Awesome Primal Recipe: Guacamole Stuffed-Burger

This burger taste so amazing. Suggest you make your own guacamole so you can make it chunky style!

This burger taste so amazing. Suggest you make your own guacamole so you can make it chunky style!

Behold! The Guacamole-Stuffed Southwestern Burger.  It’s a thing of beauty and the first recipe I tried since starting the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge on May 1. Simple to make, healthy and low carb. And oh so delicious.  I ended up topping mine with some fresh salsa.

21-Day Challenge – Day 4
So far my the challenge is going very well. Like I mentioned before, I have the food down (although it’s always good to reinforce good habits!). This weekend I got in some moderate exercise with long walks. But I’m returning to my spin classes this week, so we’ll see if I can moderate my intensity.

As for the Challenge’s 8-hours of sleep, I’m not doing so bad there. I’m getting in 6-7 hours so far. I do need to stop drinking coffee after lunch so I can get to bed earlier.

It’s the setting aside play time that is alluding me. This weekend the plan was to use our hiking day reseeding our backyard. Yes, I consider working in the yard as play time. You got a problem with that!?!

But after loading and unloading a lot of bags of top soil, my husband pulled a muscle in his back. So my planned play time in the yard didn’t happen.

So now I’m doubling up on play time. Saturday is yard day. Sunday we hit Raven Rocks trail.




Join Me In The Little Black Dress Challenge

For February I'm taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge for a full body workout. To kick my butt even more, I'm doing each day's workout twice.

For February I’m taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge for a full body workout. To kick my butt even more, I’m doing each day’s workout twice.

It’s February and that means its time for a new 30-Day Challenge (or 28 days). This month I’m taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge. This particular challenge focuses on upper and lower body as well as the abs. Each day of the challenge brings several different exercises.

I started the challenge yesterday and I have to say it was easy peasy – 30 second plank, 10 push-ups, 10 mountain climbers. Today I’m doing 20 jumping jacks, 10 burpees and 10 high knees. Despite the burpees, today should be easy too. But not to fear, by next week I’m expecting the challenge to start kicking my butt.

Since February is a short month, I decided to do each day’s exercises twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Insane? Possibly. Tough? Absolutely. But after what I feel is a sluggish start with my Spartan Sprint training and my Gold’s Gym Challenge (more on this later), I have a need to kick some my ass.

Are you up for the Little Black Dress Challenge?

Battle Of The Bulging Thighs: New 12-Week Challenge

For the next 12 weeks I’ve decided to focus on toning up my leg muscles. My inner thighs are quite flabby and while it’s impossible to reduce fat from a specific part of your body, I can work on toning leg muscles while making tweaks to my diet to help reduce overall body fat.

So What’s The Plan?
I’m making some minor changes to my current workout routine to emphasize my legs.

Step 1. Learn To Love Lunges, Step-Ups and Squats.
Sigh…all 3 exercises I hate with a passion. All are difficult for me, which means they work. With the knee feeling great, I can add these evil great exercises back into my routine.

I found this great workout via Fitness Blender’s YouTube channel.

It includes lunges and squats along with some other great leg exercises. The only thing missing are the step-ups, which I’ll do using my stairs. I plan on using the video twice times a week for the next 2 weeks, before switching to a more challenging leg video.

Step 2. Circuit Training Three Times A Week.
I’m already doing this with my trainer Mondays and Wednesdays. I just need to add in one more day to do on my own. Since I have fat to burn in my arms and belly, I’ll include other muscle groups in addition to my legs.

Step 3. High-Intensity Interval Training A Few Times Each Week.
My spin classes certainly fit the bill, as does my 5K training. Although, I think I need to change my interval cycle for my 5K training. Right now I do a 50 sec walk and a 10 sec run. That’s getting too easy for me. I’m thinking of trying out 40 sec walk and 20 sec run.

Step 4. More Yoga!
Yep, I’m hooked. Not only is yoga a great workout, but also I’m finding it necessary following a particularly tough cycle class or session with my trainer. I’m not as sore the following day when I add yoga into the mix. Right now I’m only going to one yoga class a week. I’ve decided that I need to add 2 more classes into my busy schedule (yikes!) over the next 12 weeks. This is a toughie to work out, but I’ll continue with my Friday morning class and hit up one of the weekend classes for now.

I’m not expecting for the flabby thighs to go away within 12 weeks. It took me years to build up the fat and it’s not going away in 3 months. However, I am expecting stronger legs and hope to see some loss of fat in my thighs. I’m not sure that will translate into smaller measurements as I’m working on building and toning my leg muscle. If I continue eating smart I’ve got a good chance cutting some of that body fat…whether or not it’s in my thighs is a different story.

Time For New Running Shoes or Do I Go Bare?

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it's time to retire my Nikes.

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it’s time to retire my Nikes.

For the last 8 months, I’ve watched two tears in my shoes grow into rather large holes. On my run yesterday both of my big toes protruded out from each hole. Not a very comfortable feeling. Alas, it is time to replace my beloved Nikes.

After reading Born To Run, my husband encouraged me to pick up a pair of minimalist running shoes. Basically minimalist running shoes simulate barefoot running – there is little padding compared to traditional running shoes. The idea being that barefoot running is the natural way to run. Barefoot running is supposed to correct your form and changes how your foot strikes the ground, resulting in fewer injuries.

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It’s My Birthday And I’ll Do Burpees If I Want To

I'm celebrating with one burpee for each year -- god help me! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and

I’m celebrating with one burpee for each year — god help me! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and

No birthday cake for me today. I celebrate with one burpee for each year followed by 1 hour of yoga.

So yes, that’s more than the 30 burpees a day I’m doing for the Spartan Challenge.

That’s just how I roll.

But I do get to indulge a little today. I gave my husband an ice cream maker for Christmas. Since a half a cup of vanilla is allowed on Simple Start, he’s making a batch today.

I plan to use strawberries and blueberries for toppings.


Not Quite As Fast As A Speeding Bullet…But Getting There

Pace Aug 8Good progress on the walk today. I’ve reduced my overall pace by 2 minutes, going from 18:48 to 16:46/mile.  Sweet. Tomorrow we’ll see if I can do this two days in a row or if yesterday’s day off skewed today’s results.

A few weeks ago, I set a goal to consistently walking 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. Speed didn’t matter. I set my sights on distance.

I’m happy to report I’ve hit my goal. Now I need to push myself.  What better way than to focus on how fast I walk 4 miles. The new goal? An overall pace of 15 minutes/mile. Right now it takes me about 75 minutes to walk 4 miles. I want to get that down to 60 minutes.  I just need to keep pushing myself, especially on the uphill part of my trail.

split statsLooking at my splits, Mile 3 – the up hill section of my walk – took the longest at 18:29.  I don’t know what happened to me the last mile. At 14:39, it was by far my fastest.  I think I just wanted to get out of the humidity as fast as possible.

I would love to hit the 15 minute/mile mark by mid September. A tall order now that we are in the dog days of summer. But I’m up for the challenge.

Well, time for that protein shake!

Weekly Weigh In – April 27

april 27 weightAfter gaining a 1+ lbs last week, I ended up dropping 5.2 lbs over the last 7 days. The difference? I stuck to my weekly menu – no deviations and no eating out. Plus I successfully completed week 2 of the  Weight Watchers LiveLive Challenge. I stayed active everyday, and not just during my workouts.

I also credit my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. It’s amazing how gaining one little lbs can open up the flood gates of negativity. The meetings really do help me get back on track and keep the big picture in mind.

So now my total weight loss is 72 lbs. Not too shabby!

Switching My Office Chair For An Exercise Ball

Say hello to my new chair!

Say hello to my new chair!

I have a very nice ergonomic home office chair. But I’ve decided to give it up for a GoFit Proball. That’s right, I’ll be doing a core workout while writing this blog. Awesome!

Now, I’m not using one of those ball chairs – the one where the ball sits in a chair frame. That is just stupid. I’m sitting on a real ball…OK, that does sound strange. Bear with me.

When sitting on the ball, my body has to constantly make small adjustments to remain balanced. I’ll use my core (abdominal muscles) to compensate for changes in balance, resulting in a low-key abdominal workout. I spend roughly 2-3 hours online a day. That’s a nice core workout.

Seems like cheating to me. What say you?

Seems like cheating to me. What say you?

As for why I am opposed to the ball chair, I just view it as defeating the purpose. Seems like the balance part is completely removed if the ball is sitting in a frame with arm rests (what, no cup holder?).

Picking the right ball is key. I had to factor in my height, weight and my desk’s height. The ball needs to be about 4 inches higher than my current chair. I’m 5’5” so I’m using a 65cm exercise ball.

The ball gets blown up tonight and I plan to start using it tomorrow. The office chair doesn’t go away. I can only use the ball for 20-minute intervals. That way my muscles can get some rest to prevent fatigue and get maximum benefit.

Now my only major concern is kitty claws.

Should I Up My Strength Training

lifting book coverI missed my Tuesday session with my trainer due to a nasty ear infection and stomach bug. Thankfully I bounced back for today’s session.

I’m tired as hell, but feel great. How does that work?

It really is amazing how I feel after each session. Yes I’m drenched in sweat. My legs feel wobbly. My arms are jello. Yet, I am very relaxed and have an overwhelming desire to go for a long walk. I’ve heard about a runner’s high, perhaps this is something similar.

Right now I’m strength training twice a week and speed walking the other days. But I’m starting to wonder if I should up my strength training. I came across an article in Women’s Health about the value of strength training over cardio. Two stats jumped out at me:

1. Just 21% of women strength train two or more times a week.
2. Two strength training sessions per week can reduce overall body fat by 3 percent in a 10 week span.

The article isn’t about choosing between one or the other. I don’t think I have a choice. I need to do both. It’s about the clear benefits of strength training and encouraging women to take advantage of it. I think women don’t strength train because they fear bulking up too much. Sorry ladies, but we just are not built that way. I promise, you won’t turn into her.

But I’m wondering if my strength training and cardio are out of whack. Right now I’m split 70-30 in favor of cardio. Yes, I do believe that as long as I continue to eat the right foods and exercise, I’ll lose weight. The difference is that with cardio I’ll lose weight, but that can mean fat and muscle. With strength training, I can target my problem areas and lose fat, not muscle.

For the time being, I’ll stick with what I’m currently doing. I’ll re-evaluate around June 1. By that time I should be working again and can see how realistic it is to add another session.

In the meantime, I’ve ordered The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Since I’ve added strength training, I noticed I need to make some adjustments to what I’m eating. I have noticed that my metabolism plunges a few hours after these sessions. Clearly I’m not fueling my body properly. My last couple of sessions, I came home an ate an apple and that seemed to help, but I need to really work in more protein. Problem is, protein is a high point item on Weight Watchers. So I really need to figure out the most bank for the buck without going over my daily points allowance. I’m hopeful that this book can shed some light on the nutrition front.

My First 5K

Crossing the finish line at my first 5K. Next year I'll be running, not walking.

Crossing the finish line at my first 5K. Next year I’ll be running, not walking.

Today was my first 5K and I loved it. I’ve never moved faster. I’ve been averaging 16:38/mile during my 3-mile walks. Not this morning. Say hello to 15:44/mile.

I’m always fastest during my first mile. I just go too fast and start to run out of gas. Well something changed during the 5K. I became progressively faster each mile. By the end of my second mile, I had shaved 10 seconds off of my first mile pace. By the time mile 3 came and went, I was 8 seconds faster than mile 2.

I didn’t feel winded. I didn’t run out of gas. So what gives?

During the 5K, my competitive juices kicked in. I officially wasn’t racing. I didn’t have a timer since I was a walker. But as the 5K progressed, I picked out people who I needed to catch up with and pass. I have no idea why, but that became my motivation. Perhaps its simply because when I do my daily walks I’m alone. It’s just me against my timer. Not today!

Pack of teenage girls engaged in the world’s most insipid, shallow conversation…had to blow past them so my head wouldn’t explode.

The gaggle of old lady power walkers who had an incredibly fast pace at the beginning…became the hares to my tortoise.

But hats off to one woman who I designated my archenemy. She walked a very steady pace. Throughout the race, she was the one I had to catch. No matter how close I got, I couldn’t pass her. It was infuriating. How did I get so close only have her pull further away? It wasn’t until the middle of mile 2 that I learned her secret. She would walk for 5 minutes then breakout into a jog for 30 seconds. She was interval training during the 5K. As soon as I caught up to her or even passed her, she would just breakout into a jog and blow right past me. It only made me want to go faster – but since I haven’t started interval training, running is my kryptonite. She used her ninja powers to finish about 6 seconds ahead of me. Thanks to that “defeat,” my interval training will start soon.

Next year I plan to kick her ass.