, and although I’ve gotten better at it, I’m still working on being consistent with my good eating habits. One thing that ended up being surprisingly easy for me was saying goodbye to dairy. This was totally my choice and my digestive system, my skin and any stomach issues I was experiencing immediately improved. I also definitely think that it helped me burn a lot of stomach fat and reduced a lot of puffiness that I was experiencing from a possible reaction to dairy.

What I would LIKE to do, but has been slightly more challenging, is cutting out wheat. Again, this was more of a personal choice, but I know that it will help me in the long run. There’s lots and lots of other great carb options out there, but I just love bread! I’ve significantly cut back, but the first thing I think of when I want to binge on a weekend is bagels and bread and chips and tortillas.

On top of this, I had a couple really bad weeks where life kind of sucked and I was feeling really down. The last thing I cared about was eating properly and I ended up eating a lot of excess carbs and junk to make myself feel better (note to self: that doesn’t actually work..) It’s true that 70% of your success when trying to lose weight and get healthy is what you eat, and only about 30% is exercise… so if I’m only eating properly 90% of the time, I can’t expect the most optimal results! While eating the way I’m supposed to is something I’m still struggling with, I’m definitely not giving up and will be pushing a little more on the eating side of things the next time through.

My body:

This is probably the one everyone wants to hear about the most. I haven’t seen my before/after photos and don’t know if I’ll post them, but I’ll let you guys know!

So, Did it work? Yes! Absolutely. But not the way I expected it to. I’ve hardly lost ANY weight! But, BUT… hear me out first!

The scale and my number on the scale is something that I have always invested a LOT of importance in. Part of this is because I need to lose a certain amount of weight to qualify for a breast reduction. Part of that is also because-let’s face it- society places a lot of focus how much people weigh. It’s hard to get away from.

I’ve always, always struggled with body image, and I’ve been told that I have an extremely distorted view of my own body by a lot of people. Logically, I understand that I look different (maybe better?) than I think I do.. but mentally, it’s almost impossible for me to perceive myself the way other people see me. I used to see a counselor at the university for a while and when she asked me to pick a picture of how I thought my body looked, I picked a picture of a 300-lb woman that I honestly think looked like me.  The ONLY way I was capable of seeing a difference in myself was by seeing a number change on the scale.  This distorted body image is something that’s taken a lot of work to overcome, and seeing myself in a different light is something I’ve definitely improved at, but I still struggle with this issue a LOT.

Okay, so back to Action 90. When we first start, we take our body measurements, weight and “before” pictures. Each month we re-take our body measurements and weight and at the end we re-take our photos as well. I kept feeling so dismayed as looked at the scale every week and didn’t see a change, even though I was working SO hard. Then we took our first month measurements and I’d lost 9 inches! What the heck?

I was so confused and partially convinced that the tape measure was super wrong. How was this possible? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a little bit of muscle weight a lot more than the same weight of fat. After talking with Mark and reading a couple articles, I realized that I was gaining muscle at the same rate I was losing a similar amount (weight-wise) of fat, so the scale was staying the same. Logically, it makes sense that a lb of muscle is going to look a lot different than a lb of fat. It takes up less space and it’s a lot firmer and less jiggly!

By the second month, I started to get tons of compliments about how good I looked and how much slimmer I was. I didn’t fully believe them (back to that body image thing), but when the numbers on the tape measure kept going down and my clothes kept getting looser and looser, I started to realize that my body was DEFINITELY changing whether I could perceive it with my messed-up body image or not. When I realized that the numbers couldn’t lie, I also started to see those changes in the mirror too.

On top of that, I was getting SO much stronger. At the beginning, I couldn’t even do a proper push-up from my knees. I could get my chest about half way to the ground and then my arms would give out. Now, I can rock out knee push-ups like nobody’s business and am well on my way to being able to do ALL of them full from my feet. Additionally, by month 2 my biceps and triceps were starting to be visible, my calves, thighs and glutes were noticeably more toned and my muscle AND cardio endurance was so much better.

By the end of month three (aka now) the differences have become increasingly more noticeable. Even I can’t deny them. You can see the outline of my ribs a little bit, my shoulder blades and collar bone stick out a tiny bit, my arms, tummy and bum are less jiggly and cellulite-y and my biceps and triceps are visible even when I have my arms relax. My back is getting stronger and I stand up straighter despite the huge load (aka my boobs) that I have to carry around. Mark commented that you’re even starting to be able to see my upper abs a little bit, where my waist has become a lot more trim.

Even though the scale hasn’t moved much, the numbers, the comments I get and the results of my fitness test don’t lie. I definitely saw improvements! In total, I lost 15.75 inches. Most notably (and most exciting for me) 2 inches from my waist, 5 inches from my tummy (belly button) and 2.5 inches from my hips! My belt that I wore for almost 2 years is too big for me now, and my favorite jeans can’t be worn without a belt anymore! Obviously, I wasn’t very muscular at all when I started this process.. I thought I was in okay-shape but looking back I’m pretty sure I was just a big marshmallow and had a LOT of muscle to develop.

I saw huge improvements on the fitness test as well! This post is long enough, so I won’t go into all the details, but I am WAY stronger than when I first started. I can do more squats, more push-ups, more assisted chin-ups, and more sit ups than when I started. Plus, can hold planks and wall-sits for longer and sustain my cardio for longer. Not to mention, I just feel amazing! I have more energy, I’m healthier, my skin is clearer than it’s ever been and I sleep like a baby.

My future plans:

All-in-all, Action 90 has been a great success for me and I’ve loved every minute. I actually look forward to working out and seriously adore everyone at the gym! I’ve come a long way in the last 3 months but I still have a long way to go with my fitness and weight-loss. I’ve signed up to take the program again, starting next week. The nice thing about Action 90 is that it can be challenging no matter what fitness level you’re at, so even though I’m starting over, it’s not like it’s going to be easy for me. My hope for this time is that I can do even better with the eating aspect of the program and that I’ll continue to get stronger but my muscle-to-fat replacement ratio will shift so that the scale starts going down. As much as I love the results I got, 193 lbs isn’t a healthy weight no matter what, so that fat has to start to go away sometime! Plus, I know that I can work a little harder and do a little better this next round now that I know what to expect.

I’m sticking with the 5am class because a) I love having my work-out out of the way by 6am, b) I love my current trainer, c) Two of the other 5am members are coming back too and I can’t imagine working out without them and d) getting up at 4:10am is not as bad as I thought it would be!

So yes, in a couple-thousand words, this where I’m at! I can’t wait to see what the next three months bring and after that who knows what’s next! Finding a gym with people and trainers that I love and a fitness program that’s easy to follow has been so important. PS. If you’re in Lethbridge and looking for a great gym, I definitely recommend checking out what Action Conditioning has to offer. :) There’s something for everyone!

Friday the 13th Fitness Challenge

14 Apr

This week started off kinda low but got progressively better.   Last weekend, I had a great weekend at home. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas so it was great to visit with my parents and brothers and cuddle with the dogs etc.  Unfortunately, the one downfall whenever I go home is food!  SO. Much. Food.  I seriously just had like a binge-fest all weekend.  It was nightmarish.  I ate SO many things with dairy when I haven’t had dairy for so long and as a result I was SO sick, bloated and felt disgusting.  As soon as I got home on Monday I got back on the healthy eating train, but the damage was definitely already done.  I felt sick and gross until Thursday, but being good with my nutrition and getting all my workouts done definitely helped.

It’s crazy how much nutrition can have an effect on how you look and feel!  My face was breaking out, my stomach was sticking out in a disgusting way, I was exhausted and sick and I just felt completely depressed from my poor eating and lack of exercise. Feeling that way made me realize how much eating poorly is NOT worth it even if it tastes amazing at the time. I’m sure I’ll need to be reminded of that lesson at some point. ;)

Yesterday, I ended up doing TWO workouts because I had A90 in the morning and an Action Conditioning Fitness Challenge in the evening.  I felt SO sick in the morning and ended up staying home from work and sleeping for most of the day, but I think my body definitely needed it.  I’ve felt myself coming down with something all week and have been super tired!  Luckily, I think all the vitamins I take have helped my immune system stave off letting whatever I was coming down with take over.  By the time 5 o’clock rolled around yesterday, I felt 200% better and was totally pumped to do the team fitness challenge!!

There were 9 teams of three that participated in the challenge.  Our team was made up of myself and two of the other crew members from my A90 morning crew.  We were quite the team spanning three different decades of ages between myself, Cheryl and Tom.  I was initially really nervous for the challenge, but it ended up being SO much fun! We didn’t go into it planning to win, especially because we’re all only in our second month of working out at Action Conditioning and are definitely beginners.  Luckily, all the workouts had three different levels and we could choose whatever level best fit our fitness needs.  There were 7 workouts in all, but we started late and it took longer than anticipated so they ended up cutting out one of the middle challenges.  The challenges we did were:

#1 – Seated one-arm shoulder press – 1 rep max.  This was literally just a strength thing. We had two tries to shoulder press the highest weight we could and then the weights that each person on our team pressed were added together for our final score.

#2 – Long Jump - We had two tries to jump from a standing position as far as we could and our distances got added together.

#3 – 2 mins of double unders with the jump rope- Haha, this one was BAD for us. The three of us have yet to master double unders so while other more advanced teams were getting like 200+ double unders in 2 minutes, we, as a team, got 16 total.  Haha, definitely need to learn how to do double unders.

#4 – For time: 15, 12, 9, and 8 pull-ups, box jumps, tricep dips.  This was the longest, hardest workout for sure.  Each team member had to do 15 of each workout and then tag the next member in to do the same.  Once all our team finished the 15s, we dropped down to the 12, etc. etc. until we finished at the 8.  It took our team about 15 minutes to complete and I was REALLY proud of myself for using the same pull-up bands that I use in the morning class to do all 44 pull-ups (although my form was questionable by the end.) ;)

#5 – 2 minutes to do a 300 m row followed by as many wall-balls as possible.  I haven’t rowed for SO long, so this one was a toughie.  The trick was to row FAST because you wanted as much time as possible to get as many wall ball shots in the two minutes that you could.  It took me about a minute to do the row so I had a minute to get wall-balls in, but my dead legs from my morning workout and fatigue from the rowing definitely hindered me a little. I still managed to get twelve ball shots in though.

Our team was awesome and I love seeing how much more in shape we are after only a month and a half of A90! We would have  been dead trying to do that when we first started at the gym and instead we supported each other and rocked it out.  I’ve pretty much stopped going to the University gym completely and started doing all my cardio at Action Conditioning too because I just love everyone who works out there!  Our 5am A90 crew of 6 people + our trainer is like a little gym family and we’re already talking about signing up for another one together when this program ends at the end of May. We’re a totally mish-mash of people ranging from age 22-44 and come from all different backgrounds etc., but working out together totally brings people together.  It’s a great feeling to go to a gym where everyone is so friendly and supportive instead of going to the University where I have to fight for a treadmill and don’t know anyone else who is working out. Action is still small and just getting it’s big-gym legs, but I honestly see great things in its future and would recommend it to anyone in Lethbridge who is looking to join a new gym and get into shape.


Anyways, there’s my long post with a serious lack of pictures! :) I just got back from doing my cardio at Action & now I plan to do a lot of foam rolling and chill out watching TV for the rest of the day.  Mark and I are off to see a movie tonight for date night and I am definitely looking forward to my rest day tomorrow to clean up the apartment and prep my food for the week.

How was everyone else’s week?  What was the most fun fitness activity you did this week?

March Recap – Hello April!

5 Apr

Hi Friends! I’ve been a bad blogger lately.  The new exercise sched and the new sleep sched have taken some getting used to. Plus, we’ve been taking shifts at work to get a bunch of brains scanned on this infuriating scanner that we rented so I’ve been working 6am-2pm.  It’s been nice to get off work so early in the afternoon, but after getting up at 4am to hit the gym I’m usually too tired to do anything in the afternoon anyway!  I’m looking forward to getting back to an 8-4 shift next week so that I have a chance to come home, shower and eat my breakfast at home before I head to work.

I haven’t blogged very much in March, so here are some highlights:

The Studying:

  • Officially got my acceptance letter into grad school at U of L.
  • Got nominated for the gold medal undergraduate award in Arts & Science!
  • Received an AIHS Summer Studentship award which means that I get paid on salary all summer and will get to stay at the neuroscience building working until I start grad school in September.

The Shrinking: 

Action 90 has been going SOOO good.  We started month two this week and it’s insane how much stronger I’m getting.  I haven’t lost a ton of weight, but I’ve lost more inches in a month than I lost in an entire year last year!  The big ones are my waist (down 2 inches), my tummy – which incidentally is my biggest problem area – down 3 inches and my hips down 1.5 inches!  My thighs are also down an inch each!  Overall those are my biggest areas where I need to lose (except obviously my boobs, but they don’t seem to be shrinking at all!) so it’s really exciting.  I’m looking forward to seeing some more numbers lost on the scale this month and know that I have to be really good about my nutrition to get there.

The nutrition plan is still going well.  No dairy has been surprisingly easy, but I still struggle with the no wheat thing!  My biggest challenge this month was making sure I packed my food for the day, especially when I headed straight from the gym to work.  I’ve been relying on overnight oats and breakfast cookies for a good breakfast with balanced macronutrients.

The nice thing about both of these is that they don’t have to be heated up, you can mix whatever in and they taste delicious!  The only difference between my breakfast cookie and my overnight oats tends to be the amount of liquid (almond milk) I add into the container.  (More liquid for overnight oats, less for breakfast cookie.)

Some of my typical mix-ins include:

A rolled oat/steel cut oat/flax/barley mix of oats that I found at Save-On foods.

Unsweetened Almond Milk

A scoop of protein powder

A TBSP of peanut butter or almond butter

Hemp Hearts

Half a banana

1/2 c. fruit of choice (usually berries)

Anyway, enough about my breakfast!  Other exciting things…

  • I signed up for the Calgary Spartan Race in August
  • Dragon Boat races are in July this year and I get to be on the Action Conditioning team
  • Friday the 13th is a fitness challenge at Action Conditioning that myself and two of my A90 morning crew have signed up for.
  • Ladiesfest 8k is in a little over a month!

Life is going really well right now and I can’t complain! :)  Mark’s and my two year anniversary is this week and I’m headed home to visit my parents and brothers for the long weekend!  I still can’t believe that it’s April already!  I’ll try to think up some fun, interesting blog posts for you guys this month and keep you updated on how A90 is going.


Ball and Chain 2012 Recap

24 Mar

Updated to Add:  Race stats are up!  Our final chip time was 42:31.70, putting us in 12/16 which was only 10 mins behind the first place team.  I’m actually super happy with it! :) 

When I originally heard about the Lethbridge Ball and Chain Run a few weeks ago I signed up to run the 4k. Action Conditioning (my gym) was sponsoring & developing a fitness challenge portion that Mark and some of the other trainers were running.  I’d heard about the fitness challenge but was immediately like HELL NO, a fitness challenge is not for me when I can barely run… famous last words..

Last Friday, I headed to my usual 5am workout at Action and one of the other five members of our A90 crew, Jen, was like “We should get four of us and do the fitness challenge!”  I was initially hesitant but I somehow ended up switching over to the 4k challenge on a team with Jen.  Unfortunately, when we tried to convince two of our other morning crew members to join the team they weren’t into the idea at all.  Suddenly we were two team members short & had to let the race organizers know the other two members by Wednesday.  In desperation I tweeted and wrote a Facebook plea for two more members on Monday.

Luckily, my lovely twitter-now-real-life friend Kelsey came to the rescue and volunteered!  Now we were just one member short and when Wednesday rolled around the race organizers were calling and telling us they needed to know our last team member.  I begged everyone I knew and then posted ANOTHER tweet and facebook status. With literally an hour before we had to forfeit out team, my spin instructor, Rob, stepped up and said he’d throw his hat in.  Sweet! Full team!  So, our team wasn’t what we initially planned and it ended up being kind of a mish-mash of people, but it turned out to be awesome!

Fast forward to race day (aka today). True to March weather in Southern Alberta is snowed a fair bit yesterday and overnight.  Plus, it kind of melted during the day so there was a thin layer of ice over everything.  Nothing dampens your spirits a little like knowing you’re going to have to do a fitness challenge in the snow.  But, I layered up and Mark and I picked up Kelsey & drove across the city to the correctional center where it was held.  I originally planned to shed a layer before the run and just run in a hoodie & my usual gym top but it was COLD out there and I ended up running in my jacket as well.  My only regret was forgetting my mittens in the car.  We met up with the Rob and Jen and I introduced everyone and all the challenge teams (17 teams of four, in total) got a demo of the fitness challenge.  The fact that we had to do it in the snow made it look SO much worse, but I’ll get to the challenge portion in a minute.  The course was a 2.5 km run (which according to my Garmin was actually 3.2 kms) followed by the fitness challenge, followed by a 1.5 (which was only about 1.2 according to my Garmin) km run carrying a big hunk of 60 lb wood to the finish.  The 4k runners and 8k runners were staggered & started first and the 4k challenge runners started last.

The starting siren went off and our team was off. We agreed to stay together (ish) and it ended up that Rob & Jen ran together in the front followed about 100 m behind by Kelsey and me about 100 m behind her.  It was rough but do-able.  The biggest thing that threw me off was that I was playing number games in my head to psych myself up (c’mon only 1 more km, that’s only 5 laps around the track) and suddenly I was already at 2.5 km and still a long distance from the challenge site.  The roads were super slick and there were gopher holes on the trail that were definitely hazardous.  I ran the entire time (albeit slowly) and actually passed quite a few people who stopped to walk.  I felt awful for one girl who was ahead of me and had to stop to throw up.  She was a trooper though, she sprinted ahead of me after vomming in the bushes but then had to stop AGAIN to throw up.  I wanted to stop and give her a pat on the back of something but I knew if I stopped running I wouldn’t be able to start again.

I met up with the rest of my team at the challenge section.  I was super out of breath and we immediately had to do a team overhead press (50 reps) with a 60 lb wooden beam.  I was in the middle of the log and as a result barely had to do any work other than lifting my own arms over my head (which was hard enough at that point).  That was probably a good thing because I was SO nauseous and felt a little bit like dying.

Immediately following the overhead press was a relay portion of the challenge. I was super grateful for this part because they let me go last so I got a few minutes to get my breath back.  The relay portion involved carrying a 60 lb sandbag about 25 meters, dropping it, doing 15 burpees, picking up two 30 lb buckets of sand and running back to the team so the next person could go.  Let me tell you, the burpees were ROUGH.  I made it over to the other end with the buckets fairly quickly, but the burpees killed me.  Our counter was super strict and wouldn’t count the rep unless your chest touched the ground (which was covered in snow), you jumped up and clapped your hands over your head.  My hands were freezing from pressing them down – again, should have remembered my mittens- into the snow and the ground was super slippery so it was extra difficult to get traction to stand back up.  The burpees seemed to take forever.  I pretty much walked the sandbag back over to my team.

As soon as I got back, the next portion of the challenge was a tractor tire flip. The tire had to be flipped and then the whole team (one by one) had to jump in the middle and then back out.  Jen and Rob were fricking rockstars and ended up flipping the tire the entire time so Kelsey and I just had to jump through.  I definitely almost ate it in the snow jumping out of the tire a few times. After 10 tire flips/jumps, we immediately had to grab the beam again and do 50 squats as a team.  These were the easiest part of the challenge, in my opinion, but my form was definitely suffering by the end of them.  Finally, we dropped the beam, hooked our feet under the tire and did 50 sit-ups as a team.  Usually I can rock out 50 sit ups no problem, but I was seriously SO nauseous and my heart rate was insane by that point. For a rep to count, the entire team had to be touching the top of the tire at the same time.  I honestly wanted to cry because after 25 I just couldn’t get myself up to touch the tire any more and couldn’t fathom how I could do 25 more.  The rest of the team were absolute rockstars and were still doing pretty good so it felt like I was letting the team down. With a LOT of effort and encouragement from my team, I eventually got the second half of the sit-ups done. We immediately jumped up for the last 1.5 km run, carrying the stupid 60 lb beam from hell.

Jen and Rob decided that they could probably handle the beam by themselves and Kelsey and I (who are admittedly less in shape than the other two) would run beside them.  I honestly could say it a million time, but Jen and Rob did fricking amazing. Plus, Kelsey had never run a race in her life and she owned it!  They ran with that beam the last 1.5 km and even pushed hard enough in the last few meters to pass another challenge team.  We crossed the finish line in (according to my Garmin) a little under 40 minutes.  I’m not sure what place we were in at that point, but we weren’t last so I was pretty happy about that!

For me, personally, this race was rough.  I’m a people pleaser by nature and on a team I’ve always struggled with feeling like I’m the weakest link or I let people down.  I had to remind myself that I gave it my all and I ran the ENTIRE 4k even though I’ve never felt more like throwing up in my life.  Our mish-mash team ended up being a GREAT team and I’m super proud of all of us.   A lot of other teams made up of some Action Conditioning members also ran and they all did fantastic as well.  One group of ladies won first place in their category and Mark’s team was second place overall!

This was the first year for the Ball and Chain Challenge and the race organizers did a great job.  The course was well outlined and the fitness challenge was well organized.  My only minor complaint was that the t-shirts weren’t very nice.  The Ball & Chain logo wasn’t even featured and just got a tiny mention on the back with the sponsors!  Like a said, it’s minor, but I’m holding out for cooler t-shirts (and nicer weather) next year. ;)

After standing around freezing our butts off for photos/winner announcements, we all headed home. When I got into the house I immediately peeled off my super cold, damp clothes and had the hottest bath ever.  I was chilled to the bone!  Now I’m curled up on the couch in sweatpants and slippers drinking hot coffee.  Mark and I are taking our cheat day today instead of tomorrow and heading out for Vietnamese food for dinner tonight.

I’m proud to say that I have run my second race and survived it!  I’m going to train extra hard for Ladiesfest in June and hopefully will be able to get a new PR and speed up my running a little bit!  Right now I kind of feel like that sick rhinoceros at the back of the herd when I run, haha.  I’ve still got the racing bug though, and like I was saying today, even if I’m not super-amazing, I’ve come a LONG way from barely being able to do a lap around the track a year ago and can only go upwards from here. :)

In other news, I keep forgetting to weigh myself/take new measurements, but given the state of my clothes falling off me and a new notch in my belt, I’m pretty hopeful for when I share the results (which WILL be this week).

What is everyone else up to this weekend!?  Any fun plans?

The ABCs of Shrinking & Studying

17 Mar

Hey Friends! Happy St. Patty’s day!  What are your plans for tonight?  I don’t really feel like going out because I’m not drinking until June & don’t need the temptations of anything junky so it will be a night vegging and watching movies for me.  Also, I don’t own anything green.

I don’t have anything original for you guys today so instead I have a fun little (okay, kinda long..) post inspired by Life of Blyss who was inspired by Janetha who was inspired by another blogger.

Remember when surveys on Facebook were all the rage? You’d create a little note and then answer all sorts of weird questions that nobody cares about like “who are you thinking about RIGHT now?” etc.  Haha.  I did SO many of those… I’ve since deleted most of them because they were embarrassing, but as a throwback to old times I have a slightly more mature (slightly!) one for you guys today.

A is for age:  23.  My birthday was last month… I just realized that there are no photos of the event!  We had a walk of shame birthday party. Vodka soaked gummy bears were also involved.  It was super hilarious.

B is for breakfast today: In honor of St. Patrick’s day today, I had a green smoothie with half a frozen banana, 2 cups of baby spinach, half a cup of almond milk, a scoop of almond butter and chocolate protein powder.  Deeellish.

C is for currently craving:  Ugh, what am I NOT craving?  This week has been rough for cravings.  I could really go for some Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips and Salsa right now. ;)

D is for dinner tonight:  It’s a low starch day for me today, so I’m thinking probably some steak and couple types of the veggies I stocked up on at Costco yesterday.

E is for favorite type of exercise:  First would definitely be spinning, but running has taken a close second recently! :)

Bonus: My favorite exercise move has recently become band chin-ups!  They’re so fun!  Next goal, real chin-up!  Squats take a close second for fave exercise move.

F is for an irrational fear:  I really really really hate having my neck touched.. especially by other people but I’m also not a fan of tight scarfs, jewelry or collars.  It makes me feel nauseous to even think about a hand on my neck… ugh…

G is for gross food: I like almost any food (Hello, there’s a reason I weigh almost 200 lbs) but I’m really not a fan of cheesies, anything from McDonalds (what is with their buns!?  gross…), and green peppers.

H is for hometown: My family moved around a LOT until I started middle school so I don’t really have *one* hometown, but I consider Rocky Mountain House, where I graduated, to be hometown.

I is for something important: Family, Friends, Health and Happiness.

J is for current favorite jam: I can’t get enough of “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson and the “From Me To You” cover by Walk Off The Earth.

K is for kids:  I definitely want to have an established career before I even get married & think about having kids but I don’t doubt that I want one or two someday in the far-away future.

L is for current location: Couch, Living Room, Apartment, Lethbridge, AB, Canada. ;)

M is for the most recent way you spent money: I got paid this week so I finally went and got a haircut today!  Three inches off, bangs significantly trimmed & all the old dye remnants of my hair are almost completely gone.

N is for something you need: Gas for my car.. like desperately.  It’s just SO expensive right now. 

O is for occupation: I like to call myself a neuroscientist, but I feel like I don’t have a right to call myself that until I have a PhD and multiple publications under my belt. So, I suppose technically I am a Research Assistant in a Neuroscience facility.

P is for pet peeve: Recently a big one for me has been noisy people outside my apartment building.  Our neighbourhood has  been awful for barking dogs, drunken yelling & car honking outside lately.

Q is for a quote: I saw this on pinterest the other day.

R is for random fact about you: I once played Princess Buttercup in our high school’s rendition of “The Princess Bride.” I still know most of the lines.

S is for favorite healthy snack:  So many to choose from!  Apples and almond butter, Roasted chickpeas, Edemame, carrots and hummus, frozen grapes, rolled-up roast beef slices with mustard.

T is for favorite treat:  My weakness is chips!  Any kind, any flavour.  My favourite sweet treat is probably chewy chocolate-y brownies.

U is for something that makes you unique: This one is surprisingly hard!  Um… I do neuroscience?  Also, my honour’s thesis was on the brains of gophers..that’s unique.

V is for favorite vegetable: Do I have to pick just one?  I love veggies!  Spinach, zucchini, baby squash, eggplant & carrots are all up there for faves.

W is for today’s workout: Today was a cardio day on my Action 90 plan, so I did a 3 ish mile run in about 35 minutes (My Garmin died before I finished..)

X is for X-rays you’ve had: I’ve never broken a bone, so other than dental x-rays I think I’ve only had one x-ray on my wrist when I was really little and an x-ray when I had knee pain in high school.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Hmm.. well it was Friday, so that was a nice bonus.  The highlight was probably rocking my AM workout with out Action 90 group and seeing another pound lost on the scale.

Z is for your time zone: Mountain Time Zone

Well, there’s my cop out of a post today! :)  Tomorrow is my rest/cheat day and if it’s nice out I’ll have to go to work and catch specimens for a while.  I’ll do an update on my measurements & an official update on my weight for you guys either tomorrow or Monday!

Week 2 Challenges

15 Mar

Hey Friends! Hope your week has been going well. :)  I’ve been busy pretty much all week.  It’s Brain Awareness Week at the U of L so I volunteered to do a few elementary school presentations on how the brain works.  We ended up with a couple grade one classes and it was SO much fun telling them all about the brain and answering their questions.  Some questions were so hilarious, kids don’t really differentiate between the brain and the head so they kept asking questions like “what does your brain do if you break your chin?” or “why do your teeth fall out?”  Haha.  It was definitely an experience and I have a whole new respect of what elementary school teachers do, it is HARD to hold those kids’ attention.

This week has been more challenging in terms of eating and fitness than last week was.  Last week went perfect, but this week I’ve been plagued with cravings, temptations, and fatigue.  Going without wheat/dairy has been harder for me this week.  It’s funny, because I feel SO great without either in my diet.  Without them, I’m less bloated, my digestive system is functioning better, I have lots of energy and my face is less puffy. However, despite all the positive changes I saw last week it’s been harder to say no to those things this week.

I’ve also been more prone to trying/wanting to binge this week.  On Monday, I had bought some goldfish crackers that we were handing out to the kids as part of our brain presentations on ‘taste.’  I bought a big box and had a lot left over and without even thinking ended up eating almost 3/4 of a bag. I felt SO sick after and I threw the rest of the bag away so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it anymore. It’s just proof that I can’t have stuff like that in the house, because I can’t stop myself from eating and eating WAY too much if it’s there.

Another challenge I’ve had this week is being SO tired.  On Tuesday I was practically falling asleep into my brain dish at work and had to have so much coffee just to make it through the day.  When I got home I forced myself not to crash on the couch and still went to bed at like 8pm.  On Wednesday morning I dragged myself out of bed for my 5am fitness class, but when I got home at 6 I ended up crawling into bed and crashing until 9am.  I definitely need to figure out how to get over this tired feeling and be productive again because it’s been throwing a wrench in my whole day schedule. I’m feeling more well-rested after my extra sleep yesterday though, so hopefully the feeling stays around.

Other challenges this week have included remembering to take my vitamins, prepping my food for the day and eating 5 times a day.  Over the last few days I’ve been in the field catching specimens for a lot of the day and as a result have been skipping lunch/snacks sometimes.


On the bright side, all these challenges are fixable and I’m working on getting back to eating as perfect as possible as I was last week.  It was payday, so I have a chance to stock up on veggies and protein for the next little while too.  My grocery bill is significantly cheaper without any dairy included, which is kind of nice. My work-outs have also been going awesome, I can already feel myself getting stronger AND I signed up for another race next weekend.  It’s just a short 4k and there’s no hill of death at the end like there was during the moonlight run, so it should be really fun.

I’ll be back this weekend with a new post about something (I’m not sure what yet, haha) and perhaps a weight/measurement update. I hope everyone else is having a good week!

PS. Guess whose tweet made it into SHAPE magazine this month!?  How cool is that?

A Conference and a Run

11 Mar

Hey friends! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I was insanely busy and stressed out for most of the week and the weekend has definitely not been slow, but I’m feeling much better!

First of all, I’ve lost 3 lbs in one week on the new eating plan!  The meal plan has been going REALLY well.  I don’t miss dairy at all, which is surprising, and I haven’t had any cravings for bread or anything either.  You can see exactly what I’ve been eating here, if you so wish.  Today is my cheat day, so Mark and I are attempting cauliflower crust pizza again!  I also had Subway yesterday after the Moonlight Run.

Yesterday ended up being super busy for me.  First, I had my very first poster session ever.  I worked on my poster all week and had a bit of panic trying to figure out how to get it printed, but luckily the U of L print shop came through for me.  Luckily, after all the stressing over it it turned out pretty good.

It was part of a conference at the U of L, and basically I had to bring my poster and stand there while people read it and then asked me questions. I was really nervous at first, but it ended up being really fun and I remembered how much I love talking about my research.

The conference was over at 7 and the 25th Annual Moonlight Run started at 8pm so I ran home to change into my running gear. I put my time chip on my shoe, taped on my number, downed a peanut butter larabar and Mark and I headed over to the starting area.  Note to self:  Next year get there earlier!  There were over 2500 people running the race and finding a parking spot was ridiculous.  We finally found one and headed over to the starting line just as the 10K runners were starting.

Once the 10K group was gone, we made out way into the crowd at the starting line and waited about 15 minutes for the 6K to start.  The energy of the crowd was awesome and I was shaking partially because I was freezing and partially because I was super pumped to run!

I’m a slow runner and Mark is a lot faster than me, but we decided that we were going to run this race together.  After the starting shot went off for the 6k (at which point our timer chips on our shoes started) it took about a minute for our part of the crowd to get past the starting line and start running.  I started my Garmin right when the crossed the line.

The first part of the race was downhill for about 1km.  It was a super easy run and Mark kept wanting to speed up but I wanted to keep a decent pace.  The next 4 km were on a flat in the coulees.  It was a really nice run, under the train bridge and past the river, but next time I’d definitely wear a headlamp because it was DARK.  Some of the trails were really narrow and there were a lot of people walking so it was a little frustrating to try and weave in and out of the walkers and slower runners and to get stuck behind people that were barely moving.  Eventually, I started just picking a person in front of me and running until we passed them and repeating.  I kept about an 11 minute mile pace and ran the ENTIRE first 5k, which is amazing for me.  The last km of the 6K was the real test.  A HUGE hill, the same one we ran down at the beginning was a lot more daunting when we were looking up it.  We easily would have had a sub-45 minute 6k (which was my goal) if I had been able to run the entire hill, but my heart rate was super high, I was out of breath and I had to stop and walk a few times.  I could tell Mark was getting frustrated, so when I saw the flat ahead and realized that we were SO close to the finish line I mustered up the strength to run full out.

Mark and I crossed the finish line holding hands and he ended up finishing 1/10th of a second before me!

My unofficial time was 45:47, and my official time was 46:54, which makes sense because we were stuck at the start line for so long. Overall, I finished 935/1651 running the 6k and 82/127 in my category.  For my first race as a self-admittedly slow runner, I’ll take it! :)  I hadn’t had time to eat supper before and Mark was starving, so after the race we stopped at Subway.  I came home and ate my subway while sitting on my foam roller and checking FB and Twitter.  Talk about multi-tasking! ;)

Overall, it was a really fun experience once I got over the initial frustrations of trying to get through the crowd.  I’ve definitely caught the racing bug and am considering signing up for a 4 mile run mid-April.  I’m feeling pretty good today except for some sore glutes and hip flexors!

This week is a little less crazy, so I should be able to post a little more.  Getting up at 4am which, with the time change, was 3am last week is definitely going to be difficult.  I’m looking forward to another good week of eating, exercising and a few more lbs down on the scale.

Tell Me:  What was the highlight of your weekend? 



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