The Cooking Bug & Why Just Showing Up Isn’t Enough

Lately, I have been enjoying my time in the kitchen more than ever before.  In the morning I check out what’s in the fridge and freezer, take out meat or fish to thaw, then type into Google the ingredients I have to work with, and add the word “Paleo”.  This normally yields dozens of awesome recipes.  I quickly look over the first and second page of the results, and save my favorite one or two recipes (If I like elements from multiple recipes, I combine  them).  Then, I don’t have to worry about dinner the rest of the day.

Ken is loving this.  I’ve been cooking nearly every night and he is impressed with how delicious eating healthy can be.  Check out the Quick Paleo Lamb Stir Fry I made last night using my left over grilled lamb from dining out Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant.

Even though it’s fewer than 300 calories, it was really filling and flavorful.   So, even though it’s Summer, the today here in Boston is only in the low 50s and I’m craving a hot soup.  I’m working with chicken tonight and think I’m going to try one of these Paleo soup recipes:  Thai Coconut Chicken Soup , Chicken-Coconut-Lime-Basil Soup, or “Creamy” Chicken Tomato Soup.

Do you have a Paleo recipe I should try?  Post it in the comments or on my Facebook Page.

On a different note, you have probably heard those motivational quotes saying things like, “Getting to the starting line/out the front door/lacing up your shoes is the hardest part,” and I know what they’re getting at, but it’s not true for everyone.  In the last week I have seen so many people who completed “the hardest part” by making it to the gym, getting their workout clothes on, and even climbing onto a machine, but were burning no more calories than they would leisurely tapping their feet while sitting on the sofa watching Seinfeld.  Standing off to the side of the treadmill, and texting does not burn calories.  Sitting on an exercise mat and checking your email doesn’t burn calories either.  If you make the time and take the effort to go to the gym – freaking BE AT THE GYM.  The emails are going to be there when you are done.  Your friend will understand if you text them in an hour.   Do you feel like you aren’t getting enough out of your gym time?  Here are some tips:

* Leave your phone in the locker room/car/at home.  If you want to listen to music, use an iPod.

*Don’t read on the cardio machines.  Opt for an audio book or podcast instead.  Focus on your speed, the effort you are putting into it.

*Make a plan.  Know what you are going to do when you get to the gym and have it written down.  Know what exercises you are doing, in what order, how many reps, sets, etc.  That way you aren’t standing around trying to decide what do to next.  Also, it’s good to be flexible on the order.  If a machine is in use when you need it, go on to the next exercise is possible as to not waste time.

*If possible, arrive at the gym in your workout clothes to avoid crowded locker rooms.  This is a great way to cut down on time if you workout during peak morning/lunch/evening hours.

*If you suck at going to the gym – you are distracted by good-looking people, obnoxious weight lifters, socializing, consider taking your workout outside – run, bike, try a rowing class, rollerblading, or workout at home.

Get in. Get it done. Get out.

Do you have gym productivity tips?  Share them in the comments.

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4 Weeks to Greece! Beach Ready 30 Day Challenge – What is it?

Yesterday, I was thinking about Greece and my 30th birthday which will happen while on vacation, and how I’ve been working to be as fit as possible when I hit 30.  Somewhere in the midst of these thoughts/daydreams, I decided that it was time to challenge myself and see what kind of changes I can accomplish with my body in just 4 weeks time.  To help me along in this sure-to-be-tough journey (that’s’ why it’s called a ‘challenge’, right?), I started a Facebook page to share my blog posts, workouts, recipes, and to have the support of friend.  I also committed to the following:  sharing all workouts, documenting and sharing all food and drinks using my public MyFitnessPal Food Diary, and working my ass off (details below) for the next 30 days.

WHY 30 DAYS?

30 days works because basically, that’s all the time I have left until I go to Greece.  Also, I turn 30 next month.  Oh yeah, and it just so happens that 30 days is a great amount of time to challenge oneself to something new.  And, while working out isn’t new to me, keeping a food and workout diary is.  Check out this great TED Talk on committing to something new for 30 days below and start thinking about how you would like to challenge yourself.

HOW THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING

*I will be recording all workouts

*I will be recording all food and drinks

*There are not cheat days or cheat meals.

*2 workouts a day, 6 days a week

*There are no “rest days” only “active rest days”

*No refined sugar.  None.

*2 drink max, 2 days a week.

WORKOUTS I WILL USE FOR THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE

I will be using a combo of the following:  Spartan Race WODs, Tough Mudder Training Workouts, BodyRockTV workouts, HIIT workouts, Bikram Yoga, weight-lifting, and lots of regular cardio primarily using the elliptical and stationary bike, but will use the rowing machine and stairclimber as well.   I will grab exercises that work for me and create workouts.  I will post each day’s workout on Facebook and possibly here, too.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned running, it’s because I am taking 6 weeks off from running to make sure that my right foot, which is stress-fracture-prone, is 100% healthy before I embark on my Run 30 on my 30th adventure in Greece.  Following the Reach the Beach Relay where I logged 36.5 miles on the roads as part of an Ultra Relay Team, my foot was tender and achy.  A week later I completed my second 50 miler with no foot pain, but I don’t want to push it, so I’m taking some time off doing what I love so I can make sure that I’m able to do what I love.  This is also the reason you will not find me doing plyometrics or other high-impact exercises that I truly enjoy.

I will do several workouts a week that can be done anywhere with minimal or no equipment, so you can see what can be done in your own home.

I WANT TO DO A 30 DAY CHALLENGE

Your challenge is just that – YOURS.  Research shows that if you can consistently do something each day for 30 days, it is very likely to become a habit you will stick to.  So, you want to workout each day?  Wake up and try doing something like this each morning.  You want to cut out dessert?  Commit to it for 30 days with me and share your 30 day challenge in the comments of this post or on Facebook.

GETTING STARTED

To kick things off, I photographed, measured, and weighed myself as the first part of the measurable baseline (I’ll go over the second piece to this in my Day 1 post which should go up tonight) .  Below you can see how my hard work over the past months has paid off.  The pic on the left is of me on vacation last July.  On the right and at the bottom, you can see the pics taken yesterday.  In 10 months I have lost over 20 lbs and added significant muscle.  I didn’t realize how much my body had changed until I saw the pictures side-by-side.  Now, it’s time to kick it up a notch.

Before 30 day challenge pics

Here are my starting measurements:

Weight – 131.8

Waist – 28 inches

Hips 35 1/2

Thighs – 22 1/2

I will weigh in each Friday and post.  I will take new photos and measure again on June 30th.

LET’S DO THIS!