Friday, April 8, 2011




Going to Pittsburgh for the weekend to see my sister!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I woke up this morning at 6:30 ready to bang out a leg workout before my internship. But I felt AWFUL. I was sore and nauseous and my head and throat hurt. I took some Tylenol Daytime and Maalox and laid on the ground for awhile to see if I would feel better. Then I finally decided to go ahead and go to the gym, figuring that would either make me feel a lot better or a lot worse.

At the gym, I did squats and leg presses...then ran to the bathroom to throw up. Oh hi, last night's spinach! (No there's no picture haha).

Then I walked back to my apartment, called in sick to my internship, got into bed, and slept for the next 9 hours.

This is seriously the WORST time for me to be sick. First I can't afford to miss my internship (I'm going through resumes and pre-screening applicants to replace me this summer), second I have a group presentation for my Financial Management class at 9am tomorrow, and most importantly I'm supposed to visit my sister in Pittsburgh this weekend. We haven't seen each other since Christmas, and I was really looking forward to this.

Finally around 6:30 pm I got up and ate some greek yogurt with raspberries and walnuts:

x2 because it was the only thing that sounded appealing. It felt really good on my sore throat. Then I went to the business school to spend a couple hours putting together a powerpoint for tomorrow's presentation.

I'm going to finish up some economics homework that's due tomorrow, then get to bed early. Please, please let me feel better in the morning!

EDIT: I ate a bowl of strawberries + walnuts + soymilk before bed!

5x5, Upper Body Edition

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling SO sore from Monday's leg workout and decided not to go to the gym, which was good timing because I had a lot of work to do anyway. Wednesday morning I got up bright and early to work out my upper body before class.

Upper Body 5x5

  • Bench Press: 45 lbs, 55 lbs, 55 lbs, 55 lbs, 65 lbs (8 reps each)
  • Seated Military Press: 20 lb dumbbells, 8 reps x 5 sets
  • Chest Press: 20 lb dumbbells, 8 reps x 5 sets
  • Pushups: 10 x 5 sets
  • Tricep Dips: 10 x 5 sets
I love working out in the morning! It's so much easier now that the days are getting longer and warmer.

Breakfast was the usual:

2% greek yogurt with raspberries and walnuts:

+ unpictured egg puff

My snacks for the day were a grapefruit and half a cup of almonds:

Plus this new protein bar:

Check out the nutritional stats:

It's less protein than I normally go for in a bar (I shoot for 1g per 10 calories) but I like that it's relatively very low-carb and low-sugar. And it tastes just like a vanilla wafer!

My last class was cancelled which was awesome because I was SO tired. I came home and slept for 4 hours. When I woke up around 8:30 it was time for dinner: spinach, salmon patty, and mango. 

I mixed up half of bag of Trader Joe's frozen chopped spinach with 2 egg whites and feta cheese and baked it at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. I saw the recipe somewhere in the blog world but can't remember where--I'll link to it later if I do!

Plus a bowl of strawberries while the spinach was baking.

And half a square of dark chocolate after (unpictured). I watched The Biggest Loser on my laptop while I was eating, then went to bed around 10:30--super early for me!

Oh and my booty is coming back!

It goes into hibernation during the winter when I stop running, then comes back for the spring. Meaning that I go up/down a pants size from summer to winter, but I think its worth it! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Spring is finally here! We hit a high of 85 today. I was super-excited to break out my shorts for class:

Button-down: Express
Tank Top: H&M
Belt: Express
Shorts: Express
Flats: Tory Burch

(Sorry for the horrible quality picture, I just really liked my outfit!)

So I spent the weekend doing LOTS of reading about weightlifting, and based on my research I am going to focus my lifting on two things:

1) Performing compound moves like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and pull-ups that work multiple major muscle groups. (Bonus: this is how you get abs!)

2) Lifting heavier weights. Performing 15 reps means that my weights are too light! I am going to shoot for a weight that I can lift 8 times and see if I can feel my muscles give out at the end.

Also based on my reading, I decided to try a 5x5 for today's lower-body workout: 5 exercises with 5 sets (of 8 reps each). I was so excited all day to do this new workout!

Lower-body 5x5

  • Barbell deadlift: 65 lbs (including bar), 8 reps x5
  • Barbell squat: 35 lbs (including bar--might have been more), 8 reps x5
  • Barbell hamstring deadlift: 55 lbs (same),  8 reps x5
  • Barbell sumo squats: 35 lbs (same), 8 reps x5
  • Split squats: 40 lbs, 8 reps/leg x5
All I can say is WOW! I almost never sweat that heavily from weights alone but I was soaked and I think I was even dripping sweat on the floor (I know, I'm gross). I have to admit I was intimidated walking into a weight room full of guys and doing a "man" exercise that I've never tried before. I was worried that I would embarrass myself with bad form or puny weights, but I just reminded myself to stay focused and not worry about anyone else. And I know that my strength and form will only improve as I practice.

Speaking of which, I definitely could have squatted heavier weights--I just couldn't get the barbell picked up over my head! Hopefully as I improve my upper body strength, I'll be able to squat more too, but in the meantime I think I'm also going to utilize the Smith machine to squat higher weights.

This took about 35-40 minutes. I followed up with stretching and some quick abs (x2):
  • 60 second plank
  • 15 crunches with 16-lb medicine ball
  • 20 twists with 16-lb medicine ball (feet off ground)
I wanted to go on a run afterwards because it's FINALLY warm outside (85 degrees) but my legs were just too tired! I had to remind myself to not feel guilty for squandering a nice day because the weather is going to keep getting better and there will be plenty of time in the future.

For dinner I had 7oz tilipia, a whole bag of roasted broccoli, and a mango:

Other meals consisted of:
  • Breakfast: 2% Fage greek yogurt with walnuts and raspberries and 2 egg + 2 white puff
  • Daytime snacks: Apple, 1/2 c raw almonds (even better than roasted!), 2 protein bars
  • After-dinner snack: 0% Fage with walnuts and raspberries
You might have noticed that I don't eat lunch--on Monday and Wednesday I have classes from 9:30 to 4:45 with no breaks so I would rather carry snacks that I can easily eat in class. Same for Tuesdays and Thursdays when I am out of the house from at least 9-4 including metro time. I try to eat a "real" dinner with veggies and lean protein to balance it out!

 Well I'm off to bed--I might have another yogurt before I go to sleep because I'm still hungry! Night!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Outdoor Run and Grocery Run

Today is my rest day from lifting weights, so I decided to go to a park about 10 miles away to run outside:

(From internet--it's not this spring-y yet!)

I ran around the park and some of the trails and probably did about 3 miles. It took me awhile to find the park itself and then to figure out the trails so all in all it wasn't the most efficient workout, but Trader Joes was right on the way home so I was able to stock up on groceries for the week.


  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Fuji apples
  • Broccoli
  • Baby broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Brussel sprouts

Everything Else:

  • Plain unsweetened soymilk
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Raw almonds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Mango black tea
  • Protein bars

I love shopping at Trader Joe's--they have all my staple foods at cheap prices and it's small enough that I can get in and out in 20 minutes.

For lunch I had a whole block of crispy tofu (I'm obsessed!) and the baby broccoli. All I did was slice the tofu and spray the broccoli with cooking spray. So easy!

The funny thing about this meal is that it looks and tastes really high fat--the broccoli seems kinda oily and the tofu seems fried. But actually the only fat comes from the tofu itself--18 g and that's for a whole block! (Not that I am trying to avoid fat--it's just oddly deceptive.)

Followed by a giant bowl of strawberries--some of them were mushy so I wanted to cut them up right away.

And some dark chocolate:

I also tried a cup of my new mango tea and it was delicious--I'm about to make another cup to drink while I get started on my homework. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Short + Hard

On Fridays I have class from 2-5, so it's the one weekday I can sleep in AND still hit the gym in the morning. I took full advantage today and slept til 11am.

Before the gym I ate a cup of greek yogurt:

I decided to do something new today and try a shorter workout with more weights and barbells instead of dumbbells:

Lower Body Workout

I finished up with a few planks. 

The verdict? Hard! Even though this is less exercises than normal for me I was sweating by the end and really feeling it. Plus it only took me 30 minutes. If I can work out more efficiently that's fine by me!

I replenished my protein with eggs (2 yolks plus 2 whites), a 7 oz tilapia filet, and a pear.

Actually got too full to eat the pear, so I brought it to class with me.

Along with my favorite protein bar.

After class I came right home and started studying for Business Law. I have an exam next week and I did poorly on the last one so I want to do well on this one. I have to say that B-Law is my least favorite class. It's the only class where I have to FORCE myself to read the textbook. But I managed to read and take notes on three chapters, and make notecards!

Dinner was half a block of tofu with broccoli and carrots tossed in olive oil:

The tofu was perfectly crispy and so easy--all I did was slice it and bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. I always used to stirfry tofu, but I think oven beats stirfry hands down.

Well back to work--Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Business Outfit plus Upper Body and Abs

In case I hadn't mentioned before, I'm a finance and economics major. I intern on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the private wealth management division of a major financial services provider/investment bank. (I won't say the name but you've heard of it.) The dress code is pretty formal. Usually I play it safe with dress pants and a button-down, but I've been trying to switch up my look a little and utilize more of my workrobe.

Today's outfit:

Shirt: BCBG
Belt: Express (it's my favorite belt!)
Pants: Express (literally my one pair of dress pants that desperately need washed)
Bracelet: Coach outlets (18th bday present from my boyfriend at the time)
Bag: DKNY via Lord and Taylors

After work I completed a ridiculous arm workout. I switched up the exercises that I normally do and focused on targeting one muscle group per circuit. It took about 60 minutes:

Upper Body Workout (60 minutes)

Circuit 1: Biceps (10 lb dumbbells, 15 reps x3)
  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Seated preacher curls
Circuit 2: Triceps (x3)
  • Lying triceps extension: 10 lb dumbbells, 15 reps
  • Standing triceps extension: 15 lb dumbbell, 15 reps
  • Tricep kickbacks: 10 lb dumbbell, 15 reps per arm
  • Tricep dips: 10 reps
Circuit 3: Shoulders/Back (x3)
  • Bent-over rows: 15 lb dumbbell, 15 reps per arm
  • Lateral raise: 10 lb dumbbells, 15 reps
  • Upright rows: 10 lb dumbbells, 12 reps
  • Front raise: 10 lb dumbbells, 10 reps
Circuit 4: Shoulders (on stability ball -- 10 lb dumbbells, x3)
  • Seated military press: 15 reps
  • "Arnold press": 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotators: 15 reps
Circuit 5: Chest (12 reps x3)
  • Seated lat bar pull-down: 40 lbs
  • Lever seated fly: 40 lbs
  • Incline chest press: 15 lb dumbbells
  • Incline dumbbell flies: 15 lb dumbbells
This was HARD! My muscles were crying at the end. I think I will feel it tomorrow.

I then completed a 20 minute sprint interval workout:

Sprint Intervals (20 minutes)

  • 0-1: 4.0 mph
  • 1-2: 8.0 mph
  • 2-3: 4.0 mph
  • 3-4: 8.5 mph
  • 4-5: 4.0 mph
  • 5-6: 9.0 mph
  • 6-7: 4.0 mph
  • 7-8: 9.5 mph
  • 8-9: 4.0 mph
  • 9-9.5: 10.0 mph
  • 9.5-11: 4.0 mp
  • 11-12: 9.5 mph
  • 12-13: 4.0 mph
  • 13-14: 9.0 mph
  • 14-15: 4.0 mph
  • 15-16: 8.5 mph
  • 16-17: 4.0 mph
  • 17-18: 8.0 mph
  • 18-20: 4.0 mph
Followed by 10 minutes of incline treadmill walking reading April's edition of Cosmopolitan :)

And about 10 minutes of abs:

Ab Workout 
  • 30 seconds plank
  • 15 double crunches with 6 lb medicine ball
  • 30 seconds plank
  • 15 side crunches (per side)
  • 30 seconds plank
  • 20 ball twists with raised feet and 6 lb medicine ball
  • 30 seconds plank
  • 15 standing side crunches (per side) with 20 lb medicine ball
  • 30 seconds plank
As you can see I like doing planks! Well actually I don't, but I read that planks are the most important exercise to stabilize and pull in your core abdominal muscles--which makes sense--so I've been making them the focus of every ab workout.

For that matter, I don't think it's necessary, or even beneficial, to do extensive ab work or ridiculous amounts of crunches. The only way to get well-defined abs is to eliminate the layer of fat covering the muscle. You do this through your diet and overall total-body exercise--you can't just spot-train your way to a six-pack! If you take care of the lifting and clean eating, then you only need a few minutes of abs a couple days a week to see results. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Becoming a Real Blogger :)

So I thought I'd actually be a real blogger and post what I ate for once:

For breakfast (around 9am) I had a container of Fage 2% plain greek yogurt and eggs:

When I first started eating Greek yogurt, I had to mix in a ton of berries and walnuts. But now I like it plain! Also I had finished off my strawberries last night.

I always make my eggs the same way: 2 whole eggs plus 2 whites in a flat puff. It looks like a pancake and is easy to pick up and eat with my hands! Sometimes I add feta cheese but I am cutting back on the cheese now that I'm eating so much yogurt because my body's not used to a lot of dairy.

I have 5 classes from 9:30 to 4:45 every Monday and Wednesday. Because of my schedule I never eat a real lunch. My snacks for the day were half a cup of almonds and a sliced Fuji apple with cinnamon:

Would you believe that I just started eating almonds for the first time in 4 years? I used to eat them all the time then they started giving me headaches so I thought I might be allergic and gave them up. But I tried some on a whim over spring break and didn't have any bad reactions so I'm bringing them back into my diet! Previously the only nuts I was eating were walnuts, which I like with berries or chocolate, but almonds are a better stand-alone food. And they're great to snack on during class--I'm trying to get away from eating so many protein bars!

My outfit today (not super-exciting):

Shirt: Express
Leggings: Forever 21
Cuff: H&M
Bag: Kate Spade Outlets

I had a different outfit planned for today but once I heard it was going to rain I had to wear leggings. I think they go better with boots. And yes, I am wearing leggings as pants but so does everyone on my campus so I didn't get any weird looks.

I intended to go to the gym right after class but it was raining and I was tired so I ended up lying in bed reading blogs for an hour until I got motivated. I've been reading April's blog from the beginning and just discovered Katie at Faith Food & Fitness--I'm excited to start following her! I also ate my last Greek yogurt :(

Finally I got up to go the gym. My campus has 2 gyms: a big, state-of-the-art one about a mile and a half from me that I can drive to, or run if it's nice outside; and an older not-so-nice basement gym within walking distance. I like to switch it up between the two. Today I opted to drive to the nicer one. It has a lot more machines so I was able to add some variety to my leg workout.

Lower Body Workout (75 minutes)
  • Seated Leg Press: 130 lbs, 15 reps x 3
  • Standing Hip Abduction: 100 lbs, 10 reps per leg x 3
  • 45 Degree Leg Press: 90 lbs, 15 reps x 3
  • Hack Squat: 90 lbs, 15 reps x 3
  • Hamstring Deadlift: 30 lb barbell, 15 reps x 3
  • Split Squats: 15 lb dumbbells, 10 reps per leg x 3
  • Lever Alternating Leg Press: 45 lbs, 10 reps per leg x 3
  • V-Squat: 90 lbs on each side, 8 reps x 3
  • Seated Leg Curl: 50 lbs, 12 reps x 3
  • Bent-over Leg Curl: 50 lbs (I think), 10 reps per leg x 3
  • Kneeling Leg Curl: 50 lbs, 12 reps per leg x 3
  • Seated Hip Abduction (Inner Thigh): 70 lbs, 12 reps x 3
  • Seated Hip Abduction (Outer Thigh): 50 lbs, 12 reps x 3
I used this website to get new ideas and to figure out how to use some of the machines I was unfamiliar with. It is an amazing resource! I was so excited about trying new machines that I ended up spending about 75 minutes on this workout, so I skipped cardio even though I had a new Cosmo to read :(

I made a quick run to Giant for more greek yogurt! Usually I get all my groceries at Trader Joes and Target, but I wanted to make it a short trip Giant was the closest. I bought:
  • 10 (!!) individual servings of Fage 2% plain greek yogurt plus one quart of Choikos plain 0%
  • 4 pints of strawberries (they were on sale!)
  • 2 mangos
  • 2 cartons of light Minute Maid lemonade (only 15 calories per 8oz and so good!)
  • Frozen tilipia
  • 2 bags of frozen brussel sprouts
I also found a new kind of tea:

Right now I have 4 different types of ginger tea! Plus Tazo Organic Chai and Passion Fruit. I drink at least two or three cups per day.

When I got home around 9:15 pm I was starving! I tossed a ton of broccoli, carrots, and a yellow summer squash in a tsp of olive oil plus salt and roasted it in the oven while I was showering. This is my favorite way to make veggies! Then I microwaved about 8 oz of leftover ahi tuna to go with it. I meant to take a picture but I was so hungry I forgot.

After dinner I had a pint of sliced strawberries with a packet of splenda. 

Normally I never put sweetener on food but this is my one exception; it reminds me of eating strawberries and sugar as a kid! I also had dark chocolate; I eat some almost every day:

I finished off the remaining half of the black 85% cocoa bar along with a cup of my new tea. They were both delicious! Last night I woke up starving around 3am so hopefully that won't happen tonight. Night! (I'll finish adding pictures tomorrow)

Arms and Interval

I posted a leg workout about three weeks ago, so I thought I'd share with you an arm workout that I typically do. It takes about 50 minutes and is pretty intense!

Arm Workout

Circuit 1: Chest and Triceps (on stability ball -- 15 reps x 3)

  • Chest press: 15 lb dumbbells
  • Dumbbell flyers: 15 lb dumbbells
  • Tricep extension: 15 lb dumbbell (just one)
Circuit 2: Shoulders (on stability ball -- x3)
  • Seated military press: 10 lb dumbbells, 15 reps
  • Seated straight-arm raises (to front): 10 lb dumbbells, 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotators: 10 lb dumbbells, 15 reps
Circuit 3: Biceps and Triceps (15 reps x 3)
  • Bicep curls: 10 lb dumbbells
  • Standing tricep extension: 15 lb dumbbell (just one)
  • Hammer curls: 10 lb dumbbells
  • Tricep kickback: 10 lb dumbbell (both sides)
Circuit 4: Back and Shoulders (x3)
  • Bent-over rows: 15 lb dumbbell, 15 reps on both sides
  • Straight-arm raises (to side): 10 lb dumbbells, 10 reps
  • Upright rows: 10 lb dumbbells, 10-15 reps
Circuit 5: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps (x3)
  • Lateral fly machines: 40 lbs, 15 reps
  • Cable fly machine: 40 lbs, 15 reps
  • Tricep dips, 12 reps
I was happy to get back in the gym; I worked out my arms using dumbbells at home twice over spring break but it's just not the same! Yesterday I worked out my legs and did an easy-ish hour on the elliptical reading the April Marie Claire (alternating between resistance levels 15 and 10), so I wanted to do some high-intensity cardio today. I came up with a KILLER two-part interval workout:

Part 1: Sprint Intervals, 25 minutes

  • 0-1: 4.0 mph, 5.0 incline
  • 1-3: 8.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 3-4: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 4-6: 8.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 6-7: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 7-9: 9.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 9-11: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 11-12.5: 9.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 12.5-14: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 14-15: 10.0 mph , 1.0 incline
  • 15-17: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 17-18: 9.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 18-19: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 19-20: 9.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 20-21: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 21-22: 8.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 22-23: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 23-24: 8.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 24-25: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline

Part 2: Incline Walking, 15 minutes

  • 0-5: 4.0 mph, 5.0 incline
  • 5-6: 4.0 mph, 10.0 incline
  • 6-7: 4.0 mph, 9.0 incline
  • 7-8: 4.0 mph, 8.0 incline
  • 8-9: 4.0 mph, 7.0 incline
  • 9-10: 4.0 mph, 6.0 incline
  • 10-11: 4.0 mph , 5.0 incline
  • 11-12: 4.0 mph, 4.0 incline
  • 12-13: 4.0 mph, 3.0 incline
  • 13-14: 3.0 mph, 2.0 incline
  • 14-15: 2.0 mph, 2.0 incline

I haven't done high-intensity interval training in so long, and it was INTENSE. I was sweating so hard that my mascara was running down my cheeks and I looked like I was crying. The incline walking was surprising challenging. I intended it to be just a cool-down but it turned into a nice workout that really targeted my glutes but still was slow enough that I could read the latest People magazine. I've read that you're only supposed to do HIIT 2x a week and I'm hoping that's true because it was pretty hard!

Well, it's time for me to get to bed and maybe tomorrow I'll take pictures of my food for once!

Charleston Recap

I finally have some pictures so I thought I'd post them!

Monument by the water
I went to Charleston with my parents last week for spring break. I think it was originally suppose to be a romantic getaway for my parents, but I insisted on tagging along :) No way was I going to let them go to the beach for during my spring break without me!

Downtown Charleston was GORGEOUS! It's one of the nation's oldest cities and was full of historical homes and elaborate gardens. 
Home in downtown Charleston

We rented a house on Folly Beach, a funky little beach town about 15 minutes away from downtown Charleston. Our house was RIGHT on the beach, as in you could just leave my towel when you went inside to pee (it's the little things, right?)

View from our porch
I was a little sad about leaving the gym for 5 days, but I figured that Charleston would be a great place to run and I was not disappointed! The weather was perfect, the roads were flat, and I got to watch the sun rise (on the one day I actually woke up early enough!) I ran (approximately) 5 miles on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, and 6 on Thursday.

There is just something about running by the water that makes the whole experience 10x better. I have to have warm weather (as in above 60 degrees) and a aesthetically pleasing environment (ie not a treadmill) to get motivated run, so it doesn't happen very often. But if I lived at the beach I swear I'd be a marathoner.

I also got in a nice arm workout on a kayaking trip. We kayaked for 3.8 miles.

Me and the 'rents

On the last day of our vacation we visited Magnolia Gardens. It was gorgeous!

Old plantation at Magnolia Gardens

The one thing I failed on was taking pictures of my meals :( I was a little intimidated to whip out my camera at the restaurants. I wish I had though, because we had some amazing meals! 

We ate fish every day, including: shrimp, oysters, scallops, crab cakes, calamari, tuna, salmon, tilapia, and swordfish. Whew!  I don't eat starches so I always roll with a salad or double veggies as a side. Some of the veggies I enjoyed were zucchini, broccolini (it's a cross between broccoli and asparagus), corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus. 

My family doesn't usually order desserts at restaurants but this trip I really wanted some desserts. I'm blaming all the dessert pics I see on food blogs! Fortunately my dad has a big sweet tooth too so we overruled my mom who is not big on sweets. Desserts included key lime pie, key lime cheesecake, chocolate cake, and leftover cookies from a waiter's wedding (yes really!)

I will try to put together a better posts on restaurants later because there were so many good ones! But overall I loved Charleston--I am dying to go back and I think we are going to return the following May when my sister will be able to come too (her spring break fell earlier this year but don't feel too sorry for her because she went to Belize). By then I will be a college graduate--crazy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Camera Woes and Wednesday Workout

I am horrible at blogging.

Actually, scratch that. I am horrible at taking pictures.

I was camera-less for almost 2 years after, um, a smashed-camera incident one night freshman year. My old camera was a Canon powershot and I loved it. Finally I decided to bite the bullet and get a new one. (I am the worst procrastinator at buying technology stuff I need--when my laptop battery died it took me TEN MONTHS to buy a new one during which time I had to carry the extension cord around everywhere).

I really like the Nikon Coolpix S4000 with a touch screen and spend forever trying to find it. But when I finally got it I was pretty disappointed. The touch screen is hard to use, and the picture quality seemed poor. Granted, I may just have it on the wrong lighting settings, but I wouldn't know because I have the language set in Dutch and can't figure out how to get it back to English.

Can you tell I am terrible at technology?

Anyway, I think I am going to return it and get the Nikon Coolpix S3000, which I think will be easier to use plus it's smaller and a little bit cheaper. I want to take care of that before Saturday because I'm going to Shamrockfest with two of my friends from high school who are back on spring break, and I want pictures!

In the meantime, since I don't have any pictures I thought I'd post my workout from tonight:

Part 1: 60 minutes legs (each exercise 15 reps x 3 sets)

  • Leg press: 45 lb each side
  • Circuit of squats, hamstring deadlifts, and lunges: 15 lb dumbbells
  • Hack squat: 45 lb each side
  • Leg extension: (setting 3)
  • Sumo squat: 20 lb dumbbell
  • Squats on power rack: 17.5 lb each side
  • Inner thigh abductor: (setting 6)
  • Outer thigh abductor: (setting 5)
  • One-leg hamstring deadlift: 15 lb dumbbells
Part 2: 30 minutes elliptical (alternating between resistance level 15 and 10)

Part 3: 15 minutes abs
  • Circuit One (x3): 60 seconds plank, 60 seconds right side plank, 60 seconds left plank, 10 double leg lifts
  • Circuit Two (x3): 15 crunches with 10 lb weight, 15 twists with 10 lb weight & legs off floor
Part 4: 15 minutes treadmill interval workout
  • 0-1: 7.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 1-2: 7.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 2-3: 8.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 3-4: 8.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 4-6: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 6-7: 8.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 7-8: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 8-9: 8.5 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 9-10: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 10-11: 9.0 mph , 1.0 incline
  • 11-12: 4.0 mph, 1.0 incline
  • 12-13: 3.5 mph, 1.5 incline
  • 13-14: 3.0 mph, 2.0 incline
  • 14-15: 2.0 mph, 2.0 incline
That workout felt amazing! It was a little longer than usual, but I hadn't lifted since Friday and hadn't exercised at all since Sunday. Writing down part 1 took me forever because I don't know the names of any machines. I tend to call them things like "lie-down leg-pusher," which actually isn't much different from the real names. It's good to know what they're called though.

I wasn't planning on doing an interval workout but once I added it in I was so glad I did. I listened to "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones which is the BEST running song and the perfect length to get me through the first four minutes of straight running--exactly 0.5 mile. Then I listened to "Money for Nothing" by the Dire Straits, another favorite workout song. I am working on adding more HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into my workouts. I am convinced it is more effective and efficient than just spending hours on the elliptical, as I am sometimes guilty of doing.

After I got off the treadmill I felt like I was going to throw up. Call me crazy but I think that's the sign of a good workout! Maybe I just watch too much Biggest Loser because contestants are always puking during the workouts, and Bob and Jillian are cheering them on. When I ran cross-country and track during high school it was inevitable that someone would throw up during our hard-core workouts, but I never did. I always stopped when I felt sick rather than push myself to the next level. 

For my imaginary readers: have you ever thrown up while exercising? Do you see it as a good thing?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Going Greek

I tried Greek yogurt for the first time yesterday!

This is especially significant because I haven't eaten yogurt in over five years. 

I know that's a little strange, so let me explain: I've been a vegetarian for about eight years, since I was twelve. When I was fourteen, I was inspired by a friend to go vegan for a brief stint. That didn't last but what came out of it is that I stopped eating dairy altogether for a number of years. I was never a huge dairy fan--I'd already preferred soymilk to cow's milk, for instance--so giving it up was no big deal. Eventually I re-introduced some dairy back into my diet--namely ice cream and a few types of cheese--but I could never bring myself to eat yogurt--something about the texture and live bacteria inside freaked me out.

I've been trying to muster up the courage to try Greek yogurt for a long time now. The nutrition stats are amazing, it's a super-convenient breakfast or snack, and it would be a healthier and cheaper alternative to my beloved yogiberry.

I finally decided that it was time to go for it. First decision: what fat content? Fat-free seems to defeat my point of exploring a new source of healthy fat, yet the whole yogurt has twice the calories which seems like overkill. I decided to go with 2% Chobani--maybe next time I'll try 4%.

I stirred up a cup of yogurt with blueberries, sliced strawberries, and frozen raspberries and popped it in the freezer for a more yogiberry-like consistency.

The verdict? Delicious!!! It was pretty tart but I prefer that to overly sugary. I ate the container in two days and will be definitely buying more, and maybe some individual serving cups as well.

Question: (as if anyone reads this) What is your favorite brand of Greek yogurt? What fat content do you buy?

Monday, February 28, 2011


So you can learn more about me:
A. Age: 20
B. Bed size: full -- at home and school

C. Chore you hate: scrubbing the shower. It never seems to get clean!
D. Dogs: like 'em, but I wouldn't be a primary caregiver.
E. Essential start to your day: I always stagger out of bed and eat gummy vitamins and a calcium chew
F. Favorite color: pink <3
G. Gold or silver: silver probably looks better on me
H. Height: 5’8
I. Instruments you play: none. I played percussion (ie bells/xylophone) from 4th to 12th grade. I was so bad at it! My sister told me that I was the joke of the marching band even two years after I graduated high school
J. Job title: student
K. Kids: definitely want them someday!
L. Live: keeping that private for now
M. Mom’s name: Beth
N. Nicknames: Shoj, Shan, Non (my floor freshman year called me this because there was a girl on our floor named Chantel whose nickname was was so weird!)
O. Overnight hospital stays: once
P. Pet peeve: people who don't re-rack the weights at the gym--I swear, half my workout comes from using a machine after the guy who can leg-press 360
Q. Quote from a movie: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it." - Ferris Bueller's Day Off "

R. Right or left handed: righty
S. Siblings: younger sister who's a freshman in college
T. Time you wake up: literally anywhere from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. I'll let you guess which end of the spectrum I prefer!
U. Underwear: preferably matching my bra--I try!
V. Vegetables you dislike: mushrooms and olives
W. What makes you run late: EVERYTHING! haha I am seriously late about 80% of the's probably my biggest weakness
X. X-Rays you’ve had: not sure...I think just on my teeth
Y. Yummy food you make: man-catcher brownies from this recipe. They are so decadent! (But haven't caught me a man yet...)
Z. Zoo- hands-down koalas. My dream is to hold one.

Why A Blog?

Hi everyone! My name is Shannon and I'm a 20 year old college junior studying finance and economics. This is my very first post :)

I discovered the world of healthy living blogs about a year and a half ago, and have since then toyed around with the idea of starting my own. I've always been passionate about health, fitness, and writing, so starting a blog seemed like a natural extension. But it wasn't until recently that I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it, and I wanted to share with you guys my reasons:

1. I want to join your ranks

The very first healthy-living blog I read was The Fitnessista back in September 2009. I was instantly enraptured. Gina at The Fitnessista seemed to have her life so together! She was fit, she was healthy, she was happy; she had a wonderful husband, fulfilling career, and enriching personal life. I saw the same qualities in the writers of other blogs that I read--like Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers or Sarah at Skinny Runner. These are things that I want for myself, and these women--most of whom are 3-5 years older than me--are people that I want to emulate. If it takes eating greek yogurt or running a half-marathon (two pasttimes that seem to pop up all over the blog world, amirite?) to "join the ranks," then so be it!

In all seriousness though, I don't have my life figured out yet (career, relationships, body image, etc), and I'm hoping that writing about my experience--and following the experiences of people who may have been in my shoes a couple years ago--will help me grow and develop as I figure out who I am and where I am going. And I hope that anyone who follows my journey can benefit from my experiences as well.

2. I want to practice and improve my writing skills

I always used to say that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. Well, reality set in and here I am majoring in finance and economics instead of creative writing! Don't get me wrong--I love finance too, but my classes don't afford much opportunity for creativity or self-expression. I'm hoping that starting this blog and committing to posting on a regular basis will give me the opportunity to do something I love while sharing my voice and improving my communication skills.

3. I want to eat more varied and interesting foods

A few weeks ago, I was reading an article in which some celebrity was talking about what she ate everyday: eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, salad with a protein for lunch, and fish and vegetables for dinner. That sounds like what I eat! I thought. A moment later, I corrected myself: that sounds like what I wish I ate. The sad reality is that 50% of my meals are protein bars--or at least it feels that way!

In my defense, I'm a busy college student and I'm often on the go for up to eight hours at a time. I used to make the effort to shop for and prepare more elaborate and healthy meals, but it seemed like I'd always end up wasting money on produce that went bad before I could eat it or wasting time on meals that were much more time-intensive and much less tasty than what I envisioned in my head. So I always seem to default to foods that require zero prep time and can be thrown in a bag. But these are hardly the most healthy, satisfying, or mouth-watering choices, so I'm hoping that this blog will force me to expand my culinary horizons and start making some real food! Because, really, who wants to read about protein bars?

4. I want to share my food, fitness, and health philosophies

Protein bar overload notwithstanding, I'm not a complete novice when it comes to eating and exercising right. I'm a huge advocate of a high-protein, limited-carbohydrate diet with plenty of fruits and veggies and lots of healthy fats.

Unfortunately this is a complete antithesis to what many Americans see as healthy eating. I get frustrated when I see the "unhealthy" label slapped on many amazing-for-you foods like whole eggs, (full-fat!) cheese, avocados, nuts, and olive oil. It makes me sad when people deprive themselves of the healthy fats and proteins that they crave and enjoy and that their body needs--especially when restricting these foods often hurts, not helps their weight and fitness goals! I'm hoping that blogging about my food choices will show people that it is possible to look and feel great while eating this way.

5. I want to share...well, everything! 

Okay c'mon...I'm not just going to talk about food here! I like talking about myself--who doesn't? I think that this blog will be a fun outlet to share my thoughts, opinions, outfits, etc. I hope to post about books I've read, clothes I've bought, places I'm going (crossing my fingers that a study abroad trip is in my future!), my input on current events, and so on.

6. I want to use my camera more

After almost two years of being camera-less and relying on my friends to take pictures for me, I'm excited to start utilizing my new Nikon coolpix:

Because seriously, how much fun is it to take pictures of everything?

6. I want to join your ranks, part 2

Everything I've seen within the blog community has led me to believe that it is an amazing network to be part of. The health and fitness blogsphere is full of strong, confident, and fun women, and it holds many opportunities for conferences, fundraisers, networking events, and meet-ups. As a junior in college, I have no clue where I'll be living or what I'll be doing in a year and a half from now. I'm hoping that participating in the blog world will enable me to develop a network of like-minded friends and acquaintances throughout the country, and increase my odds of knowing familiar faces wherever I end up!

*   *    *    *   *   *

Now that you know my reasons behind the blog, I hope you'll stick around and get to know me and see what's going on in my day-to-day life. I'm so excited to embark on this journey, and can't wait to see where it takes me!