Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

  • A Two-fer and a Spin class

    Date: 2010.12.20 | Category: fitness, recipe | Response: View Comments

    It’s only Monday but I have a two-fer for you!  I had a couple of cooking adventures and haven’t shared them yet.  Life gets busy around the holidays doesn’t it?

    My weekend highlights include:

    • Watching Tron in 3D Hot smile
    • Going to a friend’s holiday party.  Mark gave a Susan Boyle Christmas CD for the white elephant exchange.  Hilarious Note
    • Went to a spin class with Mark for the first time ever. Rolling on the floor laughing
    • Got chewed out by a crazy ^&*((%$ at Target for putting my basket on the conveyor belt Vampire bat
    • Watched the Rams play the Chiefs Goat (That’s a goat but it’s close right?)
    • Watched Black Swan Filmstrip

    A good time was had by all.  Now, onto the food.

    The first recipe was what I call Sante Fe Chicken Casserole.


    3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

    2 chopped bell peppers (I used one orange, one green, for color)

    1 can of drained, rinsed black beans

    1/2 cup chopped onion

    Canned, prepared salsa to taste (you could use a whole jar if you wanted to)

    Shredded cheese (I used monterey jack but cheddar or mozzarella would be good too)

    I poached the chicken in a pot of water and let it cool.


    Then I roasted the veggies in a hot oven.


    Roast them until tender or for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, I chopped the poached chicken.


    I added some cheese and the chicken to the hot veggies and stirred.  You can use however much cheese you want – I probably added 1/2 to 3/4 cup, and then added even more on top.  I like cheese Ninja  (Ninjas like cheese.)


    Popped it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is all melty.


    I added sour cream to the top, but didn’t really need to.  The salsa I used was on the milder side.  I hate when that happens.

    Last night I made Shrimp & spaghetti squash scampi with roasted green beans.  The green beans stole the show.  I roasted them in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 with olive oil, salt, and GARLIC GOLD.  It was really good.


    I added parmesan to the shrimp.  I cannot go one meal without eating cheese.


    Tonight I think I might just have some tomato soup (from a box) or something light since I don’t feel very hungry. 

    You might have noticed that earlier I nonchalantly mentioned that I went to my first spin class ever this weekend.  Mark went with me and he had never gone before either.  The instructor was nice and got us both set up properly. The spin bikes had clipless pedals so I was able to use my bike shoes. One of the fears I had is that I would hurt myself (because I heard it was really hard) or not be able to breathe in the enclosed room with a bunch of sweaty people, not to mention the perennial fear that I would look stupid.  The room was not hot, and I took it easy on myself.  Other than a little pain in my tailbone (and I had bike shorts on), I didn’t feel sore the next day.  I did feel really hungry by the time we were done. 

    The spin class instructor was dressed in a Santa suit and I thought the class had a lot of energy.  My fears about looking stupid were put to rest when she showed up in that.   I liked the music too – I was really afraid it was going to be all Christmas music when she showed up in that get-up.  I would definitely go back!  It’s fun to try new things. I just wish I had tried it earlier. 

    Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to try something new! 

  • You Don’t Have To

    Date: 2010.11.04 | Category: fitness, real simple cookthrough, running | Response: View Comments

    It is so close to Friday that I can feel it.  Can you?

    Workout: A lot of times I complain to my friends or husband that I don’t “feel” like working out before a workout.  Usually I’m looking for an a little bit of enabling and permission to skip it.  Today I complained to my friend Robin that I didn’t “feel” like running today and she said, “You don’t have to.”  She was right.  I didn’t have to.  But I could, and I had no good excuse not to.  Ironically, she gave me permission not to work out, and that was motivation enough to do it.  I did it not because I felt like it, but because I could and because it’s good for me.  And you know what? I’m glad I did.  I did 5.4 miles on the treadmill.

    Food:  Tonight’s menu was Seared Steak and Cauliflower Puree, with a side of “fries.”  I am a little afraid of cooking meat, especially steak.  I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.  I’m glad the Real Simple recipes have featured a lot of steak because it’s helping me feel more comfortable cooking it.IMG_9676

    Tonight’s recipe I worked with a New York strip steak and I added regular and sweet potato fries.  If not for the fries, this meal would have taken me 15 minutes to make.  The hint is to steam frozen cauliflower in the microwave.  When I have the option of steaming in the stove v. steaming in the microwave – microwave always wins.



    The steak turned out really well.  Even Mark said it was good.


    Ada was not happy with her kibble tonight. 


    It’s rough being a dog!

  • Riding, drinking, and cooking

    Date: 2010.08.08 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: View Comments

    Yesterday morning was unusually cool at 75 degrees so I had to take advantage of it.  Mark and I went for a bike ride on Grant’s Trail.  It was a little bit crowded since everyone had the same idea we did.  The trail runs right next to Grant’s Farm, which is the historical home of Ulysses S. Grant, and has stables for Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.


    The trail is where I usually go for my long runs, and almost all of my bike rides so far.


    The Clydesdales are right next to the trail and pretty desensitized to people.IMG_2197 IMG_2198  IMG_2200 IMG_2201  

    Me and all my gear.


    Mark being patient.

    Soon after we finished – I did about 11 miles – we had to go home, shower, and get ready to go to lunch with a friend from out of town.

    We went downtown to Square One Brewery in Lafayette Square.  I had 1/2 a chicken salad sandwich and a Agave Wheat beer which was pretty good.


    Amy & me.  The group of us:


    Afternoon beer makes me really tired.  I got home and rested for a while and decided to make those salt and vinegar chips.  It was the first time I have used my mandoline slicer, I am embarrassed to say.



    Barefoot in the kitchen.  The recipe said to slice the potatoes in 1/4 inch slices but as I got used to the mandoline, I kept going thinner – hoping for a crispier result.


    You can use as many potatoes as you want.  I think I used 8 or so?  Just drop them in a pot and cover with vinegar.


    Bring to a boil and then let it cook on medium for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  Transfer to a baking pan coated with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.  Then flip them and cook for 15 more minutes and sprinkle with more salt.  Here is the finished result:


     IMG_2224 IMG_2228

    The vinegar was definitely in there!  To be honest, I was a little afraid the vinegar would not be strong enough, so I reserved it in the pot until I tasted them.  It was not necessary at all – there was plenty of vinegar in these chips.  They were really good.  The only drawback was how long this took. 

    Soon after this, we went to the drive-in in Belleville.  It was ok, but I got really tired and fell asleep!  We ended up getting home late, and I slept in, which is why I still haven’t done my long run… Just one more cup of tea…

  • Weights before cardio or cardio before weights?

    Date: 2010.07.23 | Category: fitness | Response: View Comments

    Chicken before egg or egg before chicken?

    The chicken and the egg question is one of the most well-known philosophical dilemmas; the weights and cardio order is one of the most well-known and argued topics in fitness.  My friend asked me if I had an opinion on this topic today – and what do you know, I did :)

    Usually the conventional wisdom is to lift weights before cardio.  And usually the advice is given in this tone, as though people doing cardio before weights is worthy of physical assault. 

    The advice I agree with is supported here, although he talks a lot about why cardio before weights is the way to go, I’m going to pick out the quote that I agree with most:

    If you do your cardio before you lift, there’s little doubt you will do this part of your program more efficiently, which probably means at higher intensity and with a higher aerobic fitness outcome. Heavy legs and arms after weights are not conducive to a good cardio session. I’ve tried both sequences many times, and running first is my preference even without the technical considerations.

    So, the author does not come out and directly say it, but I think it’s understood here that he values an efficient cardio program with as high an intensity as possible.  It’s understood that whatever part of your program is done first is the one you are going to have the most energy for.  Now, the advice given above is biased inherently towards the benefits of cardio – he’s ignoring the benefits of weights.

    That’s why I agree with the end of this article best: ask yourself what is important to you – either that day or your long-term goals – and do that first.  Experiment and find out what feels good to you.

    Personally I’ve done weights before cardio – normally I expect 100% of myself to perform cardio – and let’s just say I don’t get that 100% if I do weights first.  I prefer to have myself give 100% to cardio and whatever’s left to weights.  I think that’s pretty typical runner’s advice.  But that’s why you came here, right? :)


    On a completely different note, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my weight and fitness dilemmas.  I am a bit frustrated that I have not been successful in losing the weight I want to lose.  I’ve tried diets, but I don’t stick to them well.  Running marathons is not the solution either – I’ve tried that.  I think I have a pretty good understanding of the concept of weight loss and nutrition and fitness – but I don’t practice what I know.  I’ve actually been considering Weight Watchers. 

    I’m hesitant to do that though for a few reasons, so I called my mom to get her advice.  I explained to her that I think one of my problems is personal accountability – I have no problems lying to myself.  I feel like it might be different in a group setting, and in a setting that I pay for (I feel that might be a motivator in staying accountable).  But I also don’t want to feel judged (since I am not obese) and I don’t know how I feel about points, keeping track of them, and learning what sounds like might be a PITA.  I think I might give it a try for a couple weeks and see what happens. 

    I have also thought about going to a nutritionist – however, my insurance only covers it if I’m deathly ill.  Again, I think I understand the basics of nutrition, I just don’t apply them to my life.  There is a disconnect there, and it’s frustrating. 

    I am open to any and all advice :)  I am still trying to get it all sorted out.


  • Name Your Motivation

    Date: 2010.07.22 | Category: fitness, reflection | Response: View Comments

    I read a lot of fitness magazines.  It’s kind of an addiction.  I love the motivation I get from them – from the tips to the success stories, I usually feel good when I’m done.  About every month, I read Shape, Self, Body + Soul, and Runners World.  Every now and then, I take a look at the women’s “muscle” magazines.  I know that women and muscle is still taboo – which is sad – but I think these magazines have a lot of great healthy living advice (and weight lifting workouts of course) too.

    Recently, I was poking around on the Self magazine website and found myself inspired by the Editor in Chief, Lucy Danziger.  I’ve been reading Self for a long time, but I don’t think the editor was always this ripped.  Well, anyway, she is now.  She’s training for an Ironman and in a video talks about how normally she works out for two hours a day.  Then, her editor’s letter in this month’s issue explained that I wasn’t imagining things.  She has lost 25 pounds, and was spurred into action by a realization when her father was hospitalized with a heart problem.  She realized that her father’s father had heart problems and was treated in that same hospital.  She realized that she did not want to be part of that family “legacy”. 

    One of the things she wrote that made me wonder was that it wasn’t about vanity; it couldn’t be.  It wasn’t a strong enough reason to kick off and stick to her health goals.   I found this interesting.  Vanity—looking better, is a popular reason to want to get fit.  They call it “getting in shape” not “getting in health,” right?  Tangible results (losing pounds, inches, feeling firmer) are also powerful motivators, but are they short-term in nature? 

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to answer those questions – the diet and fitness industry is a billion-dollar one for a reason – but it’s interesting to think about.  I, for one, find vanity to be motivating, and for tangible results to be hugely motivating.  I also find eating cupcakes motivating.  nom nom nom nom

    That’s the thing with health goals – it’s difficult to say no to the cookie and yes to the treadmill.  The positive reinforcement is further removed from the healthy activity than it is from the unhealthy one.  It’s why binge drinkers continue to over-imbibe and suffer hangovers – the punishment is too far removed from the immediate pleasure in order to be a deterrent.  No one said getting fit and staying fit was easy.

    Jillian Michaels’ answer to the “How do I stay motivated?” question is: ask yourself why you want this goal (weight loss, fitness achievement). [Is it weird that I know this without looking it up?  I have her advice memorized, I think…]Your reasons are your motivation.  She makes no judgment about your reasons – just that they motivate you.

    What motivates you?

About Me

My name is Michelle and I like to write about running, food, and fitness in general. Check out my About Michelle section for more!




I Write About