Thanksgiving Fun

Happy Thanksgiving!!

What a busy week it has been. I’m very happy to report that I’ve managed to stay extremely active during this festive week, despite being away from home. Unfortunately with all the travel some unfortunate diet choices had to be made, but you do what you can. First, the food run down…

I’m some kind of weirdo who doesn’t really like traditional Thanksgiving food, so for me it’s just another dinner. I was at a family gathering in DC and we went out for the big dinner. My plate consisted of some white meat turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and a little bit of baked ziti (ok, and a martini). All that other “good” stuff (cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie) – ick. Never have liked it. So that meal went pretty well.

Anyway, I managed to keep my other meals KIND OF healthy. Breakfasts were great – scrambled eggs with veggies and potatoes. Lunches were a bit of a mess, including one day at the Air & Space Museum where the only choices were literally McDonald’s, some horrible looking pizza, and a Boston Market combo that sounded just as unhealthy as McDonald’s. So, burgers it was. My husband and I did haul a bunch of fruit and veggies along on the trip so we had some good snacks on hand to try and curb the cravings and keep the carbs to a minimum!

As for staying active, the past 12 days have been a success. Before I left Illinois, I managed to squeeze in one more run, and a strength training routine:

  • 3 minute warm up walk
  • 6 x 3 minute walk, 1 minute run
  • 3 minute cool down walk

Followed by the Tuesday workout from the DailyHiit 8 Week Total Body Challenge:

The strength training workout pretty much wrecked me and I was sore for days. By the time I was walking comfortably I was on a girls’ weekend to the mountains. We had a blast in the cold fall air, and got some great hikes in – again keeping active! The highlight was a 5 mile round trip hike to a great overlook point, including the ruins of an unfinished hotel from the 1920’s.

Hotel ruins

Hotel ruins

Hotel fireplace

Hotel fireplace

Overlook point in the Catskills

Overlook point in the Catskills

Squeezed in a rowing class at a new studio before heading out for the holiday. This class was on a water rower. It looks fancy, but honestly I think I prefer the Concept2.

First day of our holiday excursion, my husband and I both wanted to get some activity in. Unfortunately we were in the midst of a nor’easter. Ugh. Nevermind the rain and cold, we dragged the dogs out and I got a mile and a half walk in.

Cue the big turkey day! I woke up early with every intention of working out. Turns out lying in bed was pretty awesome so I stayed there for a while. I did make it to the hotel gym, just a little behind schedule 😉 I decided to do some strength work for a quick, efficient workout. I mean, I had a Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch so I didn’t want to dally around in they gym! I decided to do a 12 minute AMRAP from Tamalpais CrossFit:

I’m not going to lie, I almost decided to just make this 7 cleans and 7 thrusters and take out the burpees. Seriously, this is the kind of crap my mind tries to pull. Luckily I snapped myself out of that ridiculous idea and did the full WOD, as intended. I’m happy to report that I made it through 2 rounds plus 7 cleans and 7 thrusters and 1 burpee. I’m looking forward to trying this quick and simple workout again in a month or two to see if I can up the weight and/or rounds.

That same day we decided to walk home from dinner which was around 2 2/3 miles. I’m not sure everyone was on board with this plan, but I loved it – it was so fun to see a city by walking through it.

Finally back at home for a few weeks before more holiday travel madness, with a full week of Classpass classes booked. Lots of rowing, yoga and a little dance on the schedule.

Did you all have a happy and active Thanksgiving?! With even more holiday travel coming up, I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to keep active when you’re away from home and a regular routine!

Dealing with the Little Bumps in the Road

A slow workout week, since my knee was sore from the 7 miles of marathon walking last weekend! I knew I was just sore and not injured, but didn’t want to aggravate the soreness, so I laid off the cardio.

Instead, I hit up my beloved restorative yoga with Gina at Ishta Downtown on Monday. Although I’m at a relatively low-stress period in my life, I still find great benefits from these restorative and meditative classes. I can’t imagine what wonders they would have worked had I discovered them in more stressful times.

On Wednesday my knee was still bugging me, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting in some sweat time! I guess one thing I’ve learned from being hurt so often is not to give up when there are bumps in the road. So, I did some body weight exercises that wouldn’t stress my knee with repetitive motion. I ended up doing:

With the exception of the pushups and side planks, all of these exercises have been prescribed to me by physical therapists in the past to help with weak/deactivated glutes. That glute weakness leads to knee and hip issues in both legs. I was really proud of myself that instead of sulking that I was sore, I was able to turn it into an opportunity to strengthen some weak areas!! Huge mental progress for me.

Thursday also tested my mental strength. I was having a hard time sticking to my clean eating. I had some appointments in the evening, I was super hungry and Five Guys was calling my name. BUT — I resisted, and had a lovely dinner of delicious, paleo leftovers. Exercising my willpower muscles big time!

Friday was Zumba time! My knee was all clear by Friday, and I had a blast in class. Apparently my best move is twerking. The instructor went nuts. Who knew?

I was feeling great with the fresh knee and a good sweat on Friday, so I decided that today would be the day I went for a run. I had taken a few weeks off when I developed some really nagging and concerning pain in my foot. It was a crisp, cold, beautiful day in Brooklyn, and I just HAD to be outside. I picked up right where I had left off with:

  • 5 minute warm up walk
  • 12 x 2 minute walk, 20 second run
  • 2 minute brisk walk
  • 5 minute cool down walk

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It was so great to finally get out and get some running in, if only for a few minutes. I can definitely tell that the classes I’ve been taking this last month are translating to my running. Yay crosstraining! I closed out my week by registering for a few Classpass classes for next week!

Overall it was a really fantastic week in which I overcame some mental hurdles. They may not have been major obstacles, but I feel like these opportunities to make positive decisions will help out when something bigger comes my way. As one of my biggest inspirations says, “Just keep moving forward!”.

Hope you all had a wonderful week! What opportunities have you had recently for making positive decisions?

This Week in Paleo

After nearly three weeks of having company, traveling and being sick, I finally had a “real” week to get back on the paleo track. This week featured lots of green salads (spinach, kale and arugula) with lots of veggies (peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber and olives). I also made an amazing crock pot pot roast with a beautiful grass fed roast, red onion, carrots and fingerling potatoes. I have no recipe to link because it went a little something like this:

Cut up a red onion and cover the bottom of the crock pot. Place roast on top. Salt and pepper the roast. Chop carrots and potatoes and place on top. Cook on low for 8 hours. That’s it. And it was delicious! I learned that carrots are much more popular than potatoes in our house, so I’ll have to adjust for that next time.

Salad and pot roast leftovers got us through last week. This weekend we cooked up my favorite paleo taco recipe. I roasted some poblano peppers and threw those in a pico (I don’t use a recipe, I just chop up and stir together plum tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and lots of lime juice). Made taco salads with chopped iceberg lettuce (I know there’s like…no nutritional value here, but I like the contrast of the cold crunch with the warm and spicy of the taco meat), some shredded cheese, my pico and olives. So much yum!

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and saw a lovely grass-fed skirt steak, so for dinner I whipped up a skirt steak salad. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, seared each side for about a minute each, then threw the whole cast iron pan of goodness in the oven about 6 minutes (once removed from over I gave the steak 10 minutes to rest). Whipped up a blue cheese vinaigrette (1/4 cup olive oil, 3 T red wine vinegar, 1/2 t oregano and 1/4 lb. blue cheese) and dressed some arugula. Sliced the steak and placed on top. That dressing really could have used a healthy dose of salt and pepper – will remember that for next time because I will definitely be making this again! Skirt steak is a delicious but relatively cheap cut of steak that often gets overlooked! And I posted a picture to Instagram of my dessert – a gala apple, some Gruyere cheese, walnuts and raisins. A delicious treat!

Tonight I had a pound of grass-fed beef left over that I wanted to cook before it spoiled. On the fly, whipped up the following:

Last minute stir fry!

Last minute stir fry!

Another no-recipe meal, I browned a pound of beef with about a clove of minced garlic and some salt, then added a bag of frozen peppers & onions and a bag of frozen carrots, broccoli, snap peas & water chestnuts. Added a little soy sauce (I know, not so paleo but it’s what I had), and BOOM, STIR FRY. It turned out to be pretty delicious!

What are your favorite quick and easy paleo meals?

Barbara #1

This spring I started Crossfit. While my time was limited (injury + my coaches/friends leaving the gym), it was my all-time favorite physical activity. I haven’t been able to make it back to a box, but why not try some Crossfit at home? Monday I decided to see just how truly out of shape I was by tackling a modified Barbara.

This benchmark workout is as follows:

Five rounds, for time:

  • 20 pull-ups
  • 30 push-ups
  • 40 sit-ups
  • 50 squats
  • 3 minutes rest

HAHAHA. Well, I decided upfront that I would only be attempting ONE round instead of FIVE (seriously, FIVE?!), with jumping pull-ups and push-ups on my knees. That decision, and assessment of my physical fitness level, was spot on, as this single round (not timed exactly, but making my best guess) took me somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 minutes. I guess that’s why they call these benchmarks, huh? Now I will know where I started, and will hopefully one day look back on this with pride on how far I’ve come. Until that day, I’ll be here plugging away…

To help make this possible I really cleaned up my diet in the past few days. Just look at this salad in all it’s veggie splendor!

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Spinach, carrots, celery, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, green olives, olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and a dash of garlic salt. This is pretty much my go to lunch, as long as I plan ahead. When I don’t plan, or too easily let myself make excuses I end up eating garbage, when this is so easy and delicious.

What are you favorite quick and easy Paleo lunch choices?