Monday, April 18, 2016

Getting in Gear - the "31" Edition

My birthday is this week, and the first thing I have to say about that is...
 
...wow, that came up quick(ly).  Pretty sure that's going to be my reaction every year from here on out.  I'm not sure if it's my aging brain or the whirlwind of parenting that is making time pass disproportionately quickly compared to my younger days.
 
Speaking of younger days, here's the little one, who is 17 months today!  Lately, he's been refusing to let me feed him, so there are a LOT of messy times.  This picture below is slightly dated, and he is actually much, much cleaner about it now.  Other than that, he's started saying some words and thinks that the world is his oyster.
 
www.acaseoftheruns.com
 
Oh, so back to 31, the number of flavors they used to have at Baskin Robbins.  I am definitely feeling like I am getting "up there" in age!  I am also somewhat embarrassed to admit that I've hit up this establishment a couple of times this past year... alone!
 
 
Looking back, thirty was the year that I started feeling somewhat human again... make that, the second half of the year once sleep improved.  I'm finally at a point where I think I can commit to healthier choices so I don't feel like I need to hide behind baggy clothing so much.  Besides times when I had to watch my intake, I was easy on myself these past couple of years because I often felt hungry and deprived.  If I couldn't have freedom/sleep, then at least I could eat when I felt like it, right?  I generally ate healthy things, but I also ate them whenever and in whatever portion.  Although I worked out regularly, this clearly was not something I wanted to do long-term.
 
So here's to hoping that 31 will be a healthier year!
 
To start off, I have been sitting (lol) on some fitness product reviews.  The first is this Card Ninja smartphone wallet.  It's a great idea since it's pretty easy to dash out of the house and remember your phone but not the other stuff you might need, like money, your license, etc.  I live close to a grocery store, so I sometimes end up walking/running there, and there's nothing worse than starting off and then realizing you didn't bring your post-it with your shopping list.  Yep, that happened to me, and yes, I also realize I could have gotten that on my phone somehow.  A plus -- it's reflective!
 
 
Second, this Flip Belt has been a staple on my runs outside.  I had to get a new running belt because I can't find my older one for the life of me, which is sad because it means I haven't been needing it and also because it was a good belt.  I am so happy with the Flip Belt, though, that I am even showing my very much in-progress pre-run abs so that you can see it on a person rather than on a table.  I really like that I can cram my phone (+case) securely in the flaps, and there is a zippered compartment for stuff that I am paranoid about.  I was told it can even hold a passport.  Finally, it has a little hook for my key, and the cord stretches so I can open/close the door without removing it from the belt. 
 
I bought this one at the Surf City expo, proving that yes, you can buy stuff at an expo if you're not even running the race!  Truth be told, it does ride up a teensy bit, but it is very, very minor, coming from someone who is easily annoyed by stuff like that.
 
www.acaseoftheruns.com

Finally, here are some Perfect Fit meals that I was sent to try.  They are available at Albertson's (Safeway) and can hang out in the fridge for a while or frozen.  These things have saved me on certain busy nights, as they contain protein, veggies, and a side.  I'd split the portion with "The Ukrainian" and add rice, though I have also just eaten the entire thing myself just by itself.  I like that they are high in protein and are generally "clean" meals on their own.

This one below is the Chipotle Barbecue Chicken, which wasn't as spicy as I feared.  I should mention to my longer-time readers that yes, I am still eating meat right now.  I spent a few years as a 99% vegetarian, then added fish, then in particular when I had to manage my blood sugar during my pregnancy, I started eating meat regularly.  Nowadays, I have cut down and generally only do fish and poultry and am not sure what I'll end up doing in the future. 

 
I especially love the shirt that I got with them!

 


Anyway, if anyone is wondering what I want for my birthday, I think I've already received the gift of generally consistent sleep.  I think I keep mentioning that here, but man, it's a big deal so I finally have my nights back... and even some mornings!  Besides that, some time off work so I can shop at the mall would be amazing right now.  I've been trying to de-frump myself and could use a bit of a wardrobe refresh and makeup.  But one thing at a time!

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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of the Card Ninja and Perfect Fit meals but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review, so... just posting my true opinion!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: Insanity Max 30 - Tabata Power


In my previous post, I mentioned that I was trucking along the Insanity Max 30 program, so now I'm back to review the second DVD in the set.

Tabata Power focuses on a "20 seconds on, 10 seconds off" pattern.  While that might sound like a lot of rest to some, those 10 seconds become much, much needed as things move along.

The workout starts with a five-minute warm-up, and then a series of lower-body exercises that follow the 20/10 pattern.  There are a lot of lunging/small jumping moves in this part of the workout, so those 10 seconds are great for a shake-out of the legs.

The second part of the workout focuses on the upper body, and I know I've probably mentioned this before on this blog, but upper body is definitely a weakness of mine, even though I've been doing a lot of kid-carrying this past year.  Shaun T leads you through a series of different push-ups, some of which are pretty much impossible for me to do at the moment, but I give it my best shot.  For instance, the first move is "plyo pushup," which basically means you "pop-up" when you are pushing up.  I do attempt it, but I find that I am really just popping one hand up at a time, but I think it's the effort that counts until I can actually do it, right?


The section ends with many, many tricep dips.  On the upside, I think my arms have benefitted in their tone from this and the push-ups.  Then, back to the lower body, including Power Jumps, which are NOT my favorite.

The next part is abs, which is mostly a lot of scissoring-type moves.  The last five minutes are a combination of everything I just described, ending with a whole minute of Power Jumps.  This is the part when I'm glad that there isn't an "Ab Attack" portion on this DVD.


My next review will be of Sweat Intervals, which is quite a beast, though I could say the same of pretty much everything so far. 
 

 
One thing I really like is hearing the cast members discuss their "max out" time at the end of the workouts.  During the workout, they run up to a blackboard and write down the time when they need a breather, so they can use that to reflect upon in that ending segment.  It makes them seem more relatable, even though they LOOK a lot more fit than the average person (ahem, me).  In Tabata Power, my first "max out" point is when they start the push-up portion, which is around minute 9.  I would be curious to see if I ever get past that point!


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FTC Disclaimer: I purchased this product and was not compensated to provide a positive review.  I am not affiliated with Beachbody in any way.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Checking In

I remember when "checking in" meant finding your current location on Foursquare, but since those times, the app tanked, and ain't nobody got time to check in everywhere anymore.



There really isn't a lot of "everywhere" to check into, anyway.  I'm usually either at home, at work, at the grocery store, picking up Baby Tuesday, or taking him to a select number of places that I wouldn't care for people to know, anyway.

March is nearly over, and for a month that normally is as slow as molasses, it has pretty much just come and almost gone.  In about a month, I will be 31.  I wonder if 31 will "hit" me hard, since I was still is a postpartum whirlwind when I turned 30 and had it not been for the date on the calendar, I would not have known that this went by.  I definitely feel a lot older than I was, though.  Most of the time, I am tired and feel unfit and a piece of work in general when I don't really have the time to work on myself.  I'm lucky if I have 5 minutes to get ready for anything.  What also could use some work is my brain -- I am having a hard time focusing on studying for an exam I'm taking in a few months, and I frequently do inane things like go to the grocery store without the shopping list that I put RIGHT BESIDE my keys so I wouldn't forget it.  If this is what the 30s are like, I am bracing myself.

Lately, I'm more focused on the number of months Baby Tuesday has reached (16!).  He's irresistibly amazing and more and more like his father every day.

www.acaseoftheruns.com

I have to be careful what I say around Tuesday these days, as his comprehension is more than I thought.  I used the word "dinner" in passing in a conversation, and the next thing I know, I'm being pulled to the highchair and expected to pull out a meal earlier than usual.  His newest thing is learning to answer when I ask stuff like, "What sound does a tiger make?"  So adorable!

Although I've had a cold for most of this month, I've run 29 miles this month as of this publishing and 112 miles for the year (my goal is to run ~1 mile per day this year).  This is just enough for me to incorporate other things like Insanity and Physique 57 to keep me from getting bored.  Running on the treadmill has become slightly more bearable now, but that's because I'm on there for relatively short periods of time and I'm not on it every time/day.  I don't feel like I'm progressing or getting fitter, though, which is kind of a bummer but I've consistently worked out 5 days a week and am at least proud of that effort.

Sometimes, I wonder if things will ever be as they were, but I try to remember that I was always a casual runner (I shouldn't kid myself and tell myself otherwise!) and although that looks different now, a casual runner is what I can remain.  I recently agreed to become a LEGEND Brand Ambassador partly because the line appeals to athletes of all levels.  I got to try their compression sleeves, which I really liked because they were more comfortable than other compression gear I've tried (affiliate link in case you're interested), comfortable enough to wear casually without the some of the difficulty of peeling them off.  I don't think you need to be a super athlete to wear compression gear, as it even comes in handy when you're doing certain types of plyo workouts

I almost registered for a half-marathon for early next year because it was taking place very close to me so wouldn't require a lot of time commuting.  However, it was already over $100 to enter this far ahead, and I can't commit to paying that much to run in my own stomping grounds.  I'm sure I'll be kicking myself for this later, but hopefully before that, I will stumble upon something that will work out with my schedule and won't be so hilly.  Heck, I should probably just set aside some time and run that distance on my own, for free, if I just want to prove to myself I could still do it.

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FTC Disclaimer: I received a sample of LEGEND products as an ambassador but was not paid to provide a positive review.  I will be credited with any purchases made through affiliate links associated with LEGEND.