Day in the Life: January 2020

Today I’m sharing a day in the life post. Read on to get a sneak peak into my everyday life!

I wake up to my alarm going off and get up and dressed for the gym. Before I leave the house I drink a protein smoothie. While Iwasn’t all that hungry at the moment, I knew that by the time I got home and showered I was going be ravenous, so I figured I should get something in my stomach before I leave for the gym.

I get to the gym, stash my boots, coats (cause it’s still really cold out), and bag in the locker room, and then head to the gym to set up for a Group Power class. It’s my current favorite day to strength train because I don’t have to think about it too much. It’s really nice to have someone else do all the planning and tell me exactly what to do!

By the time the 60 minute class was over I was tired and sweaty but so happy that I worked hard and got a workout in. I grabbed my stuff out of the change room and headed home to shower and change.

Once I was clean and dressed again I threw together a quick lunch. I had a burger over the weekend that tasted really good for some reason, so I thought another one was in order. I paired it with some plain Greek yogurt, coleslaw, and a piece of multigrain toast with margarine on it. It hit the spot once again.

After cleaning up from lunch I headed to a doctor’s appointment. I ended up being there for longer than I was expecting because she was running a bit late, so I walked across the parking lot to the grocery store to pick up a few things afterwards.

I snapped this photo while I was there. They had a ton of Easter candy already set up. Easter isn’t until April! Does this seem super early to anyone else? It’s only mid January!

Once I got home I got a bunch of blogging work done. I always try to have a few posts ready to go when I don’t have time to write a new one, so I spent some time working on one of those posts.

I ended up going to the bookstore with my dad. He wanted to get a book for a long 2 to 3 hour doctor’s appointment later this week. I love browsing bookstores because I always find a bunch of books that I want to add to my to be read list. I found Tidelands (affiliate link). Phillipa Gregory is a favorite historical fiction author of mine. It’s the first book in a new series of hers.

Once I got home I started working on dinner. I made some scrambled egg whites with feta cheese and black olives. It was a really good Greek take on scrambled eggs. I also had some Brussels sprouts and a piece of multi grain toast. No photo of dinner because I was done eating my the time I remembered that I should have taken one.

I spent the evening reading through a few of my yoga books to get some inspiration to create a few more classes. (If you’re interested in taking any of my yoga classes you can check out where and when I’m teaching here.) Since I’m still a relatively new teacher it does take me some time to create classes. I usually sketch out the poses and add in any props that will be needed, and then actually go through and do the class a few times to make sure that the poses flow together well.

I got a couple classes done that I was happy with. Time always seems to fly by when I’m planning yoga classes, so by the time I checked to see what time it was, I was surprised to see that it was nearly 10 pm!

I decided that it was time to get ready for bed because I had to be up early the next morning to get to the gym. Once I had taken out my contacts, brushed my teeth, and washed my face, I settled into bed to read for about 30 minutes. I was still working through Olive, Again (affiliate link) that I’m still really enjoying.

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HIIT Workout

Today I’m sharing a HIIT workout that you can do at the gym or at home with a few pieces of equipment.

Calgary is still in the midst of a deep freeze, though it’s supposed to finally warm up a bit over the weekend and get balmy at -3 C (or 26 F) on Monday. I seriously can’t wait for it to warm up. Doing anything outside is pretty miserable right now. My eyes started watering walking from my car into the gym yesterday before it was so cold.

Before I get into the HIIT workout, I thought I’d share my workout from yesterday.

I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical doing steady state cardio. I got in 3.75 miles which I was happy about – I had a good pace going. Afterwards I spent 20 minutes on the track walking, mostly to get some steps in.

And now onto the HIIT workout!

You’ll alternate 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for this workout. You’ll perform the first exercise on the list, rest, and then move onto the next one, repeating that all the way down. Once you’ve completed the step ups, rest for as long as you need to catch your breath and then start again from the top with the burpees. Complete it 4 times through for a full workout.

If you don’t have access to a gym then you can do this workout at home with a few pieces of equipment, including dumbbells (affiliate link), some space for the side shuffles, and something sturdy to step up onto for the step ups like a bench.

When you’re deciding on what weight to use, go with something that’s heavy enough to challenge you but allows you to perform every single rep – including the last one of the last set – with good form. Below the graphic I’ve listed descriptions of the exercises just in case you need a reminder.

Burpees

From a standing position crouch down with your hands in front of your feet on the floor. Jump your feet back behind you so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back in towards your hands and then jump up while clapping your hands above your head. 

Curtsy lunge

Similar to alternating lunges, instead of stepping straight back with your left leg, you place your left foot behind you and to the right, so that it crosses behind you and return to standing. Repeat with your right foot stepping back and to the left. 

Hammer curls

Similar to regular biceps curls, hammer curls differ only in hand position. Stand with your feet hip width apart with dumbbells in your hands. Position your hands at your sides so that your palms are facing your legs. Keeping your hands in this position the entire time, bend at the elbow and bring the dumbbells up as far as possible. Lower yours hands back down to the starting position. Make sure you keep your spine in a neutral position the entire time. 

Side shuffles

Stand with feet hip width apart and knees bent so you’re slightly squatting. Leading with your left foot, shuffle sideways. Then shuffle to the right with your right food leading. Move as quickly as possible.

Overhead press

Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position. 

Bodyweight squats

With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Bicep curls

Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

Skaters

With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

Tricep extensions

Laying on your back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, move your arms so that they are straight up above your shoulders. Bending at the elbow, bring the dumbbells towards each side of your head and then return to the starting position.

Step ups

Find something that when you put your foot on it, your knee is at a 90 degree angle. This could be a chair or bench. Step up with your left foot, and pushing off that heel step your right foot off the floor and onto the bench. Immediately step back down with your left foot, followed by your right foot.

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As always talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout for you.

Books I’m Loving: January 2020

Little Fires Everywhere

This is one of those books that I knew that I would enjoy only a few chapters in. It grabbed me and pulled me right in – so much so that I had a hard time putting it down. It’s also a book that’s stayed with me since I read it. From the characters to the story lines, it’s just all so good.

Little Fires Everywhere (affiliate link) by Celeste Ng is also going to be made into a miniseries starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I follow the author on Twitter and every once in awhile she shares updates on it. I’m really looking forward to watching it once it’s released in March.

Little Women

Being a huge Little Women fan, I knew that this book had to make my list this month. I’m almost done re-reading it and I can’t wait til I’m done and I can go see the movie in the theater. I’ve heard really good things about it!

I first fell in love with Little Women (affiliate link) in elementary school. I think I first read it in grade 5, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. It doesn’t matter how many times I read it, or what age I am, I end up liking it more and more. It’s one of those classics that you can read a million times and still notice things that you’ve missed before.

Olive, Again

I’m about half way through Olive, Again (affiliate link) and I’m so glad I put it on hold. I initially couldn’t remember what it was about when I got the email that it was my turn to read it, but I’ve really been enjoying it. I didn’t realize this before I started reading it, Olive, Again is actually the second of two books. I’m thoroughly enjoying it though, so I don’t think that you have to read the first one before the second one.

The German Midwife

Just like Little Fires Everywhere, The German Midwife is another book that I read awhile ago but has stuck with me. The German Midwife (affiliate link) follows the story of Anke, who is a midwife who’s taken from a concentration camp to care for Eva Braun during her pregnancy. Obviously it isn’t based on real life, but more of a “what if” scenario.

The Mother-In-Law

This book was a bit different than the ones that I’m typically drawn to. The Mother-In-Law (affiliate link) is more of a mystery rather than the literature or historical fiction that I usually read.

While I had figured out part of the ending by the time I was done reading, I wasn’t able to guess how it all ended. You gotta love a book that keeps you guessing until the very end.

What’s a book that you’ve read recently that you’ve really enjoyed? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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Weekend Highlights: Finishing my First Book of 2020

It’s going to be a very cold week here in Calgary. Temperatures will be in the -20’s C (-4 F for my American readers), but they’ll feel more like -35 C (-31 F) with the wind chills. I’m definitely not looking forward to going out in that kind of weather. If only I could hibernate til the deep freeze breaks on Saturday or Sunday.

Let me back up and share a bit about my weekend….

I started off my weekend with a Group Power class at my gym. Since I was still a bit sore in my quads from my workout on Tuesday, I decided to take it super easy and use light weights for the entire class.

I have to admit that it felt really good to be back at it after a few days off, even if it was an easy workout.

I headed over to my boyfriend’s place for date night on Friday. It was cold so I ended up wearing all the warm clothes. There’s something about the dry cold that just chills you to the bone.

Even Winston, my boyfriend’s bulldog was bundled up with his winter coat on. It took him a few tries wearing it to embrace his coat, but now I think he’s figured out that it keeps him warm and he doesn’t fight it going on anymore.

After Winston was walked my boyfriend and I headed over to our usual date night spot – Vagabond – for dinner. I was craving a burger, so I went with their Cowtown Burger minus a bun and a side salad. I don’t know what it was exactly, but it tasted really good!

I must have been needing the iron or something in the beef because when I was at the grocery store the next day I got some frozen burger patties that I’ve been eating the last few days. Beef really his the spot this weekend.

We stopped at Sunterra on the way back to my boyfriend’s place and he picked up a bag of Shorts, shortbread cookies. He got the salted butterscotch and like I shared on Instagram, they were dangerously delicious. I’m pretty sure I could polish the whole bag of cookies in under 5 minutes, they were that good.

We spent the night on the couch watching an old movie on Prime, The Core. I’d never heard of it before but it had quite a few good actors in it, including Hillary Swank, Viola Davis, Arron Eckhart, Delray Lindo, and Stanley Tucci. While the special effects definitely haven’t held up since 2003, it was a fun action/thriller movie to watch that didn’t require too much thinking.

My Saturday was low key and the only reason I left the house was to get some groceries for the week. Other than that I got some reading done and finally finished The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (affiliate link). I’m pretty sure that I’ve been reading it (on and off) for nearly a year now, so it felt really good to finish it and add my first book to my 2020 books read list.

My goal this year is to read 40 books, so I have 39 left to go. If you have any good books that you’ve read lately be sure to let me know about them in the comments below. I’m always looking for ones to add to my to be read list.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to take another Group Power class at the gym, so I made a quick protein smoothie for my breakfast. It had vanilla protein powder (affiliate link), frozen berries, plain Greek yogurt, and water in it.

Before I left for the gym I added a new to me Nuun flavor to my water bottle – watermelon (affiliate link). While it did taste a bit fake, I really liked it. I’d definitely a flavor that I’ll be buying again. Nuun is my go to thing to drink during a workout when I know that I’m going to be getting really sweaty.

I’m happy to say that I was back at my usual weights at the Group Power class yesterday. The instructor told us that this is the last week that we’ll be doing the October 2018 release because on Sunday the January 2020 one debuting.

I’m pretty excited to see what the new workout will entail and of course I’m excited about some new music too. It always takes me a few classes to feel confident with new releases, but it’s time for a change.

What was your favorite workout from the weekend? How’s the weather where you are? Warm or cold like it is here in Calgary?

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Friday Favorites: Hard Workouts + a New Read

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite things from the past week.

Nuun

I was downtown with my dad this week so we decided to stop by Mountain Equipment Co-op. I picked up a 4 pack of Nuun. I go through 5 or 6 tablets per week depending on how many workouts I get in, so it’s something that I feel like I’m constantly buying. I’ve been buying 8 packs of them on Amazon, but they only come in all one flavor.

MEC had these 4 packs with 4 different flavors. I have to admit that I was pretty excited when I saw them. I’ve tried two of the flavors before, but watermelon and lemon lime are new to me flavors. What are your favorite Nuun flavors? Never heard of Nuun before? I wrote a review of them here.

Hard workouts

Like I mentioned the other day, on Tuesday I took a cross training class at my gym. Unlike my usual Group Power classes, this gym took place on the weight floor instead of the gym. One of the personal trainers took us through a lower body workout.

I definitely work harder during workouts when I have someone pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. That definitely happened on Tuesday. I did goblet squats with a 20 lb dumbbell instead of the 15 ls one that I had grabbed first. I also did the dumbbell deadlifts with 30 lb dumbbells instead of 15 lb ones.

Needless to say I was pretty sore after that workout. I was walking around like Frankenstein for two days because my quads were so sore. Stairs and sitting down in chairs hurt. I’m very glad that I’m feeling better now though. Being so sore made me realize that it’s easy to get stuck in ruts when it comes to workouts and not go heavier or harder unless I get out of my comfort zone. I’ll definitely be back to take that class again!

Hard boiled eggs

Making hard boiled eggs in our Instant Pot has been something that I’ve been doing for the last few months. It’s really nice to have a stash of them in the fridge to add to meals when I want an extra boost of protein.

I ordered a two layered rack to replace the one layer one in the Instant Pot that I had been using, so I can make a dozen eggs at a time now. It’s been great that I can make more eggs each time I decide to cook some up. The one I bought is similar to this one (affiliate link). If you eat as many eggs as I do, the Instant Pot makes it really easy to make a bunch all at once in hardly any time at all.

Olive, Again

I had Olive, Again (affiliate link) on hold at my library and a few days ago I got an email saying that it was available for download. I started reading it on Wednesday when I was waiting at the auto body place and I got completely sucked into it. I’m about 125 pages in and once I start reading it’s hard to put it down.

Here’s the summary from Good Reads:

The iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace

How do you stay hydrated during workouts? Do you use Nuun too? What’s the last book you read that sucked you in right from the beginning?

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