Sunday, September 30, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Do: Part 2

Ok so I promised this post last week, but got sidetracked and so here it is.

Thing #2 that I thought I wouldn't do during this fitness journey is: count calories.

I've said in a few previous posts that I didn't want to count calories or points or carbs this time around. But, I am now.

For the past month I've been logging my calories almost every single day. And it hasn't been that bad!

I decided to do it for a few reasons.

One is because I was stuck at a plateau and knew I needed to start looking closer at what I was eating. I've lost 6 pounds since cutting back my calories!

The second reason is because of all the working out and training I've been doing. I realized I needed to start paying closer attention to my food as fuel.

I use the app MyFitnessPal (I'm jsmith626 if you're using that app too, we can be friends!). It's SO easy. I can enter recipes and my exercise too. Plus it uses the camera on my phone to scan barcodes when searching - so easy!

I was eating 1400 calories a day plus I would eat about 300-400 more seeping on what I burned working out. Last week I cut that number back to 1220 calories.

It's tough, but at the same time I am strangely enjoying the challenge of finding the most high quality foods to fit into my daily allotment.

Any other fun calorie and fitness apps you use?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Do: Part 1

Part 1 of my "things I never thought I'd do" involves running.

I've been working my way up in mileage, with a goal of being able to run 4 solid miles by my Urbanathlon in a month.  I've been stuck at the 2.5 mile mark for about a month now.  Well, last night I made up my mind that if I could do 2.5, then I could do 3. And I did.

It was really a matter of putting my mind to it, and not quitting.  I had to get through the last half mile repeating things in my head like "You CAN do this." And "there is no reason for you to stop".

Part of the reason I had to make myself get through that barrier is because of this:
Yes, that's my registration confirmation for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Washington, DC this March!
Seriously.  Me - a half marathon.  13.1 miles of running.  This is craziness.  But, I've been so motivated with the urbanathlon training, and now I actually {gasp} enjoy running - so I figure this is the perfect challenge!  I have some awesomely motivating girls doing this alongside me (who are more experienced runners, too!) -and I'm really excited!
I think this quote here really sums up each and every exercise I do now.
I used to be content to give up when I thought I was a little tired, but now I know how much better it feels to keep pushing and to surpass my expectations of how far I can go and how many reps of an exercise I can complete.  Finishing is better than quitting.
Come back later this week when I reveal the 2nd thing I never thought I'd do!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


As I told you last week, I'm currently training with a team to complete the NYC Urbanathlon at the end of October.  One of the keys to this training has been accountability and working with other people.  I wrote about the need for public accountability back at the beginning of the year, and I still think that is hugely important to my weight loss.  But, with this particular training (which is hard and takes a lot of time) it's been really key to have others training alongside me.
I love, love, love my training team!  And not just because we all have pink running shoes.  But really, that is pretty awesome.
I love my team because they are so encouraging.  We are all at different places in our life journey, but we all have the same goal in mind with this race - finish it.  We all want to finish the race and prove to ourselves that we can do things we've never done before.  Each of the women on my team came with a different challenge, and we're all meeting those challenges and surpassing our expectations.  A big part of this is because we have each other.
We meet up at least once a week outside of our scheduled training class to workout together.  We text or email each other to share our workouts.  We cheer each other on, and inevitably when one of us doesn't feel like doing something, the others do - so we push each other!
Another piece of accountability that I LOVE is the GymPact app on my iPhone!!  This app is a free download, but it could cost you big time!  You set up a pact saying that you'll work out X number of times per week, and that if you don't make those workouts - you're willing to pay X number of dollars. At the end of the week, they take the money paid in by those who didn't meet their pact, and divide it up amongst those who did.  I end up with about $2 a week in earnings, which isn't much, but the fact that I would have to PAY money if I didn't meet my pact is what keeps me going.
Here's a shot of my pact as of this morning:
See that "Total Earned"?  You actually earn REAL money if you complete your pact. When you earn $20 total, you can deposit your rewards into a PayPal account and use them! I've done this twice.  Once I spent it via PayPal, and once I had it transferred to my checking account.
Just a few weeks ago, GymPact integrated with RunKeeper, another app favorite of mine.  Now you can count outdoor workouts too!  I love both of these apps because they help hold me accountable, plus they track how far I've come in my workouts.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Living & Active Challenge - Week 1 Check-in

Okay - week 1 of Clare's challenge is done!  How'd I do? 

My workout plan was:
Monday - solo easy run (5 min. warm-up, 15 min. run, 3 min. walk, 5 min. run, 5 min. cool-down)
Tueday - Urbanathlon training at my gym
Wednesday - 3 mile run with the "muffin top makeover"
Thursday - pace run with training teammates
Friday - REST :-)
Saturday - 2-3 mile run with the "muffin top makeover" and "new move Monday"
Sunday - stair climb/hill training workout with training teammates
And I...did it!  Okay, except for the muffin top makeover stuff.  But with all the other training I did, I don't feel bad!

This week's plan is:
Monday - strength training plan at the gym
Tuesday - 2 mile run + Urbanathlon training at the gym
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - track workout with my teammates
Friday - rest
Saturday - strength plan at the gym
Sunday - run

And the spiritual side of Clare's challenge?  This week's verse is a favorite of mine!  "Therefor do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)



Here's a few Instagrams of life this week!  It was a busy, busy week - and I slept in both days this weekend to make up for it! (I love sleeping in!)
This is a little classroom action.  That green box holds the materials for the beginning of the year reading assessment we do with all of our kiddos.  I spent a lot of time this week sitting at that table listening to my kiddos read!
Ahh, the York Fair!  I live just under 1/2 mile from the fairgrounds, so I walked over there on Thursday evening to grab some dinner (I saved my calories!) and to see a cow (bottom right pic) that one of my students was showing with his family's farm.
Student Ministry on Wednesday night!  Oh how I LOVE being back in student ministry! Our church calls it "Circl3".  I have to write more about this soon.  We are only in our 2nd week, and I'm loving it!
Green juice - every day!!  I actually LOVE this stuff now.  Weird, I know.  This is the recipe I use for my mean green.  Also, love that cup? Buy one of your own!  My friends Shea and Adam started an Etsy shop called "Mack Made" and they are both adorable and so is their shop.
Starbucks GOLD baby!  It took me awhile to reach this level, but I now feel like I've achieved one of life's greatest accomplishments.  HAHA!
Fall decor.  I didn't go crazy this year - just a few accents here and there!
And now, it's Sunday - which means time to gear up for another busy week ahead!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Living and Active

Today is the first day of the "Living and Active" challenge with Clare over at Peak 313!  If you haven't checked out this challenge, hop over there and take a look!  Clare did an AWESOME job creating printables and workout routines.  If you're looking for some motivation, or even just some new workout ideas - this is for you!

I'm currently training for the Men's Health Urbanathlon (prouncounced herb-an-ath-lon, not "herb-a-thon" - that's for you, Mom! haha!) which is October 27th in NYC. 

The race is a 9.5 mile course with several obstacles throughout.  But don't worry - I'm not actually doing all 9.5 miles! (PHEW!!!) The race can be done in teams of 3, with each person doing a 3.0-3.3 mile leg and about 3 obstables.  I have an amazing team with 2 other ladies who have really made this training fun.  There's a total of about 30 of us from my gym training for this and we're all planning on getting a bus and taking the trip to NYC together. 

The training has been interesting.  The fantastic ownwers of my gym have been putting together workout plans for us each week.  The first 4 weeks it was new and "fun" - really challenging, but such a change of pace that I was actually enjoying it.  Weeks 5 and 6 were a little different.  It was the start of school, so I was extra tired, plus the "new" feeling wore off and it became a little more daunting.  On Sunday, one of my teammates and I met at the gym to do a killer of a workout and I finally felt that "I kinda like this challenge" feeling again, so I think I've turned the corner!

Anyway, all of that to share my workout plan for the week.  This is the first "official" link up to Clare's challenge! So, here's my plan:

Monday - solo easy run (5 min. warm-up, 15 min. run, 3 min. walk, 5 min. run, 5 min. cool-down)
Tueday - Urbanathlon training at my gym
Wednesday - 3 mile run with the "muffin top makeover"
Thursday - pace run with training teammates
Friday - REST :-)
Saturday - 2-3 mile run with the "muffin top makeover" and "new move Monday"
Sunday - stair climb/hill training workout with training teammates

Looks like I'd better make sure I'm getting to bed early - this week I'm going to need my rest!!

What are your workout plans for the week, folks?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coconut Cacao Roasted Almonds

Yesterday, I made these:
I know, you wish you could reach through your screen and grab a handful, right?
These are what I shall call "Coconut Cacao Roasted Almonds"
The original recipe was found here.
1 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (you can skip this if you don't like coconut)
1 packet Stevia
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 tsp salt (if you like the sweet/salty combo)
1. Combine all ingredients in a plastic baggie and toss until coated.
2.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
3.  Try not to eat them all at once.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Challenge: ACCEPTED.

Today over at Peak313 - Clare presented a challenge. And in true Barney Stinson style, I decided: challenge? Accepted. (for those wondering, this is a How I Met Your Mother reference. Watch it.)

I love Clare's blog because it combines 2 of my favorite things: faith and fitness. Her blog is filled with useful tips, workout ideas, nutrition info, and spiritual insights.

For more information and to join the challenge yourself, check out this post at Peak313! (

If you join the challenge too, let me know!

(blogged from my iPhone - apologies for any weirdness)