Study break

There’s going to be a short study break on the blog for the next couple of weeks! Between studying for my upcoming AFAA certification exam, getting certified in PiYo and cycle, running the Virginia half marathon next weekend, and then keeping up with the rest of family, work, and life in general… well, there’s a lot going on! So I’m going to let the blog take the backseat for a couple of weeks. I might check-in in the meantime but I can’t promise anything. So until then… wish me luck!

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Weekend Recap, Workouts, and Meal Planning for May 22nd

The weeks are flying by!

I can’t believe it’s already almost June, and that summer is just about here. The weather in North Carolina has been weird so that has added to the confusion. But this upcoming week looks like it’ll be the first of really warm weather to come. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself. Outdoor workouts are about to get tough.

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Saturday’s original workout plans were thrown for a loop because of the weather. Storms and sogginess meant my Ninja 5k team decided not to go. I changed my plans and decided to do intervals and then some yoga for athletic recovery. Both felt really good for completely different reasons. Every time I do an intervals workout, I dread it because I know it’s going to be hard, but I feel SO good when I’m done! The Yoga for Athletic Recovery class was a nice change of pace from my normal workouts. Tons of stretching of muscles that desperately needed it. I definitely had to force myself to slow down, but it was good and I felt refreshed afterwards. Saturday night was a dinner date with some friends. We had some amazing food which thankfully wasn’t 100% unhealthy, though our dessert was a nice treat… Because it is important to still treat yo’self!

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Sunday started with a bang with a 12.5 mile hilly run through Umstead. A large group of girlfriends set off together but we split up into interval running vs not. It was nice to start the day with so many strong ladies on a mission to get in their last long run before our half in a couple of weeks. After that, playtime, lunch, and naps with the kiddos (ok, quiet time for the toddler, because let’s be honest…). I did an afternoon PiYo class with my coach, Jen. Ramping up my PiYo practice has been awesome as it’s really helping me with the toning, and getting some good stretches in with all of my various injuries and overall tightness. Not only that, but since I’m getting ready for my PiYo Live certification in less than a month (what?!), I want all the practice that I can get of the various moves so that I can transition in to leading a class myself. It’s terrifying and exciting all at once.

So with that, I’m going to be doing a PiYo challenge group starting in June. It’ll be focused on the PiYo program directly through Beachbody, but I’ll also be offering test classes of PiYo Live as I practice and get ready to teach it on my own. I’ll I ask for is patience in that fact that I have never led a workout class before. But don’t worry, I’m going to practice on my (poor, unsuspecting) husband first before I start leading any other small groups in classes, with the hopes that I’ll eventually be up to full aerobics studio sized groups soon.

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If you’re interested in joining my PiYo challenge group, send me a note and I’ll get you the details! I’ll begin on June 6th, the first Monday in June. You can do a 30 day or the recommended 60 day challenge. It will come with everything you need to do your PiYo practice at home, as well as some other fun perks! So drop me a line! PiYo is a great, low-impact workout. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not challenging! It’s still tough and will have you breaking a sweat (especially with programs aptly named Sweat and Drench). It’s a great program to focus on whole body toning, tightening, and overall resistance training with just yourself and a yoga mat.

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This week I’m plugging away at my Groupons for PBX Pilates Barre Extreme and Sync Cycle. I’m enjoying both of the different workouts but it’s just a challenge sometimes in making it to the classes with an already busy schedule. I’ve been able to make it work but the balance (as with all things in life) has taken some time to sort out. Here’s what last week looked like:

  • Monday: Cycle, PiYo Live
  • Tuesday: PiYo Live practice at home
  • Wednesday: PBX Endurance (ouch), short run, Sync Cycle
  • Thursday: Run, Zumba
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Intervals, Yoga
  • Sunday: 12 mile run, PiYo Live

This week has a lot of weeknight plans so meal planning was tricky, but here’s how it looks:

  • Sunday: Homemade enchiladas, rice, beans, corn
  • Monday: Leftovers (I have my last Junior League event/dinner) and we have tons in the fridge
  • Tuesday: Turkey tacos/taco salad
  • Wednesday: Chicken burgers, baked fries
  • Thursday: Soup and sandwiches
  • Friday: Going to a concert with a friend so we’re having arepas while hubby takes the boys out
  • Saturday: Movie date night but the it’s a dinner/movie theatre so we’ll have dinner there.

So that’s it! Hoping this week is emotionally easier, especially as I have started to disconnect from previous things that were just bringing me down. I’m lucky to have an incredible support system and wonderful group friends that have reached out or been someone to vent/commiserate with. I have a game plan for this week and I’m ready to take it on!

A detox from negativity

I had a realization today. Brace yourselves.

I’ve been feeling a bit of anxiety over the last few days. Overwhelmed over life in general. It’s been a hard week. I got a cold over the weekend, just in time for my triathlon. Big Fig got sick at the same time, and Little Fig has been fighting a double ear infection. There hasn’t been a lot of sleep in the Newton house, but of course, life doesn’t exactly let up either.

Work has been crazy busy. We’ve had so much change in our company, the organization I’m in and the one I support, and just in general. It’s been a lot to take in, and while it can be exciting, it can be very overwhelming trying to keep up. I want to do the best in everything I do and provide the best performance possible. When faced with so much change though, it’s hard to not second guess yourself.

Now that Ramblin’ Rose is done, my triathlon training has come to a halt and I can now get back to a normal workout routine. Kind of. I purchased several Groupons for different fitness facilities but they have timelines. I want to get the most out of the deals so I need to attend their classes… which is just hard to fit into my already busy schedule. But exercising has also become part of maintaining my own mental well-being. I like the feeling I get when I’m done with a workout, and when I’m working out, I generally have the chance to focus on something other than the craziness of life, and can work on my own strength and mental improvement (thus, this tends to be where I have a lot of my ‘deep thoughts’).

Ultimately, and always, the most important thing of all is my family. I want to be there with them, for them, and have the most time with them that I can. When multiple members are feeling sick, it just sucks. My kids are also at the point where they’re going through ‘big emotions’ and it can be overwhelming. They get home from daycare – we’re tired from work, they’re tired from school – there can be a lot of temper tantrums in the house and we just want to have some quality time with our kiddos.

So this week, feeling tired, overwhelmed, and just generally under the weather… it has been hard. Once the kids are in bed, if I’m not catching up on work, working out, studying for my AFAA certifications, or catching up on life with my husband (notice I didn’t even mention tv because let’s be honest, up until last night we were two weeks behind on Game of Thrones and that’s pretty much the only thing I’m watching right now), I’m on social media and catching up with friends and the general internet. I’m pretty active on Facebook groups for my local mother’s group communities, or pages with friends, and I usually really enjoy it. It can be a mindless time suck, but sometimes I just want it so that I can decompress. But this week in particular, I’ve found that the drama and judgement is really just more than I can handle.

A friend of mine, Erin from A Parenting Production, posted an excellent post that pretty much summed up how I feel.

I’m so tired of the petty arguments, the cattiness, and the endless judgement. I’ve faced it myself on my journey with comments about how by working out, I’ve taken time away from my family so clearly, I don’t love them enough. Seriously? Because I have made being healthy a priority, ‘I chose to not spend enough time with my family.’ I’ve been reading posts where people have insinuated (or flat out said) that people who spend time doing activities that aren’t 100% around their child are bad parents. Or going on a weekend trip with friends or just your significant other is a bad thing.

People (or what I tend to see most from the groups I’m in, other women and mothers) ganging up on people for their differing views. It’s completely an internet version of Mean Girls and I’ve witnessed people that I thought were friends completely turn on each other.

And yes, I’ve totally been guilty of this myself. I’ve rolled my eyes to the point where my head hurts, and I’ve had side conversations of ‘I can’t believe so and so did this.’ But you know what I’ve realized? It’s not worth my time.  I start to see some of these arguments that become so damn trivial in the grand scheme of things. I went to the doctor today to have a skin spot checked out and as I’m stressing about something like this, and seeing posts about people with problems that matter, about sickness, loss, or just appreciation and support for others, I think to myself, why do I care if someone parents in xyz manner or if someone writes (or doesn’t) a thank you card for a kids birthday party? Why would I sit there and then sling insults at someone over the computer because they choose to do something a little differently? Why does everything have to be a fight over why someone else does something better, or that because of this they must love their family more, or just how people spend their time in general? We’re all going to do things differently, and we’re going to do what works for us. I feel like a broken record, but I would rather focus on the positive. I want to build up my true friendships – those with people who are actually there to offer support in my community of friends, and who have continued to be a presence in my life. I’m tired of the constant criticism, judgement, and anger. I want to spend my time with my family and with these people that I love – not with people who just want to bring me or others down. People who aren’t willing to support me with how I live my life currently and who want to claim that my priorities have changed… well, I hate to break it to you, but they have.

So with that, I’m going to make some changes. I’m prioritizing what’s important to me.  It won’t always be 100%, it won’t be immediate, and I’ve asked my husband to hold me accountable. But I’m unsubscribing from the majority of my groups. I’m stepping back. I’m going to focus on things that I want to be a priority. Less on things that just aren’t worth my time and that bring me down mentally. I’m focusing my time on what I can and want to do. I’ve had to bow out of some social commitments and I know I won’t always be ‘in the loop’ as to what’s going on, but I want to take the time to focus on what is important to me. Because life is short, and I want to spend my time wisely, with those I love.

Weekend Recap, Workouts, and Meal Planning for May 16th

This was my last week of the Ramblin’ Rose training program at my Y, and the race on Sunday morning. I didn’t double up on workouts too often, and when I did I tried to make sure that they worked well together (like PiYo for some nice stretching and toning after a cardio heavy class). I also tried to get back into some regular weekday running as I felt like that had been missing from my schedule recently. It was nice to get back into it and I am excited to be done with the race so that I can get back into a somewhat regular workout routine.

My workouts last week were:

  • Monday: Cycle beat class and PiYo
  • Tuesday: Ramblin Rose training (swim, bike, run) and Zumba
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: Esprit de She 5k. Technically was cancelled because of bad weather but went to the gym and ran 3.1 on the treadmill to earn the medal
  • Friday: 4 mile run, Zumba
  • Saturday: 4 mile run
  • Sunday: Ramblin Rose sprint triathlon
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Most of my training group on race day. Getting ready to hit the transition area for our final setup prep.

The race itself went great! I was nervous as all of my recent races have been running… to the point where I’m usually not too anxious these days about race days. But for the triathlon, I had to plan for doing a swim time where I would have to rate my own ability level, and then the bike which just stressed me out… especially since I don’t have a road bike but my beach cruiser hybrid.

I ranked myself a 9 out of 10 in swimming. I thought I was being ambitious but that race day adrenaline would give me the push I needed. It turned out to be a good ranking. I was the second person to swim in the 9’s, and I didn’t have to deal with anyone tapping my foot or attempting to pass the person in front of me.

After the swim, I raced over to the transition area. I threw on my clothes (I couldn’t commit to getting a tri suit when I still don’t know how much I like triathlons at this point), and tried to get myself pulled together to bike. In the chaos, my bike fell over on me, but some bi-standers helped me pull myself together. I set off on the bike course.

I was close enough to the front that there were quite a few other racers on the road, but sadly, they all had road bikes and could get a lot farther with a lot less effort. That was definitely frustrating. I still flew past a few thanks to my training on the actual, hilly course, so all hope wasn’t completely lost! I sped into the final length of the ride and made awesome time for my last transition stop. Less than 45 seconds and I was on the 2 mile run. I was doing great, but got a stitch in my side after the first mile. I’m guessing dehydration, but I think I need to start looking into this as it’s been happening more and more on my runs. I told my husband to come to the course at 9am to catch me in time… well apparently I underestimated my speed as they were early but still only got to see my do my final loop, and they had just arrived when I was finishing up. But seeing them gave me the final boost I needed and I flew into the finish.

My total time for the race was 1:02:20. Last year, I finished in about 1:22… so definitely improvement! I’m really happy with my time and how the race felt overall, but I’m still on the fence on triathlons and if they’re for me. I might try to borrow a road bike to see if I can get used to the feel, because it just doesn’t seem worth it if I have something like that holding me back. But maybe I’m overthinking it.

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Rambling Rose Raleigh 2015 vs 2016

Anyways, onto the upcoming week! Here’s what we have planned for dinner (a couple of nights done already):

  • Sunday: Chicken bundles with leftover noodles
  • Monday: Homemade lasagna made with hubby’s spaghetti sauce
  • Tuesday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Wednesday: TJs tortellini with the last of the spaghetti sauce
  • Thursday: Bobby Deen’s Goulash
  • Friday: Pioneer Woman Chicken Marsala and homemade mashed potatoes
  • Saturday: Date night with friends. Dinner TBD

How was your weekend? Any big plans for the coming week?

 

Recipe: Prosciutto, Pear, Goat Cheese Flatbread

This recipe is a regular item in my house. I frequently have it for lunch or dinner. It’s quick, so very easy, and full of flavor! I’ve had variations of this at so many restaurants because when I see something similar on the menu, I jump on it. But the great thing is, it’s so easy to make yourself at home!

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If you haven’t had Joseph’s flatbread before, pick up a pack. They are great for not just this recipe, but for breakfast or lunch wraps too. They’re just 100 calories for a very generous serving and are so tasty. My local grocery store carries them by the sandwich bread and ready-made pizza crusts. I had only been using them for these ‘pizza’s’ and then one day it dawned on me to make a wrap with them. I typically use tortillas for my breakfast quesadillas. One day I was looking at the calories for two and cringed… then I remembered I had wraps that were basically the same size. When I compared the numbers, I swapped out my carb and made a breakfast wrap instead. It was perfect and so delicious.

Back to the recipe. Try this out and let me know what you think! When I make it, according to My Fitness Pal, it’s approx 430 calories, maybe a little more if you’re adding the walnuts. Not bad for a super filling meal that includes your salad!

Prosciutto, Pear, Goat Cheese Flatbread
Makes 1

Ingredients:
1 Joseph’s flatbread
1 pear (I use D’Anjou or Bosch), thinly sliced
2 slices prosciutto, chopped or torn into small pieces
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup mixed greens or spinach

Optional additions:
Chopped walnuts
Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. I put the flatbread on a baking sheet in the oven while it is preheating. Leave it in a few minutes to heat up but don’t cook fully as it’ll have time to cook with the rest of the ingredients. If you forget this step, it’ll still turn out great… this recipe is so easy and adaptable!

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Ingredients prepped and ready to assemble

Arrange the pear on the flatbread. Scatter prosciutto over the top, followed by goat cheese. If you will be adding the walnuts, add them now.

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Everything on the baking sheet and about to go into the oven

Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 7-10 minutes until flatbread looks crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with greens, optional drizzle of balsamic, cut and serve.

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Cooked! Let it cool for a minute, add the greens and optional balsamic… enjoy!

 

 

Bad Runs (or Workouts)

When I first started running a little over a year ago, every run was a bad run. Or at least, it felt that way. It was painful, and I was tired. I felt pushed to my limits and disappointed in how little I could achieve in such a short amount of time.

But slowly…

Things got better.

I found that I actually started to have moments where running didn’t just ‘suck.’ Or even if the run was bad, the feeling I felt when I was done was fantastic.

I think it was on one of my earlier long runs that I finally felt the ‘runners high’ and I felt like I could keep running forever! Of course, that was short lived, but it felt great in the moment.

Nowadays, most of my runs range in the decent to good. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I have with a run, or seeing my speed increase. I love knowing that I beasted a hill or that I ran further than before without feeling like it was impossible.

I have friends who are convinced that every run for me at this point is ‘easy peasy’ or no big deal. As much as I wish that I was the case, I still totally have bad running experiences from time to time. Those runs where you just have to convince yourself to keep going.

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Post bad run selfie. Boo.

The other morning was such a run. I decided to forgo my normal gym workout and do a morning run so that I could get prepped and into the office for an earlier meeting. I set out to run on a beautiful, early morning. About a mile in, I got a stitch in my side.

That’s when the mental games began.

I couldn’t shake it. I kept having to walk from the pain, and then I kept thinking about how long I wanted to run (my goal when I started was 5 miles). Then it got me thinking about how slow I was going, and would I be able to keep up my pace goals for future races, etc, etc.

It was a battle and I struggled through it. Each mile took convincing that I could keep going and when I ran my final loop just past my house, I was totally tempted to cut it short and end at 4.5. But I couldn’t and I knew I could easily get that extra half mile by running just a few minutes more.

So, it wasn’t pleasant, and I was SO very glad when it was done. But that was it. It was done. I did my 5 miles and then I could move on with my day. I didn’t enjoy it, but I sectioned it off to that space of ‘runs I just hope to not relive for a while.’ I’m grateful that at this point, I’m able to have so many good runs, but I also know that there will be days where I’m not in the mood, or I have to push a little harder to make it happen.

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Not a bad run, but definitely a painful one! Hit a new PR but really had to push myself. Photo by Jagg Photography

If you’re still stuck in the bad run trend, there’s hope! It can get better! It may be a matter of your current mood or mindset, or it may just be that you need to re-evaluate your runs. When I started concentrating on enjoying the time to myself or setting different running goals (maybe instead of speed, think about your form on your run, or slowing down and trying for a different distance), my running actually became an enjoyable experience.

This can apply to your regular workouts, too. Some days, you may not be in the mood for a workout, or it’s an instructor/trainer you’re not normally crazy about, you’re tired, etc, etc. Just because you have a bad workout, doesn’t mean you should write that workout off forever! Try it again another day. Try a different instructor, time, format… mix things up! But give it a chance.  Some days you’re just off or it may just be that the workout isn’t the right fit.

And now, here’s a link to 35 runner excuses when you just can’t (but you do anyways).

 

Weekend Recap, Workouts, and Meal Planning for May 9th

This weekend was pretty amazing! My hubby and kids definitely took my Mother’s Day weekend to a whole new level. My husband is always so supportive of my activities and the things I arrange for the family. I try to make sure that our planning is done together, but it’s still hard when things start to play out, especially as the boys are getting older, as I find we’re already running around so much from activity to activity.

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My weekend started with a date night with my girlfriend. She had won her work’s Biggest Loser challenge – she had the highest percentage of weight loss in her whole company for a 3 months period. We started running together this time last year, and just overall being in this whole healthy and fitness journey. She had asked me for some tips (water, don’t forget to drink your water!) and just overall company on some workouts as she got to the end of her challenge, so we went out to celebrate her win. It was a great time to just relax after a crazy week. Work has been so busy with a lot of change going on, and she had some emotional things happening too – after the last couple of weeks, we just needed to get out!

Saturday morning was then spent running to various classes for the kids. Gymnastics, swimming, home for lunch and naps, etc. While they were napping, I left to meet my girlfriend Rachel for my weekend long run. We normally go first thing in the morning but my Sunday was going to be booked with the Run Like A Mother race and Saturday morning was nuts… so we adjusted. Luckily it was a beautiful day, but it was a wee bit toasty out. We were on a generally tree covered path for most of it but even then I managed to work on my tan. It’s definitely the start of full-body sunscreen coverage season in the South!

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My girlfriend on a short cool-down walk on the Mountain to Sea trail after our 10 mile run.

Sunday morning the whole family was up and at ’em bright and early to get to Run Like A Mother. This was the 5k that started it all last year. My girlfriends and I decided to take up running, starting with Couch to 5k and picking a race to run at the end of it… and this was it! Last year, we completed the race in almost 46 minutes. They year, I am proud to report that I finished in 27:20. My best time yet! It’s a tough course – very hilly and in the middle of the road so no tree coverage for shade. The weather was beautiful… sunny with a little wind that we were running against at points, but really the hills were the biggest challenge. Thankfully, I’ve been running on hills for a while now, but it still makes it hard when you’re working on beating a time you set in your head. I was in the range that I wanted to complete in so I was happy overall.

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Made Mother’s Day brunch of pecan waffles from the Bobby Deen cookbook. Side of turkey sausage, fresh strawberries, and lots of coffee.

The best part was seeing my family at the end. They aren’t able to make it to most of my races as they’re too early or just inconvenient to navigate. I’d rather not make them deal with that. But seeing my two babies and my wonderful husband at the end… they’re the reason I started this journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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It was also a bit surreal to see the before and after photos comparing my race last year to this year. My girlfriend, Jess, and I were good about taking pictures so we could get a side-by-side comparison. Unfortunately, our third Musketeer couldn’t make it, but we signed up for a run later this week so we could still live our moment of glory together.

 

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2015 vs 2016

Leading up to the race this weekend, I did back off slightly on my workouts. It doesn’t look like it in my schedule, but I reduced the intensity, especially in the cycle classes. I kept the resistance lower at times, or just cut out double workout days that I normally would have done. I focused A LOT on stretching, foam rolling, and general muscle care. My legs feel better and I’m still working on taking it easy on them. I’m not running every single day like I was previously and I’m starting up my PT and regular trigger point therapy again until I can get things back in check.

Here’s my workout recap for last week:

  • Monday: Cycle Beat, PiYo (morning)
  • Tuesday: Cycle Bar (morning), sat out of my Ramblin’ Rose training as I decided to give my legs a break in the evening.
  • Wednesday: Cycle Bar
  • Thursday: Ramblin’ Rose Tri Training, all 3 disciplines as an indoor tri because the weather was gross out. Zumba in the evening.
  • Friday: Cycle Beat, Zumba (morning)
  • Saturday: 10 mile run (afternoon)
  • Sunday: Run Like A Mother 5k (morning), Barre Sculpt (afternoon)

Mother’s Day weekend was a little (ok, maybe a lot at times) indulgent. As usual though, it was pretty planned for so I didn’t feel bad, especially because I got the workouts in to make up for it most of the time. Here’s what this week is looking like in our meal planning:

  • Monday: Tomato Basil Lasagna Roll-Ups, light recipe
  • Tuesday: Turkey tacos (taco salad for me), black beans, corn
  • Wednesday: Rotisserie chicken, TJs gnocchi, peas (we didn’t have this last week as planned so moving to this week)
  • Thursday: Bobby Deen’s Goulash recipe
  • Friday: New chicken burger recipe that I found in a magazine
  • Saturday: Homemade bolognese and spaghetti. Salad.
  • Sunday: Chicken bundles from Junior League Raleigh cookbook. Lightened version. Homemade mashed potatoes. Broccoli.

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How was your Mother’s Day weekend? Did you get any workouts in, or maybe just some time to yourself? Rest is important, too!