Category Archives: weight training

Working Out the Beer

Saturday morning I slept in (thankfully) and did not wake up with a beer hangover…Luck of the Irish!

I made an Amazing Grass Chocolate shake for breakfast.

I added protein powder, Benefiber, banana, Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, cantaloupe, carrot, and oats.

I added water instead of milk.

Blended in my Magic Bullet and breakfast was served!

After breakfast, I went to the gym. I hadn’t been on the stair-master in over a month because of my injured sacrum but after yesterday’s run I was feeling surprisingly good so I gave it a shot. I eased into it and felt no pain, so committed to working out on the stair-master for my workout. I did the speed intervals and fat burner settings for about 45-50 minutes and then did my weight routine. Honestly I was feeling sort of tired but I muddled through the workout with decent results:

Today’s Stats:

Time: 1:07

Calories Burned: 592

When I got home, I ate a snack (Greek Yogurt and the other half of my banana) and later for lunch I heated up some Trader Joe’s Split Pea Soup (100 calories). It was good!

Now off to dinner!

Jump Rope Workout

Since I’m not swimming tonight, I went to the gym in my office during lunch. I didn’t feel like putting my body through another run this week after my pulled muscle on Wednesday. I decided it was okay to do a light workout instead of my usual balls-to-the-wall-burn-as-many-calories-as-you-can kind of workout.

I decided to skip the treadmill and do the Elliptical machine.

The Elliptical is a good choice for people who have joint pain, or can’t run.

Low-Impact Elliptical

I did about 20 minutes on the elliptical machine, but nothing too crazy like I usually do. Actually, the elliptical machine is the machine I used to use the most when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. I did a combo of swimming and then the elliptical. It wasn’t until much later that I tried doing the treadmill.

After the elliptical, I hopped on the exercise bike for about 5 minutes and decided to change things up a bit. I grabbed an Ab Ball and the jump rope.

The rest of my workout was sort of like a “Cross-fit” workout. I’d jump rope pretty briskly then jog to the weight machines and then back to the jump rope.


Jump Rope

To this:

Then I added the Ab Balls to the routine. I did this a few times, back and forth, until I was dripping with sweat. Man! Jump rope workouts are sweaty!

Then I added free weights to the routine.

In hindsight I should have skipped the elliptical and exercise bike and JUST done the weights/ab/jump-rope combo. That was a much better workout in itself!

Before you dismiss the jump rope as just a kid’s game, try it! It’s hard work and it’s a great workout. My heart rate spiked with each jump and I tried to do the jump rope faster with each set.

Finally, I did a bunch of stretching and some yoga moves.


It was a good workout, even if I didn’t burn a ton of calories. It felt good just to move. Not only that, it’s good to change up your workout routine once in awhile to avoid boredom and plateaus!

Today’s Stats:

Time: 36 minutes

Calories Burned: 275

Final Thought: Jump Ropes Rule

Tonight we start the kitchen remodel again and will be doing it all weekend. I will be burning plenty of calories this weekend!

QUESTION: Are you doing anything fun this weekend? And have you ever incorporated a jump rope to your workout routine?

Do You Have a Pancake Butt?

Why yes, yes I do. I have a pancake butt. What is a pancake butt?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as “when one’s butt has absolutely no shape to it at all. Looking very flat, like a pancake.”

Michael has lovingly said several times recently that my butt is shrinking. Very sweet of him. Then I noticed the last time I went jean shopping that my butt, while small, is not well defined.

My body changed in a lot of different ways as I lost weight. Every week it was a new discovery. Besides my clothes not fitting any more, I suddenly could see ribs, I could see a COLLARBONE! Holy cow! Where did that come from? And my thighs stopped rubbing together.

These changes also meant that I lost weight in places I wasn’t expecting to as well. I lost too many bra sizes to even count (actually I can count–42FF to 34DD) and also my butt shrank!

I read an article recently that said that there are a few reasons for having “pancake butt.” 1) There’s not enough fat accumulation in your butt or 2) Your butt muscles don’t engage so they don’t build up.

Now, how do we fix this problem? Try these tips:

1) Butt Lifts

2) Squats

3) Sprints— great for runners! I’ve recently incorporated sprint intervals into my routine.

4) Side Lunges

Supposedly biking can also improve definition. I’ve recently tried doing sprints and interval training with my running. I do the stair-master at the gym, and I also started doing the Leg Press machines at the gym. Here’s to hoping for some definition!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips to add?

Back to the Gym

Last night’s swim was really good. I had no aches or pains while I was swimming. Last time my shoulder had been irritating me for some mysterious reason. This time, no worries! Neither Michael nor I were really into making something complicated for dinner Friday night. Michael made himself a hot dog and I had leftover quinoa and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai. It’s easy and fast! It only takes 2 minutes to steam the Shu Mai in the microwave. I steamed some broccoli and cauliflower.

There are 6Β  in a serving of Shu Mai but I ate 8. Calories for dinner are as follows:

Chicken Shu Mai (8): 213 calories

Quinoa: 225 calories

Steamed Veggies: 70 calories

Goddess Dressing: 150 calories

I like easy dinners!

Saturday I slept in until 10:30am! I was surprised when I rolled over and saw the clock. I got up and had an Atkins shake for breakfast.

I debated whether or not to go for a long run around the neighborhood or to go to the gym. I decided to hit the gym because it’s been quite awhile since I’d been. I needed to do weights, too. It’s been way too long since I did my weight routine either. 😦

I got to the gym and it was surprisingly crowded. All the stair-masters were taken so I did a 10 minute warm-up on the elliptical machine until one came open. I did 45 minutes of Speed Intervals and 5 minutes of cool down on the stair-master. Then I saw this machine:

Arm Machine

It’s a machine that does just your arms. It’s sort of like an exercise bike but for your arms. It was really strange but boy does it work! My arms were tired after just a few minutes.

I went upstairs to do weights. I focused on the ab machines that I love:

This Ab Machine is my absolute favorite:

It hurts so good! But I actually feel a difference after I use it. I did sets of 10 5 times. Ouch! I moved to the machines for the lower body and did a bunch of different leg presses. I also did the Standing Calf machine. It’s great for the calves and I definitely need to strengthen that part of my body for running.

Standing Calf

I spent a little time doing the Hip Machines:

The Hip Abductors and Adductor machines work the muscles of the hips. These muscles are often times a complaint for runners. It can cause pain in the IT Band and down to the knees. Michael often complains about his hip flexors bothering him from cycling. So I think there are many exercises other than running that can cause inflammation in the hips. Strengthen and stretch!

On one of the machines I started to feel a strain in my groin so I stopped doing the hip machine and moved back to doing my upper body. I don’t want to be hurting in a bad way!

After doing my weight routine, I discovered a new machine! It’s a stretching machine. I’d never noticed it at the gym before but I gave it a try today. And boy does it work!

Stretching Machine

I followed the instructions on the machine and stretched out my body. It felt awesome! I’m now wondering where I can buy one of these things! πŸ˜‰

Stretching Machine

When I got home from the gym, I did my Foam Roller stretches and then ate a piece of Ezekiel toast with Organic Crofters jam as a snack.

Today’s Stats:

Calories Burned: 775

Time at Gym: 1 hour 27 minutes

I made a veggie-rich lunch. First, I steamed more veggies.

Steaming Veggies

Then I grilled up a Vegetable Masala Burger from Trader Joe’s:

I love these burgers. They taste so great to me. And I can taste the potatoes, corn, and broccoli in them.

Grilled in the skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes.

Then I topped the burger with a slice of Havarti cheese and left it on the skillet for a few minutes to melt. Lunch was served!


It was a great lunch. I ate every single bite and kinda wished I could have seconds! It’s such a change from my “old ways”…I ate a lot of salads but I’d never eat the veggies like I do now.

Tonight is my friend Erika’s wedding! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Gym Pet Peeves

I had a great work out at the gym! I did 45 minutes on the stair-master.

I felt energized and not slow at all. I got sucked into “Flip This House” on A&E (I’m addicted to those HGTV type house shows!). Before I knew it,Β  2 episodes and almost an hour later I got off the stair-master and headed over to the treadmill to give my new shoes a try. I did about a mile on the treadmill at a medium pace and finished up with a bunch of weights.

New Shoes

I don’t want to give a review of my new shoes until later. I will see how I feel tomorrow and then hopefully I can get a real run in this week.

Gym Stats:

Calories Burned: 713

Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

Activities: Stair-master, treadmill, weights, triceps/deltoids, abs, hip abductors, leg presses, stretching

Gym Annoyances

About half way through my workout, a girl got on the stair-master next to me. I almost got off and left because she smelled so bad. Seriously! It smelled like she’d eaten a gallon of garlic and was sweating it out of her pores–oh and to hide the smell she was chewing watermelon bubblegum. It was so gross. Who does that? Note to all gym members: please don’t smell weird if you can avoid it. Thanks so much!

Around the same time, another chick got on the elliptical on my right side. She was wearing a dress and stripper boots! No joke! They were knee high boots with stiletto heels. I own a pair. And she wore that to the gym to work out? I was so baffled and I was also tempted to ask her if I could take her picture just to PROVE it happen. πŸ™‚ But I didn’t.

Finally, the last annoyance was how very few people clean off the machine after they use it. I watched person after person sweat on and touch the machines and then just walk away. I wanted to yell, “Oh my god you are so vile!” But I didn’t. I always spray down machines BEFORE (and after) I use them because I’m so skeeved out.

QUESTION: What are your gym pet peeves?

Workout over and feeling pretty good, I drove home and decided to do some gardening before I hopped in the shower. I ended up doing almost 45 minutes of weeding! Our yard is completely out of control. The weeds have taken over.

Weeds Taller Than Me!

I filled the bin with weeds and blackberries.

Weeding burned almost 250 calories. I was shocked! I cleaned the house, showered, and fixed lunch.

Lunch was leftovers from yesterday – Indian food, couscous and steamed brocolli.

Added a little of this:

Lunch was the perfect size.

Now to do the Foam Roller and then I’m off to return the Asics shoes!

Email Q and A

Yesterday, someone brought cake to work.

I did not eat any! I really wanted a piece…even just a bite to see how it tasted…but I decided to be good. I planned on weighing in this week for my monthly check-in and I wanted to see a good number on that scale.

Monday during lunch I ran the Esplanade loop. It was supposed to be the only decent day this week. It was a nice run! There was no rain and I actually got a bit warm and had to take my jacket off half way through.

Monday’s Stats:

Time: 33:33

Calories: 462

Nike+ Pace: 9’30

I made sure to stretch a LOT when I was done. I did not wear my new shoes. My plan is to bring them to work this week and try them out in the gym on the treadmill. That way, I can return them if I don’t like them.

I got an email from a reader and thought it was a great question. (I edited it to take out specific details.)

I started last month eating around 2000 calories per day and I’ve been staying 1700- 2000. I usually eat more when I’ve exercised a lot. How do I know when it’s time to lower my calories? My doctor wants me to eat 1,200 a day.”

First, I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor. So anyone starting a weight loss program should see their regular doctor and discuss a plan with them. I can only give my opinion of how my weight loss journey worked for me.

I think 1,200 calories a day is unhealthy. Eating that few calories, how will you have the energy to work out? For me, I ate 1800-2,000 calories a day with moderate exercise 5 times a week. Eating 1800 calories to lose weight, I didn’t feel starving. I didn’t have hunger pains. My body adjusted to eating lower calories but I didn’t feel deprived.

Another point I want to make is about plateaus. During my weight loss I had many, many plateaus. In order to remedy that, my personal trainer and doctor both said to A) change my workout and B) reduce my calories a little. My body got used toΒ eatingΒ 1800-2,000 calories a day and it got used to the routine I did at the gym.

To get over my plateau, I reduced my calories by about 100 calories a day for awhile. I began incorporating weights into my routine at the gym. I started losing weight again. Then when I hit another plateau, I reduced my calories a little bit more and I started a running program. All these things played a factor in to the equation of weigh loss. If I were only eating 1200 calories a day, I couldn’t reduce my calories anymore without starving myself.

My suggestion to anyone wanting to lose weight is to cut out processed food. Stop eating out at restaurants/fast food joints. Start doing an exercise program. Count your calories/points/keep a food journal. These simple changes make all the difference.

QUESTION: Do you think 1200 calories is unhealthy?

So You Wanna Be A Runner

There are 18 weeks until Hood To Coast! I’m not really excited yet because most of my training thus far has been for the bike ride I’m doing next month. After May 15th my training will shift to running.


Last night I was supposed to meet a friend at the gym to do weights. Unfortunately she canceled so I went on my own. I did a short workout because it was really crowded and I just wasn’t into it. I did 27 minutes on the stair-master and then did 20 minutes of weights. I focused on arms and abs. I’m a tad sore this morning! I burned 330 calories at the gym last night.

I was in kind of a bad mood yesterday. Michael was a sweetie and cheered me up. πŸ™‚ He made dinner (White Trash Casserole) and we watched “Lost” and snuggled. Much better today! πŸ™‚

Do you want to start running but don’t know how?

One way to slowly introduce running into your routine is to follow the Couch to 5K program. Check out the website here: I didn’t do this program when I started running. Like everything else in my life, I just figured it out as I went along and did things intuitively. But it sounds like a great program. Each session is about 30 minutes a few times a week. The C25K Program maps out each week for you and helps you build up your stamina.

Couch to 5k

Don’t feel bad if you can’t run the first time out. It is OKAY to run/jog/walk. There is no pressure to be able to run a marathon your first time! πŸ™‚

The general rule for starting a running program is to not increase your running more than 10% each week.

Common running injuries are:

*Runner’s Knee

*Shin Splints

*Tendinitis/Bursitis in knees and ankles

*IT Band Inflammation

Preventing Running Injuries

1. Get a good pair of running shoes. If you can, get fitted at a running store.

2. Don’t overtrain. Adding too much speed, too much distance, too much intensity too soon can cause injuries.

3. Stretch stretch stretch. After you run, always stretch!!!

4. Take a yoga class to improve flexibility.

5. ICE ICE ICE! It really does help sore muscles.

6. Buy a Foam Roller and use it! It’s like giving yourself a deep tissue massage.

7. Drink plenty of water.

8. Be sure to have Rest Days to rest your body. The more you run, the more stamina you have and you’ll find that your recovery time is much shorter!

QUESTION: How did you start running? Do you have advice for beginners?


Relationships Are About Compromises

When I got home from work last night I was exhausted. Michael was tired. Neither of us wanted to cook. His suggestion was pizza (of course :)).Β  I’ve mentioned before that pizza is one of my “trigger foods” and I try to limit how much of it I eat. But we’ve discovered a way to compromise so we’re both happy. Papa Murphy’s has a deLite Pepperoni pizza that is 170 calories a serving! Perfect!

Take And Bake

I’ve never been a fan of thin crust before but I really love this pizza! I added sliced olives to the top. I ate 3 pieces and I did not feel guilty about it at all!


This morning I had half of a breakfast sandwich. It sort of looked like this:

Breakfast Sandwich

Scrambled egg, a dash of shredded cheese, and a sliced turkey sausage. It looks huge but it’s not. It’s about 340 calories for the whole sandwich. This morning I had this minus the top half of the English Muffin. It’s very delicious and filling!

My morning snack was an orange.


My afternoon snack will be my Fiber One bar. I have plans with a friend to meet at the gym after work and do weights. I’m looking forward to it!

Weight Training vs. Cardio

Another question:

“Thanks for the post. I have one other question when you first started out did you strictly do cardio and how long? Do you know incorprate weight traning into your fitness routine?”

My answer:
Cardio burns more calories than weight lifting but lifting weights spikes your metabolism for about an hour after you’re done exercising. So after you’re done with the weights, your body continues to burn calories more than cardio.

The benefits of Cardio are vast. It improves your heart, lungs, stamina. You get a “runner’s high” (a rush of endorphins and “happy feelings”). When you’re very overweight, cardio is the way to go. It’s better to build up your stamina and ease yourself into a program so you don’t hurt yourself.

After lifting weights, immediately eat protein. I suggest cottage cheese or a protein shake. Lifting weights replaces fat in your body with muscle. After you lose a lot of weight with cardio, switching to a weight program is ideal to get your body leaner and lose the FAT.

While I was losing 110 pounds I did only cardio. Cardio is fun and easy for me. I could do the elliptical machine for hours if I wanted to. Weights, on the other hand, were harder for me. I don’t know why it’s not my first choice.

Since I am pretty close to my goal weight, I’m finding it harder to lose weight because cardio doesn’t have the same effects it previously had. I started going to a personal trainer periodically to get ideas. He had me doing a cross training program that included a lot of weights and resistance training. It REALLY made a difference. I got over my plateau and started losing weight again.

Now, I try to incorporate weight lifting into my routine as much as possible. Since I’m training for Reach the Beach (bike ride) and Hood to Coast (running), I do a lot of cardio. I need to have the long distance stamina to complete those things. But when I go to the gym to do my cardio, I try and end with weight lifting. I do about 20-30 minutes on the weight machines.

When I was trying to lose weight, I did about 45-70 minutes of cardio (usually the elliptical machine). Now my routine is a bit different:
RUNNING: Running at lunch I do about 35 minutes. Mostly because I don’t have time to go longer if I want to shower and eat before heading back to work. On the weekends, I do longer runs of about an hour.
GYM: I do about 45 minutes on the machines (elliptical or stair-master) then go do weights for 20-30 minutes.
SWIMMING: 45 to 50 minutes 2 or 3x a week.
BIKING: When we go for bike rides it’s usually for several hours.

It’s race weekend! I’m excited and nervous. Good luck to ! πŸ™‚

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a personal trainer or nutritionist. I’m just passing on what worked for me. πŸ™‚