Weekend Recap: December 11 2017

As usual, this weekend has flown by. I think the closer to the holidays we get, the faster it goes. I haven’t done a weekend weekend recap in awhile, so I thought I’d share one today. While the last few days haven’t been too exciting, it was kind of nice to have a relaxing weekend.

Friday Sunset

Friday night I was treated to a beautiful sunset. With the nights getting so long right now, I’m definitely missing daylight. But these pretty skies and clouds help with the feeling of the long nights.

Green and Red Calgary Tower

I ended up heading downtown for a date night with my boyfriend. On the walk to his place I got a view of the Calgary Tower lit up in green and red for Christmas. I always love seeing the lights downtown at night, so I especially appreciated the red and green.

Our date night was pretty low key. We bought a couple pizzas and cooked them up at his place. My boyfriend suggested we watch Christmas Vacation while we ate. While I’ve seen a few scenes (the Christmas lights, and the turkey), I don’t think I’d ever seen the whole thing. Needless to say, my boyfriend was shocked, so he said we definitely had to watch it. It was honestly better than I was expecting it to be. I didn’t realize that Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki played the kids, so it was fun to see them so young.

Skillet over Rice

Saturday for lunch I tried a new recipe – a chicken, mushroom, and broccoli skillet. You can find the recipe here. It was pretty quick and easy to make. I loved that it had lots of veggies in it too. While you can’t see it too well in the above photo, it is a bit saucy, which was perfect for mixing in with the rice which I made to go with it. The recipe made enough for 4 or 5 meals, so I have a bunch of leftovers which is always nice. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Tim Horton's Hot Chocolate

My absolute favorite hot chocolate is from Tim Hortons. (For those of you who aren’t Canadian, Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution. It was started by a pro hockey player back in the ’60’s, and has been Canada’s go to coffee and donut quick service restaurant ever since.) I ended up getting one Saturday afternoon as a quick pick me up. I’d been working on some back end blogging stuff and I needed a little something.

Heather and Dad Selfie in Bowmont

My dad and I decided to go for a walk together in Baker Park, which follows along the Bow River. It’s a really pretty spot (it’s a really popular place for outdoor weddings in the summer). We’ve had some really warm weather here in Calgary for the last few weeks, so I figured that I should enjoy it before the cold temperatures and snow reappear.

Fallentimber Meadery Meadjito

I enjoyed a Meadjito from Fallentimber Meadery on Saturday night while I was watching Mad Men on Netflix. Yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. I just started season 6 of Mad Men, and Bob Benson has made his first appearance. How have I forgotten about Bob Benson? I remember when as Bob got more screen time on the show, there were all kinds of conspiracy theories online about who he was and what he was going to do on the show.

Christmas Lights at Candy Cane Lane

Sunday was pretty laid back. I did laundry and some things around the house as well as some blogging. Sunday evening I went for a drive to see some Christmas lights. I’d heard that a neighborhood close by had a street that went all out with decorations and lights, so I thought I’d check it out. I wasn’t disappointed. The lights were really pretty and it was fun to walk around and check all the houses out.

Leave a comment below with the highlight of your weekend. 

Weekly Workouts December 3 to 9 2017

Weekly Workouts

Sunday

Rest day.

Monday

Elliptical Gym

After a quick warm up on the bike, I did 45 minutes of steady state cardio on the elliptical. I ended up getting to the gym later than I wanted to (between pressing snooze a few to many times to having to run home to get my lock after realizing that I’d forgotten it at home), my workout didn’t start til almost 7:30. As a result the gym was pretty busy so I was pretty happy to be able to find a free elliptical. After my 45 minutes were done I spent 5 minutes walking laps around the track for a cool down.

Tuesday

I spent my Tuesday morning workout on the elliptical again. The plantar fasciisis in my right food was starting to act up a bit on Monday, so I wanted to make sure my workout was as low impact as possible, hence the elliptical. I did 45 minutes again, and it went by relatively quickly. I’m going to attribute that to the playlist I was listening to.

Wednesday

Rest day. I decided to take it easy on Wednesday because I didn’t want the plantar fasciitis to get any worse. I spent some time stretching my calves (I realized that they were pretty tight) and rolling out my feet.

Thursday

 Elliptical Workout

I was back at it early Thursday morning. I did 50 minutes of steady state cardio on the elliptical. It was one of those workouts that just flies by, so it was nice that I was done before I knew it. My cool down was a couple laps on the track to get my heart rate down.

Friday

My plan was to get to the gym both on Friday and today, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I took a rest day today because I was feeling pretty terrible.

Saturday

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling any better this morning, even though I slept in, thinking that would help. Boo. I’m hoping I’ll be feeling good enough to get to the gym tomorrow. While this wasn’t the way I wanted to end the week when it comes to my workouts, I have to keep in mind that I still got in a couple good workouts.

What was your favorite workout from the last week?

Friday Favorites December 8 2017

And just like that, the first full week of December is over. I think the closer we get to Christmas and the end of the year, the faster time goes by. Does anyone else feel like that too? As for my usual schedule, today I’m sharing my Friday favorites from the last week. 

Friday Favorites

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask

I’ve been using this mask a couple times a week for a month or two now and I’m really liking it. It only has to be on your skin for 60 seconds, so it’s perfect for nights when I’m tired and don’t want to spend a lot of time on my skincare routine. As it sits on your skin it turns white, and it leaves my skin feeling super soft and hydrated. I typically use it after cleanser but before micellar water. While I still have half of the tube of product left, I already know that I’ll be purchasing the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask (affiliate link) again.

Workout tops from Old Navy

Old Navy Workout Top

I ended up finding a great deal on these workout tops (affiliate link) on the Thursday before Black Friday on the Old Navy website. They were already 50% off, and they looked exactly like the shirts I like for working out in: short sleeves, v neck, and loose. They’re definitely on the thin side, but that’s perfect because I get so hot when I workout. I ended up ordering them in a couple different colors (white, light green, and purple). They arrived last week and I’m so glad I got three of them. If you like the same style as me, be sure to check them out.

Lindt advent calendar

Lindt Advent Calendar

Last year I bought myself a Lindt advent calendar and I really liked it. Not only did I get a piece of my favorite chocolate every day, but it was also kind of fun looking forward to opening the door each day to see what kind of chocolate was behind it. Needless to say, when I saw them on sale a couple weeks ago, I knew that I had to get one again. I took the photo a few days ago, so don’t worry, I’m all caught up now. Hopefully I’m not the only adult who still enjoys chocolate advent calendars!

How did Lindt chocolates become my favorite? When I was travelling in Europe in 2006 I ended up finding a Lindt store in Zuich, Switzerland. As I opened the door to the store and went in a wave of chocolatey smell came at me. It smelled fantastic. I ended up buying some chocolate (for both me and to take home as gifts). Since then it’s been my go to chocolate.

Josh Groban’s Noel album

Speaking of Christmas, I have to add this to my list. I’ve listened to it at least once a day this week. For the most part is classic Christmas carols with one or two newer songs thrown in. I’m definitely one of those people who enjoys listening to classic Christmas songs because I like to sing along (when I’m alone of course). He also has an amazing voice, so he’s easy on the ears. Although it’s a few years old, I’d definitely recommend checking Noel out if you’re looking for some Christmas carols to enjoy over the holiday season.

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Should I Do Cardio Or Strength Training First?

This is a question that I hear a lot at the gym. Should I do cardio or strength training first? Unfortunately, there’s no one easy answer that applies to everyone. It all depends on where you are on your fitness journey and your fitness goals, and even what your preference is. Not to mention, you should also take into account your personal health, injuries, and what your doctor has told you about your physical activity levels. Everyone is different, so if you have a unique situation (and I think most people do at least a few times in their life), it’s important to have a discussion with your health care professionals.

Should I Do Cardio or Strength Training First

Your Fitness Level

If you’re just beginning to get active, or are back at it after awhile of being inactive, it’s a good idea to start slow. It takes time for your cardiorespiratory and nueromuscular systems to respond to the stimulus of exercise. For instance, for the first 6 or 8 weeks of strength training, your nervous system is learning how and which muscles to activate while doing strength training. For this reason, it’s a good idea for people who are new to strength training to do the weight lifting portion of their workout before cardio. By doing strength first, you’re fresh and ready to workout instead of tired after having done cardio already.

Your Fitness Goals

The second thing to consider is what your fitness goals are. If you’re training for a 10 km race, I would suggest doing cardio first, and then doing the strength training portion of your workout. If you’re working on increasing your strength, do your weight lifting first and then cardio afterwards.

Your Preference

Are you one of those people who hates running on the treadmill? Loathe the weight room? Typically people who do the part of the workout that they dislike most first, are more likely do get their workouts in. For example, if 30 minutes on the treadmill seems like 4 hours, you’re more likely to do the 30 minutes of cardio if you do it first, instead of leaving it for after your strength training. Having something fun to look forward to is generally a good motivator to do the part of the workout that you don’t enjoy as much.

How to fit it all together

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults aged 18 to 64 suggest:

  • at least 150 minutes of cardio per week in bouts of at least 10 minutes
  • at least 2 days per week of strength training per week

Of course the above guidelines are the minimal amount of activity needed for a healthy lifestyle. More exercise provides more health benefits. One way to get in the minimum recommended is to spend 30 minutes, 5 times a week doing cardio. Two days per week, add in total body strength training on non-consecutive days. So that comes to about 30 minutes of exercise three days per week, and about 60 minutes two days a week. This plan leaves you with two rest days each week as well. Whether you do cardio or strength training first depends on the variables of your fitness level, goals, and preferences, and of course your individual health and injuries.

For more of my fitness related posts, check out my fitness page.

Be sure to check with your doctor before changing your activity level. Honor your body and do what’s right for your situation according to your health professional.

Do you do cardio or strength training first?

Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

Today I’m sharing my top picks for the fitness minded people on your list this year. This gift guide for fitness lovers is sure to have something that they’ll love. If you’re local to Calgary, don’t forget to check out my Calgary Gift Guide too.

Gift Guide For Fitness Lovers

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are one of those little pieces of equipment that make you work hard. They’re super versatile because you can use them for so many different exercises. There’s also different thicknesses which provide different levels of resistance. Plus, they’re perfect for people who travel, because they take up next to no room in luggage and they’re perfect for hotel room workouts.

 

Yoga pants

Not only are yoga pants good for yoga, I also love wearing them when I’m just hanging out around the house. They’re so comfortable and I can wear them all day with no problem. These yoga pants (affiliate link) from Athleta look super comfy while also giving you a long, lean look.

Fitness classes

Just about everyone has a favorite fitness class, whether it’s Zumba, Body Pump, or yoga. Give the gift of fitness and buy a gift card for your recipient’s favorite yoga studio or a 5 class punch card at Orange Theory Fitness. Whatever kind of class that you decide on, I’m sure it will be appreciated as an active gift.

Fitbit

I know I’ve shared how much I like my Fitbit on the blog before (reviews here and here), so I wanted to make sure that I added it to this list as well. There’s different models to pick from, so you can choose the one that the person on your list will like the best. For someone who’s mostly interested in just getting in more steps each day, go for the Zip. If they’re more interested in keeping track of their heart rate while working out, go with a Charge 2 (affiliate link).

Water bottle

I don’t know about anyone else who works out regularly, but I can never have enough water bottles. Between leaving them in my car, gym bag, and other places, I’m always looking for one. During the summers when I’m playing soccer outdoors and I’m sweating like crazy, I even take more than one with me so that I don’t have to worry about running out of water. I prefer ones with a wide opening so that I can fit ice cubes in, so keep that in mind if the person you’re buying it for is outdoors a lot.

Foam roller 

Foam rollers are one of those pieces of equipment at the gym that people love to hate. While they’re not always particularly fun to use, I think just about everyone feels better once they’re done. I find my self using mine not only after working out, but also after I’ve been sitting at my desk for a little to long and I’m feeling stiff, as well as before bed.

Gym bag

I’ve been using my Under Armour gym bag (affiliate link) bag since July and I absolutely love it. It’s big enough that I have enough room for everything that I want to put in it, while also not being too big and cumbersome. I like that it has quite a few pockets inside so that it’s easy to find my keys, lock for my locker, and phone without having to dig through the entire contents of my bag. The shoulder strap is perfect so that I can still use both my hands while I’m carrying it too.

Gift cards

I know gift cards are always appreciated as well. If you’re not sure what fitness equipment they do or don’t have, or even what style of workout top they would like, letting them pick out their gift themselves is a great option too. I know most guys would much rather just get a gift card than try to figure out what style of clothing the women in their life like.

If you live in Calgary, don’t forget to check out my Calgary Gift Guide for some ideas as well.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

What’s one fitness related item that you’re hoping to get from Santa this year?