Take 30 + Quick Body Weight Workout

Hello friends!  I'm so glad it's Thursday; this week seems never-ending to me.  

So, confession time - I am the WORST at taking time after work to do household chores.  I would much rather be working out, cooking dinner, or let's face it, sitting on the couch watching TV or reading blogs.

However, this lackluster attitude hasn't helped the state of our house lately.  It's gotten a bit out of hand. Which makes me feel even worse and less inspired to do something about it.

Enter my new goal - Take 30!

I will take 30 minutes an evening to do household chores, such as dust upstairs, empty all the trashcans in the house, clean the bathroom sink and mirror, do laundry, etc.  It's not a lot of time, and I know these are all small chores, but I think every little bit will help, right?  And also make me feel more productive.

I've added a new "Take 30" Reminder List on my iPhone (this is how we keep track of everything in our house!) with chores I'd like to accomplish each week, and remove them when I'm done.  The next week, I'll add new chores! 

Speaking of taking just a little time each day to be productive, here's a new bodyweight workout that I wanted to share.  It doesn't take long to do, and while focusing on the core, works other muscle groups too!  Again, every little bit helps!

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Links to some of the exercises:

Single-leg deadlift 

Plank with leg lift

Side lunge

Shoulder tap plank

Let me know if you try it! :)

Are you a little bit at a time cleaner or total cleaning spree type of person?  What helps motivate you to take the time to clean?

Meals for the Week of April 13

Good evening friends.  I hope you all had lovely weekends and enjoyed some time outdoors!  

At the Orioles game last night...before it got chilly and I was ready for the game to be over!

At the Orioles game last night...before it got chilly and I was ready for the game to be over!

This afternoon we walked to Whole Foods to pick up groceries.  Here's what we're planning to eat this week:

Breakfasts

Oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries (maybe I'll make quinoa breakfast bars later this week)

Green smoothies

Lunches

Skinny Chicken Waldorf Salad 

Whole Foods Frozen Vegetable Lasagna for Wednesday's trip to the office

Snacks

Hummus and carrots

Apples and bananas

Whole Foods brand Greek yogurt (especially looking forward to trying the Fig and Date kind)

Luna bars

Nibnor dark chocolate

Dinners

Sunday - Roast chicken and vichyssoise (French potato and leek soup) 

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Fiesta Bean Salad with garlic shrimp 

Wednesday - Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon 

Thursday - Leftovers

Yeah it was NOT fun carrying all of these (plus skim milk for Victor) 1.5 miles home

Yeah it was NOT fun carrying all of these (plus skim milk for Victor) 1.5 miles home

What's on your meal plan this week?

How to Survive in Indoor Cycling Class...and Still Want to Go Back

Hi friends!  Happy Wednesday!  I've been taking a lot of indoor cycling classes lately as I work towards becoming a Group Ride instructor, and thought it'd be fun to share a few tips of how to survive your first class....and still want to go back for more (like me!).

 

DO ARRIVE AT THE GYM EARLY

Most clubs have a sign-up system of some sort for bike classes, which tend to fill up super fast because the class size is limited by the amount of bikes (and they're crazy popular).  

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

Proper bike set-up is CRUCIAL to your success in class.  This is another reason to arrive early, so you have the opportunity to ask the instructor for assistance in setting up your bike.  If your bike seat is too low, for example, it can put too much pressure on your knees and cause knee pain.  Then, you'll be much less likely to come back, and you might even hurt yourself.

DO BRING WATER AND A TOWEL

Honestly, I think I sweat more in bike classes than any other class/exercise.  A towel is crucial, as well as a water bottle (this Klean Kanteen bottle is my go-to).  And don't expect an official water break; just grab your bottle when there's a break between songs or when you need to rehydrate.

DO EXPECT TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

Okay people, truth time:  Bike seats hurt.  A lot.  Everywhere. Got it?  It WILL feel uncomfortable during class, and after class.  Maybe even for a few days.  If the instructor gives you an opportunity to stand during a song, take it.  But I promise - you will get used to it, and it won't bother you after your first couple weeks.  For my training class (and indoor triathlon the next weekend), I bought bike shorts and I think they helped.  However, now, unless I'm taking a lot of classes in a row or spending more time on the bike, I just wear regular workout pants.

DO EXPECT TO NOT BE ON TOP OF YOUR GAME AT FIRST

If you're brand new to cycling class, or returning after a long absence, you may not be able to keep up with the fast pace or resistance changes like the instructor and some of the more experienced students.  That's ok.  You wouldn't expect to be able to just go out and run 5 miles at an 8:00 pace if you haven't run before, or in a while (I'm still working on that myself).  Same thing goes for cycling classes.  If you need to slow down and just pedal your legs for a while, go for it.  Maybe you get your breath back in a few minutes and can jump back in, maybe you spend more time at that easy pace - do whatever YOUR BODY needs.

DON'T FORGET TO STRETCH AFTERWARDS

It's so tempting to climb off the bike and head home and get on with your day (or lie on the couch for an hour or so...), but taking the time to stretch all the muscles you just worked is crucial.  If your class includes time afterwards for instructor-led stretching, stay and participate.  If not, or if you feel like you need a little extra time for stretching, stretch when you get home (before relaxing on the couch).  Definitely stretch your quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors!  Or, try this yoga sequence for after an indoor cycling class.

DO EXPECT TO GET A GREAT WORKOUT 

Bike classes are a terrific workout; beyond just getting a fantastic cardio workout, you are also building serious leg muscles.  Many bike classes include specific tracks for working on your cardio endurance, and also incorporate climbs (simulating hills on an actual bike) to build muscle.  They're definitely one of my favorite ways to work out!

Are you an indoor cycling class fan?   What kind of cycling classes have you tried?

A Trip to the Farmers' Market {My 5 Tips}

Hi friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I had a pretty nice day Saturday, with an early morning bike class and then a late afternoon walk to Fells Point for oysters and then cheese and wine with Victor.  This morning we headed to the Baltimore Farmers' Market and Bazaar for their opening day.  

Since it's early spring, I knew there wasn't going to be much in the way of fresh produce, but we still snagged fresh eggs, a yogurt from the creamery for Victor, and two delicata squash for dinner this week.  In a few weeks, I think the variety of produce should increase.  Going to the farmers' market is one of my favorite weekend activities; I'm lucky to live just a few blocks from a great one.  Here are my tips for a successful farmers' market experience.

1.  Arrive early - or be prepared for less variety if you don't.

In order to score the best goods, try to arrive at the market early.  The later it gets, the more picked over things become.  Some popular items may disappear entirely!  However, if you do arrive later, there may be more flexibility in the prices as the farmers try to sell all of their wares so they don't have to load them back up.  

2.  Know (in general) what you want to buy.

I've sometimes made the mistake of going to the market with no list or any real idea of what I'm looking for.  Like shopping for anything else, this often leads to me wandering around, getting overwhelmed, and leaving empty-handed or, on the other side of the spectrum, with way too many items.  I try to loosely plan what I'd like to cook that week, and what I can find at the farmers' market, before we head out.  Also, if you're looking for fresh produce, have a good idea of what is in season, so you won't be disappointed.  We have a Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmer's Market cookbook, which I try to consult to see what should be available.  

3.   Bring cash and a bag to store your finds.

Some stands, especially those that sell more expensive items like meats, will take credit cards, but I've found that most do not.  Bringing cash is also a good way to make sure you only spend a designated amount.  I bring a reusable grocery tote to carry most of everything that we buy, which helps cut down on plastic bag use.

4.  Do a full loop around before purchasing anything.

Our farmers' market has multiple vendors selling popular items such as apples, chicken, lettuces, etc., so I try to make a loop around the whole market before deciding what to buy from where.  The prices are often close, but some might have slightly cheaper prices, more variety, or better looking goods.  My favorite apple orchard, for example, lets you pick the varieties of apples that you want, but I've seen others that come pre-bagged, so you don't get to choose.

5.  Eat breakfast there!

The Baltimore Farmers' Market has a multitude of food vendors, especially this time of year, from those selling pastries to omelets to turkey burgers and pit beef sandwiches.  It's nice to have a seat on a bench or a tree stump and have breakfast (especially coffee!) before heading home.

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Do you have a local farmers' market?  What are your favorite things to buy?

Friday Faves

Hello Friday; I thought I'd never see you.  haha.  Hoping for nice weather this weekend; I'd really like to get outside for once!  A few of my favorites from the week:

Return of Spring/Summer Baltimore Activities

The Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar opens on Sunday!!  So excited to check out the local produce, meat, and honey/jam (and coffee and pastries, of course).

I already mentioned this on Tuesday, but hooray for baseball season!  We went to the game Wednesday with friends, and although the Orioles lost, it was good to be at Camden Yards again.  Can't wait until summer day and evening games. :)

Recipes I Want to Try

Goat Cheese Lemon Pasta with Kale from Two Peas & Their Pod

Baked Oatmeal from The Lean Green Bean (you guys know I'm an oatmeal fan, and Lindsay's breakfast quinoa bars are awesome.)

Favorite Pre-Gym Snacks

Brown Cow Greek Salted Caramel yogurt - This yogurt is so darn good.   It's like a pre-gym dessert.  I hope they're still on sale at Whole Foods this weekend. :)

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LUNA Peanut Honey Pretzel - I ate this in the car on the way to bike class; loved it.  I am a HUGE honey fan, so this flavor is a win in my book.

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Awesome Lists about Running

7 Steps to Get Ready for Spring Race Season from It's a Harley Life 

10 Reasons Running is for YOU from Fuel Your Future with Tina 

Slowly making progress with running; really really hoping that spring and summer races will be in the cards for me this year.  It was really tough last year not being able to run in all the awesome local races.

What were some of your favorites this week?