One month down, 11 to go!

Well, well, well. We’ve made it one month into the New Year. How are those goals going? Has the motivation began to fade away? I sure hope not! As I stated in my first blog post of the year, I’ve decided to break my overall goals into monthly attainable goals. Here’s a recap of my January goals:

  1. Pay off my final credit card bill
  2. Lose 3-4 pounds
  3. Maintain a weekly workout schedule of 2 days cardio and 2-3 days strength training
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables daily
  5. Reduce carbohydrates and add more lean protein to diet
  6. No eating after 8:30pm (even on weekends!)
  7. Blog more often 😊

I am happy to report that my final credit card bill has been paid off! This was originally a goal I had for 2017 that was just one month delayed, but it still got done either way! This goal coincides with my overall 2018 goal which is to keep my credit card balance at $0. My rule is, if it’s something that can’t be paid off within 30 days…DON’T SWIPE!

It seems as though people only set goals related to their health and fitness in the New Year. Don’t get me wrong. That is definitely a priority. However, it is also important to think about your financial fitness. Do you have an emergency funds account? A savings account? Do you actually deposit money into those accounts on a regular basis? Even if you’re not saving up for something specific, it’s essential to have what they call a “rainy day” fund because you just never know when you might need some extra funds. Or, God forbid, if a crisis were to happen, you would want to have a nice cushion to fall back on.

My main goal at this point when it comes to my finances is to pay off my remaining debt which is all student loans…from two degrees. *insert ugly cry here* Another financial goal of mine is to deposit (at minimum) $100 per month into my savings account. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than $0. This is money that I will not be able to touch, under any circumstance. It’s for saving purposes only. As I continue to pay down my debt a little more, then I will be able to increase the amount that I put into my savings account. Hey, baby steps! Continue reading

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5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immune System

…and hopefully avoid getting sick!

In case you haven’t heard, the flu epidemic is running rampant this season, and it seems as though the recommended flu shot hasn’t been the most proven method to avoid it. There are differences in opinions when it comes to the flu shot. Does it really work? Does it inject the virus inside of you and end up making you sick? I don’t have the answers, but I do know that regardless of if you’ve ever gotten a flu shot in the past, or like me, have never had one and don’t plan on getting one, there are still many preventative methods to consider. Please note, the steps listed in this blog are my own personal ways that I attempt to maintain a healthy immune system, not only during flu season, but year-round.

Add Vitamin C to your daily diet.

This can come in the form of a daily multivitamin once a day or naturally from the foods you eat. Some options high in vitamin C include fruits such as oranges, kiwis, strawberries, pineapples, papayas, and mangoes; and vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and bell peppers. Read more on this here. I take a regular over-the-counter vitamin C tablet every morning with my breakfast. I tend to switch from a 500mg to a 1000mg during the winter months since germs seem to be more in the forefront during that time. I’ve also incorporated more fruits and vegetables into my diet so that I’m pumping in vitamin C throughout the entire day.

Maintain an exercise routine.

In an article titled, “Why Exercise Boosts the Immune System, it states, “outside of just keeping you in shape and helping you to become healthier over time, exercise can boost your immune system and help your body fight off harmful diseases and even something as simple as the common cold. Though doctors are continuing to do research on the link between exercise and the immune system, they have discovered some simple truths that impact how exercise can help.” So for all of you are jump starting (or maintaining) some form of a workout regimen, this added benefit should be even more motivation to not just make it a phase, but a lifestyle. Continue reading

Focus on Your Physical and Mental Well-Being!

Even though it’s a New Year and the top goal for everyone is to workout more and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle, this is something that should really be a top priority all year-round. I’ve always been one to go to the gym, so for me, although I am happy that people are taking their health seriously (for now), at the same time, I already know that this sudden, massive influx of people crowding all the machines at the gym will most likely fizzle out by mid-February.

Sometimes it takes an internal reality check for people to really make a change…and stick to it. For me, my reality check was when I rejoined a gym last November after a four-month gap, and did a fitness assessment with a trainer. They noted my weight, body measurements, and body fat percentage. Hearing some of those numbers almost made me want to cry, but I knew that I had fallen off the wagon and had no one to point the finger at but myself.

Click image for full size.

For others, they may need an external reality check such as visiting a doctor to get them to take their health seriously. Hims recommends the following checkups to make sure 2018 is your healthiest year yet. This handy chart provides a cheat sheet of when specific age groups need preventative screenings, immunizations, and additional checkups, and the frequency of when they should go. Did you know that 92% of Americans believe it’s important to get a yearly physical, yet only 62% of them actually do? Use this checklist as your guide and don’t wait to schedule those appointments!

In addition to making sure my annual checkups are on schedule, I’m also focusing on my physical and mental well-being throughout the year by implementing the following:

  • Attending Yoga at least once a week
  • Prepping all meals at home and only dining out 1-2 times per week—primarily on weekends
  • Taking time to journal/meditate and write more. It’s my personal form of therapy 😊

What steps do you plan on taking to focus on a healthier you, both physically and mentally?

Need some more motivation? Check out my previous blog post “Get Up and Get Movin’!” for even more tips to help you step into 2018 making sure your health is a top priority and not just a temporary trend.

New Year. New Running Goals.

race-medals-current-count

Now that I have a nifty “Magical Miles” medal hanger, it only makes sense to add more to my count 😉 #ChasingMedals

Psst…I’m baaaaack. 🙂 My, oh my, it sure has been a while since my last blog post. But with a new year upon us, what better time than now to get back in the groove and make my comeback. For the past two years, I’ve kicked things off by training for my first race of the year – the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. 2017 won’t be any different, however, I’ve added a little more to my overall race goals this year.

2016 wasn’t my best running year since catching the running bug back in 2013 and completing my first medaled race in 2014. Early last year was the ultimate roller coaster. I was debating on whether I was going back home to Ohio. I was going through career obstacles, life challenges, and not to mention moving TWICE in one year! There was way too much going on to add “sign up and train for this race” to my already complicated task list. Overall, 2016 rewarded me with a whopping three race medals – a half marathon, a 5K, and a 10-miler. Out of all three of those races, I didn’t have a dedicated training plan but still managed to get through them.

Now that 2017 is here and a perfect time to start anew, I’ve decided to task myself with a goal of earning TEN race medals (with three being half marathons), as well as bumping up to the purple run level on the Nike Running Club app (1,552 total miles by the end of the year). 2015 was my best race year where I did my first ever half marathon in March and then was crazy enough to sign up for another one in September. This year, I guess I’ve gone madly insane as I want to do THREE half marathons. (No, I still will never do a full marathon!) Continue reading

So…How Much Does the Number on the Scale Really Matter?

Exercise changes more than the bodyI know you’re probably thinking, “oh, now she’s singing a different tune because she must not be losing the weight she thought she would.”

Well, that’s not the whole case. Just when I thought I wasn’t making any progress at all, one of my co-workers said to me last week, “you look like you’ve been getting toned.” *Fist pump!* I had gotten slightly discouraged because now that I’m two weeks and two days from my birthday, I haven’t quite dropped the weight that I had anticipated. However, as my co-worker pointed out, I have noticed my shoulders getting more toned and my upper body overall. I haven’t felt or seen too much of a change in my problematic core area 😦 but I am able to get through some of those particular exercises in my gym classes a little better.

Even though the goal was to drop 10 pounds (I’ve lost about three thus far), I have slowly learned that it’s not solely about the number on the scale. It’s also about how you feel. Do you feel stronger? Are certain exercises becoming easier to complete? Can you start lifting with heavier weights? Are you less out of breathe from things that used to get you winded? All of that is progress.

One thing I am happy to have accomplished thus far is the fact that I have added much more strength conditioning to my workout routine. I used to solely stick to cardio kickboxing class and running, although now it seems that I’ve been doing more toning than my usual cardio.

Last week, I received a newsletter from one of my favorite running groups, Black Girls RUN! The newsletter linked to a blog that made me feel compelled to chime in on the subject matter myself. The title, “Humans Spend Less Than 1% Of Their Lives Working Out.” The story behind the blog was based off of Reebok’s “25,915 Days” campaign. (The average human life span is 71 years, hence the 25,915 days.) Continue reading

Songs Guaranteed To Make You Move!

Best songs to workout to

When it comes to your workout playlist, it’s all about the beat of a song.
The cadence.
The bass line.
The lyrics.
The push it gives you.
The second wind of energy that derives from it.

For me, with a music collection that’s comprised of nearly 10,000 songs, it’s definitely difficult to pick a teeny-weeny fraction of that to make it onto a top 10 list. However, for this particular post, I wanted to select 10 songs that I can say are some of my favorites to listen to while running or working out.

I know some people who can run without music. That statement alone hurts my very soul. How can you run without music? How can you live without music? How can you breathe without music? Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but seriously, I can’t function just on a daily basis without music. I was doing an outdoor run once and when I got to the two-mile mark of what was supposed to be a four-mile run, my ear buds had the audacity to give out on me. You know what I did? I simply retraced my steps and walked back home…in complete silence. I tried to go music-less during my run but that lasted about three minutes before I had to call it quits. It’s just impossible. That’s the reason why I now keep a backup pair in my car for moments like that or in case I pull up to the gym and realize that forgot to grab my ear buds on the way out the door.

Anyway, when it comes to picking the perfect workout song, it has to abide by the following criteria: Continue reading

My Favorite Calorie Counter App…”Lose It!”

My birthday is now exactly one month away therefore it’s time to share a little bit of the progress I have made thus far. As you know, I am super obsessed with my Lose It! app. Therefore, the images that you’ll see in this blog post are snippets of screenshots from what I monitor on my app as it relates to logging and tracking my calories and workouts. Hey, it might even inspire you to look into adding the app yourself. There are other options such as Calorie Count or the popular MyFitnessPal, however, I choose to stick with Lose It!


Week 1 (April 11-17) :

Ok, so don’t mind the red you see on Monday…I officially started that Tuesday ;-). My caloric budget for each day is 1,771 calories which is the dotted line you see on the graph. Overall, I did pretty well in keeping my calories out of the red during the remainder of the week, especially Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday which were the days I took classes at the gym. Those calories burned definitely helped with making sure I stayed well below the line. On this screen, I also pay attention to how many calories I remain under my weekly budget:

Week of April 11 - Calories

When looking at the detailed nutrients below, I primarily focus on fat, carbohydrates, and protein. My goal is to keep my fat intake under 70g, carbs under 300g, and protein within the 70g-80g range either daily or overall for the week. The chart below just shows the average for the week. While in the app, you are able to view it on a daily basis to keep track of the numbers as you go along:

Nutrients breakdown Week of April 11 Continue reading

6 Simple Tips to Avoid Mindless Snacking

Eating Schedule

You’re guilty of this. It’s okay. Don’t be ashamed. You’re sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs and somehow open your snack drawer when you’re not even hungry. Or, you’re sitting at home on the couch and somehow end up standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering how and why you even got there in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong. Snacks aren’t a bad thing. They are very necessary. It is, however, important to make sure you are snacking on the right things — and in the right portions. According to Merriam-Webster, a snack is defined as “a small amount of food eaten between meals.” I was guilty of going overboard a few weeks ago with one of my snacks. Instead of just packing three pretzels rods, I brought the whole bag with me to work. What was supposed to just be three pretzel rods at 120 calories turned into eight pretzel rods at 320 calories. So much for a small snack, huh?

My attitude at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 8pm. Time to eat!

My attitude when it’s time to eat!

I know for me, my eating schedule is like clockwork…literally. I have to eat something every two to three hours or I am one HANGRY (Hungry + Angry) individual. I eat breakfast at 9am, a snack at 11am, lunch at 1pm, a snack at 3pm, dinner around 6pm, and then my last snack at 8pm. If I stray from that schedule, there’s going to be some problems. I am the queen of snacks. I pack snacks in my lunch bag, snacks in my purse, snacks in my gym bag… Ok, now I’m starting to sound a little greedy…

The point of this blog post is to offer a few tips on what has worked for me to avoid what is called mindless snacking. All of those calories add up — as you can see from my overdose on pretzel rods — so it’s up to you to be disciplined enough to make smart snacking decisions. Continue reading

Courtney’s (Not Kanye’s) Workout Plan

fitness magazines

Although my preference is to be in the gym, if I do decide to opt for at-home workouts, these magazines have been by go-to for ideas.

Now that I’ve shared with you that I have a goal to drop 10 pounds by my 31st birthday, it’s time to get serious! There was once a time –roughly two or three years ago- where I was going to the gym five or six days a week and during that time, I considered myself to be in the best shape I’d ever been in since high school.

I’m not (nor have I ever been) in the gym hitting the heavy weights as some people may suggest. My gym tempo is more of what I would call intermediate. I am the person who feels comfortable going to boot camps or taking classes that the gym offers rather than waiting for “Macho Mike” or “Doing The Most Dan” to finish their set on the machines. I’m also NOT going to spend a ridiculous amount of money for 30 minute sessions with a trainer. Therefore, I settle on taking classes that actually challenge me and don’t allow muscle memory — because no class is ever the same.

I find that I workout better in a group setting anyway. The inner competitor in me doesn’t like to tap out when I see other people in the class doing better than me. Sometimes that forces me to push myself a little harder than I typically would if I were alone. Besides, the gym becomes its own community when you begin to see the same people in the same classes week after week. You might get the, “Mmmhmm. Well look who decided to show up for class” or the simple, “See you next week, girl!” If I were to just workout solo, no one would notice if I decided to skip a day or two (or a week) with no valid reason. Accountability partners aren’t a requirement, but they are a good thing to have when you know that “lazy spirit” might kick in. Continue reading

30 is real.

fitness-motivation-quote-one-at-a-timeWhat more can I say?

Your body turns on you. You feel aches and pains that you’ve never felt before. Your metabolism immediately shuts down. You may even consider purchasing your first body shaper. These things only scratch the surface of how 30 has treated me thus far. Seriously. People think I may be exaggerating but the steady increase on the scale and all the clothes that I can no longer fit and have been donating to the Goodwill has let me know – “girl, this is 30. And 30 is REAL.”

I still try to workout (at the very least) three days a week. I ran a half marathon exactly one month ago, but guess what? I haven’t lost a single pound. And for those of you who say, “well, muscle weighs more than fat” I’d like to hear your explanation as to why my pants buttons will no longer fasten and why my thighs are having a constant conversation with one another. What do you have to say now? Continue reading