Weekly Workouts and Meals May 18 2019

Sunday

The only activity I did on Sunday was a short walk. It only lasted about 25 minutes, but it was great to have an active rest day.

Monday

I started my workouts this week off at the gym on the elliptical.

I spent 40 minutes doing steady state cardio and finished it off with 10 minutes of walking the track for my cool down.

Tuesday

My Tuesday cardio workout was pretty similar to the one I did the day before – a total of 50 minutes for my workout. The first 40 were spent on the elliptical before I finished off on the track for the last 10 minutes.

Since I was doing my karma shift at the yoga studio on Tuesday, I got to take a restorative nidra class. It’s honestly not a class I would have typically gone to, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite for me. The first half of class was spent doing some restorative poses, while the second half was a nidra meditation.

Wednesday

When I got to the gym on Wednesday I hopped on an elliptical again and got in 35 minutes before I did my cool down on the track. I’ve tried cooling down on the elliptical before, but my heart rate just doesn’t come down low enough.

Thursday

My last cardio workout of the week was 45 minutes on the elliptical with a 10 minute cool down. I started to feel little niggly thing in my knee during this workout, so I made sure to take Friday off from cardio. It wasn’t anything that really hurt, but I was definitely noticing something if that makes sense.

Thursday night I took a yin and restore yoga class. The first half of the class is yin based (longer holds focused on the joints) followed by restorative poses. I always feel amazing when I leave class, and as a result I fell asleep really quickly. Such a great way to end the day.

Friday

Instead of heading to the gym on Friday, I made my way to the yoga studio. A good friend of mine teaches a flow and restore class that I love going to, but I don’t get there nearly as much as I would like.

I was really happy to make it yesterday though. She once again led us all through a great practice that involved some warrior 3’s (they’re always a bit tricky for me because my balance isn’t great). We ended with a few restorative poses before ending the class with savasana. I felt like a million bucks by the time class was over.

Saturday

My plan for today is to head to the gym to get some cardio in.

This Week’s Meals

This is what my grocery cart looked like this week. I stocked up on ingredients for smoothies because I was out of both yogurt and frozen berries. I also tried some new to me chicken burgers. I’m trying to eat more protein, so I figured going with something that I could barbecue would be a good idea (more on the chicken burgers below).

Sunday night I went out with my dad and brother. I ordered a really good caprese chicken sandwich.

It was a balsamic glazed chicken breast on a ciabatta bun with tomato, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. It was just as delicious as it sounds.

I barbecued half the chicken burgers (I always try to make leftovers when I cook) for lunch on Monday. They took less than 15 minutes to cook on the barbecue, so it was a super quick meal to make.

I paired the chicken burger with some ranch salad dressing to dip it in (such a tasty combination) and an Asian salad kit Fresh Express. The salad had romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, green onions, sliced almonds, and a sweet ginger dressing. It was delicious, which is why I was eating it all week and it’s in so many of these photos.

I made a chicken and vegetable stir fry one night this week for dinner. I sauteed two chicken breasts and then added a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and water chestnuts to the pan. It’s tough to see, but there is rice under all those veggies and chicken.

We were obviously taking advantage of the nice weather earlier this week and we barbecued smokies on Wednesday night. They were the President’s Choice cheddar smokies and we both really liked them. I have a feeling we’ll be eating them throughout the summer months.

In my quest to get in more protein, there’s nothing better than tuna. It has a ton of protein in it with very little fat or carbs. I mixed some mayo into the tuna to make some tuna salad which I ate along side some more of the Asian salad and half a chocolate chip muffin from Tim Horton’s.

Besides meals, there were also some other things that I ate this week.

I was at Starbucks twice this week – once to get some blog work done, and once for an interview. Both times I ordered a green tea. I find that Starbucks tends to add so much to drinks, it’s tough to find things that aren’t full of sugar. If you have a low sugar drink at Starbucks that isn’t coffee, let me know what it is!

This Jacklink’s beef jerky was on sale at the grocery store, so I ended up picking up a couple bags of it. This teriyaki flavor was definitely my favorite.

What’s your favorite non-coffee drink at Starbucks that isn’t full of sugar? Favorite thing to barbecue?

Friday Favorites May 17 2019

Happy Friday – the weekend is nearly here! Even though it’s supposed to be cold and rainy here (with a possibility of snow on Saturday), I’m looking to a slower paced few days – it feels like the last few days have been extra busy.

I hope you all have some fun things planned for the weekend.

I’m kicking off the weekend in the usual GFF fashion by sharing some of my favorite things from the past week.

Calgary Stampede midway food

The Calgary Stampede is a huge deal here every year. People get out their cowboy boots and hats, head down to Stampede Park, eat all the junk food and ride all the rides. It’s basically a 10 day party. Hotel rooms and booked up and Calgarians take time off work to take in the festivities. The Stampede always have some interesting food on the midway, and today that announced what will be there.

There’s everything from butter beer ice cream to funnel cake pizza to chocolate chip donuts to deep dried Twizzlers. I was telling my boyfriend that some of the sweet things sound good, but I would only want a bite or two of them before I think they’d be too sweet. You can check out the list of midway food here.

Nivea Strawberry Shine Lip Balm

Is anyone else as obsessed with having lip balm on their lips at all times? I hate the feeling of dry lips, and as soon as I notice it I’m reaching for something to put on. Last week I stocked up on some more lip balm. I couldn’t find the one I was looking for at the store I was at, so I went with Nivea Strawberry Shine Lip Balm instead.

I’m so glad I did because I’m loving it. It adds just a hint of color to my lips while keeping them well hydrated and feeling good. My only complaint is that they only come in packs of 2. I’m pretty sure if I could buy lip balm in jumbo packs I totally would. Anyone else need lip balm/gloss on at all times?

90210 Reboot

Is anyone else as excited about the 90210 reboot as I am? I seriously can’t wait to watch in August. I’m hoping that it’s just as cheesy as it was back in the day. While I didn’t watch it when it was on TV the first time (I was just a little bit too young), I definitely watched it when it was shown as reruns. 90210 was definitely a guilty pleasure for me.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

I started reading this book on Tuesday and I’m really enjoying it so far. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning. Defending Jacob (affiliate link) is about a district attorney who takes on a murder case until his son is accused of the crime in question. Below is the summary from Amazon:

“Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go? “

What was a favorite thing of yours this week? Did you watch 90210 back in the 90’s?

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

Words to Know in Yoga Class

Today I’m sharing some terms that you’ll hear in the yoga class that might you may not know the meanings of. I know how intimidating it can be walking into a yoga studio for the first time. Hopefully this post will help with some of unknown if you’re new to yoga.

I remember being completely terrified when I walked into a yoga studio for the first time. I was so intimidated by all the yogis there who seemed to know where everything was (the change room) and the etiquette (taking your shoes off at the door). And that was even before I got into the room where we would be practicing! If you’re interested in reading more about my tips for your first yoga class, check out this post and this post. You can find all of my yoga content here.

Sometimes yoga can feel like a completely different language – and in some ways it is. Many teachers will use the Sanskrit terms for poses. Sometimes they’ll use the English translation – it really depends on the teacher. As someone who’s been through yoga teacher training, I still sometimes confuse utkatasana (chair pose) and uttanasana (standing forward fold). Rest assured that people who have been practicing for years and have taken a ton of classes sometimes still mix up poses.

I thought I’d share some of the more common terms that you’ll hear in yoga classes. Since there’s such a wide variety of kinds of yoga, some of these words will be more common in certain classes than others. For instance, there are quite a few words found in a yoga nidra class that you wouldn’t find in other kinds of yoga classes. Most of those terms haven’t made it into this post because they’re so specific to nidra.

Sun salutation

These are a series of poses connected by the breath that are usually included at the beginning of ashtanga or flow classes. If you decide to attend those classes with regularity they’ll become second nature to you before you know it. They start and end in tadasana (mountain pose) or samasthiti (for ashtanga classes).

There are two kinds of sun salutations (surya namaskara in Sanskrit) – A and B. A is definitely done more in classes. B simply has a few extra movements added into it (two downward dogs and warrior 2’s). If you know how to do a sun salutation A, a sun salutation B will be pretty easy to pickup.

Vinyasa

Similar to sun salutations, vinyasas are also a set of poses linked to breath, though they start and end in a seated position. They’re typically done between seated poses to keep the heart rate and heat up.

Poses, postures, and asanas

All of the above terms mean the same things in a yoga context. They describe a specific shape that you make with your body. For example, downward dog and tree are both poses, postures, and asanas. Asana is the Sanskrit term for pose or posture.

Pranayama

Pranayama is the Sanskrit word for breath. In yoga there are quite a few different kinds of breathing. I’m most familiar with ujjayi pranayama because it’s used in ashtanga yoga, which is my the kind of yoga that I first started doing at first.

Each pranayama has a specific purpose as well as counter-indications. I found that I didn’t learn to much about different pranayamas until I did yoga teacher training. Generally there’s not a lot of time in yoga classes to go into depth about pranayama. If it’s something that interests you, I have seen workshops that focus just on the breath. They might be worth checking out.

Ujjayi

Ujjayi is a specifi way of breathing, that like I mentioned above, is used a lot in ashtanga yoga. The mouth is kept closed so the breath goes into and out of the body through the nose.

Ujjayi breathing is slightly noisy – think Darth Vader or the waves of an ocean. This noise is caused by the air passing through the back of the throat. If you’re interested in Ujjayi pranayama be sure to check out an ashtanga yoga class.

Drishti

Every single pose in yoga has a drishti point, or gazing point. For warrior 2 it’s the tip of your middle finger on your front arm. In chair pose it’s your hands up above your head. The idea is to give yourself somewhere to look at so that you’re not distracted like other things like seeing how your neighbor’s pose compares to yours.

Savasana

Savasana is the Sanskrit name for corpse pose. It’s the last pose in most yoga classes, though in some specific ones it can be done at any point in the practice.

Savasana is done flat on your back, feet wide apart and splayed part, arms away from your side and palms up. Your breathing goes back to normal if you were doing a pranayama during your practice. You let your mind wander. It used to be a tough pose for me, even though it might seem like the easiest one out there. Being still and quiet was (and still is sometimes), but I really appreciate savasana now.

It might be really tempting to skip out of savasana and leave class early, but it’s honestly one of the most important parts of your practice. Even if you have a mile long to do list or a tight schedule, it’s so worth taking savasana and enjoying it.

Ashtanga Yoga

Namaste

Most yoga classes or practices will end with everyone saying namaste. The tanslation of this Sanskrit term differs slightly, but you’re essentially saying that the light in you honors the light in them. It’s a really beautiful idea. You’ll probably be cued to bring your hands together in prayer in front of your heart when you say it. In some classes you’ll simply say it to the teacher, or in some classes you’ll be prompted to say it to the fellow students around you as well. It all depends on the class and teacher.

Obviously there are a lot more words that you can and will hear in yoga class that you may not be familiar with. I wanted to put together a list of the most common words you’re most likely to hear in yoga classes. Would anyone be interested in a more extensive list of words, or words found in specific kinds of you classes? If so leave me a comment below with what you’d like to read.

Lower Body Workout

Happy hump day! This week is flying by for me – before I know it it’ll be Friday. I hope that your week is going well so far.

I want to share my workout from this morning quickly before I get into explaining the lower body workout I put together for the blog.

I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical doing steady state cardio. I spent 10 minutes walking on the track for my cool down.

Apparently I was in the zone listening to podcasts while I was on the elliptical because I didn’t even notice that a man I didn’t know was standing just to the left of me staring at me. By the time I realized he was there I took off my earbuds and he asked me if I had found a phone on the elliptical I was on. It was a completely innocent interaction on, but it was a bit weird and creepy at first.

And now for today’s lower body workout!

You’ll notice in the graphic that I didn’t prescribe any weights for the exercises. That’s because which dumbbells you pick will be specific to you. You’ll want to go with a weight that challenges you, but you can still do every single rep – right down to the last set rep of the last set – with really good form. If that doesn’t happen then you’ll know that it’s time to dial back the weight and go with something lighter.

You’ll do 10 reps and 4 sets of each exercise. Rest for one minute between sets. I know it can be annoying to have to rest between sets, but it’s essential to give your muscles some rest to make sure that your form stays top notch.

If you’re doing this workout at home, you’ll need a set or two of dumbbells. You don’t need to go crazy buying lots of different sizes if you’re just starting to build your home gym – 2 or 3 different weight will be more than enough. I like these dumbbells (affiliate link) from Amazon.

Looking for a workout that isn’t a lower body one? Checkout my workouts page where I have all the workouts categorized so it’s really easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Below I’ve listed descriptions of the exercises listed in this workout. If you’re still not sure about any of them talk to a trainer at your gym and I’m sure they’ll be happy to give you some form cues on a particular exercise.

Dumbbell squat

With feet hip width apart and dumbbells in your hands at your sides, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees and ankles. 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, again using your glutes to propel yourself.

Dumbbell deadlift

With a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend forward at the hips, letting your arms hang down and keeping your back straight. Using your glutes, lift your torso back up to the starting standing position. 

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot.

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.

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. 

Fire hydrants

On your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips, move your knee away from the floor and your body so that your thigh is close to parallel to the floor and at a 90 degree angle to your torso. Lower your knee back down to the ground in the starting position. Repeat. 

Clam shells

Lay on your side on the floor with your hips bent at a 45 degree angle and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. With your legs stacked on top of one another, slowly lift your top knee up while keeping the top heal on the bottom heal. Then lower your knee back down. Make sure to use your glutes do the movement. Once one side is done flip over so the top leg is on the bottom and repeat with the second leg. 

Have you ever had any creepy interactions at the gym? What’s your favorite lower body exercise?

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

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

90’s Boy Band Workout Playlist

Before I get into today’s super fun workout playlist (can you tell that I’m excited about it?), I wanted to share my workouts from yesterday.

I headed to the gym for my first cardio workout of the week. I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical doing steady state cardio. I honestly felt like I could have gone longer, but I didn’t want to risk my plantar fasciitis acting up again like it was last week. So instead I called the elliptical quits and spent 10 minutes walking the track for my cool down.

And now onto the workout playlist!

If you’re in your mid thirties like I am, then you’ll have grown up in the boy band boom of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. There were so many of them at one point and they were all over the top cheesy. I was a fan of a few of them despite the fact that I mostly listened to alternative when I was in junior high and high school. Does anyone else remember the reality TV manufactured O Town? I totally watched it with my brother. Spoiler: I have one of their songs on the playlist.

I almost hate to admit this, but Backstreet Boys were definitely my favorite, followed by Nsync and 98 Degrees. I remember being so excited to go buy the newest Backstreet Boys CD at the mall when it came out. First of all, no one buys CD’s anymore, and secondly, I think I’ve been to the mall once or twice in the past year. How times have changed in just 20 years!

This playlist includes everyone from New Kids on the Block (maybe the original boy band?), to Backstreet Boys to LFO to Nsync.

I’ve listened to the playlist a few times now while I’ve been at the gym and it brings back so many memories. I can remember junior high dances where specific songs were played, dancing with my 11th grade crush in high school, and even basement parties. I was so incredibly excited when I got invited my to my very first basement party. I thought we were so cool.

To check out the playlist on Spotify, go here. You can also follow me other there to get all of the playlists that I create. Interested in more workout playlists? You can find all of mine here on the blog.

Who was your favorite boy band of the 90’s? Who was your biggest crush from that band?