Six Workouts and a Thanksgiving

One of the Thanksgiving traditions around here has been to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I grew up with that parade and had the opportunity one year to be in it – full-on costume and a little dancing) some of the other traditions included my grandmother’s turnips and watching a holiday movie later in the day. This year I decided to shake things up and include a tradition I’ve always wanted to added to Thanksgiving day but never seemed to do.

What is the new tradition?

A workout, of course!

Nothing huge, no 5k here. I just made a point of it to get on my treadmill and I watched an episode of Castle while I banked some calories I’d use later at dessert.

Once we all sat down to Thanksgiving dinner (and yes, Stella and BB made an appearance in our backyard early in the day) the holiday season was in full swing. But I did not indulge in any shopping that involved me leaving the house, rather I shopped a little online. Clicking on  a few keys was so much easier than getting in the car and fighting the crowds at retail.

But that doesn’t mean I had a completely relaxing weekend. In preparation for the craziness that is Christmas, I took the opportunity three free days offered me to clean, clean and clean. In retrospect, I think all the cleaning was another workout that I haven’t counted. While I was busy tidying up, the pups got to spend one day at the groomer. They got to play all day with the other dogs and be pampered. Not a bad life, huh?

A quick pix when I got them home.

After their dinner (both were starving when they got home) they crashed. What a life.

Now, it’s time to review what I did and when I did it.

Monday – Pilates Class

Tuesday – Pump, Jump & Jab workout

Wednesday – 30 minutes treadmill

Thursday – 30 minutes treadmill

Friday – 30 minutes Mari Winsor Pilates & 30 minutes treadmill

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – 35 minutes treadmill


The Firm: Pump, Jump & Jab

I am a Firm Believer. I have been one for over twelve years. I remember my first Firm video tape workout. Our local grocery store had a video rental store inside of it and I went in one day to rent an exercise video and I came across the Firm’s Time Crunch video with Susan Harris. I took it home and used it. I used it again and then I went back to the store and rented Volume One with Susan Harris. Trust me, the Time Crunch video didn’t prepare me for Volume One. OMG. At over 40 pounds overweight the workout nearly killed me and I was sold. I ordered Firm workouts and began my fitness journey.

The Firm Pump,Jump & Jab

Right now I have many, many Firm workouts in my cabinet and I love most of them. One of my newer workouts is Pump, Jump and Jab with Kelsie Daniels as the lead instructor. I really love this workout and I love Kelsie as an instructor. For me, she’s right up there with Susan Harris. Kelsie is tough, motivating and fun. What more could you ask for? Oh, she’s a good instructor too.

Do you love the Firm and kickboxing?

Pump, Jump & Jab is a 45 minute workout that combines Firm moves with kickboxing. You’ll need a couple pairs of dumb bells, light and medium weights. There’s no yelling, and Kelsie is not in your face. She’s motivating and encouraging and fun.

Kelsie’s cueing is good and the music isn’t annoying and the choreography is easy to learn. Kelsie moves seamlessly between toning segments and kickboxing sequences. And it’s fun. This is one workout that I really enjoy doing and it hasn’t gotten old.

This is one of those workouts that what you bring to the workout is what you’ll get out of it.


Twelve Breaths, Seriously?

A new week and it began with my fifth Pilates class. I’m finding that my after-work Pilates class is making Mondays bearable. Mondays have turned brutal and it’s only going to get worse so having my Pilates class waiting for me at the end of the day gives me the strength to make it until 5pm.

When I got to class last night I admit that I was impatient. I wanted to get down to the mat and do my Hundreds (huh, I used to dread that one) and do some leg work (my favorite exercises) but our teacher had other plans. We started with a breathing exercise.

Inhale for a count of one, raising both arms slightly, exhale one breath and lower arms. Inhale for a count of two, raising both arms slightly higher, exhale one breath and lower arms. Inhale for a count of three, raising both arms slightly higher…you get the idea. We continued until we reached a count of twelve inhaled breaths. Half-way through I was like, “ugh, can we move this along?”

Well, the answer was obviously “no”. We continued until we reached twelve and by that time I was less stressed, more focused and prepared to fully engage my Pilates workout.

Lesson learned? Taking the time to breathe is a good thing to do even when we have a million things to do and a million thoughts are racing around in our head. You know that to-do list we all have? Lets add breathing to it and be sure to be fully present in the breath.


Bye-Bye Twinkie

Yes, Twinkies were a part of my childhood just like those chocolate cupcakes with the white swirl design and cream filling. Wonder Bread? It was what my peanut and butter sandwiches were made of. And over the past few days I’ve found out that a lot of other people have the same story.

So it looks like Hostess was what a lot of childhoods were made of.

But I have to admit I haven’t had a Twinkie or a slice of Wonder bread since I was a kid. So I’m not rushing out to stock up my pantry like the people that were interviewed on my local news station. If I’m going to eat a cupcake or any other baked good it’s going to come out of my oven and it will be made with ingredients I can pronounce. One of the secrets to being a healthy chick is not eating processed-baked goods that have a shelf life.

Bye-bye Twinkie.


Healthy Chick… Meet Mushrooms

I admit it, I’ve been anti-mushrooms forever.  I’m not sure when it started. Growing up we never had mushrooms and I often found the texture of mushrooms unappealing when we dined out. So it’s been second nature for me to either pick or push away any mushrooms on my main dish.

Until now.

I tried a new recipe that was heavy on the mushrooms. And it was delicious!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Mushrooms.

I served the stuffed squash with a side of spaghetti and spinach in a goat cheese and spinach sauce.

Meanwhile, our baby turkey, BB (short for Baby Bird), popped up outside my kitchen window standing on the patio wall. BB and his/her (?) mom, Stella, appeared in our backyard about two months ago. It’s been fun watching BB grow but I have to say he/she is making it hard for me to even think about roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Of course, I’m rethinking our main dish for Thanksgiving. It may sound silly, but I don’t think I can roast a turkey with Stella and BB hanging around. That stuffed Acorn squash was pretty hearty.


Six Workouts and a Nor’Easter

Guess a Frankenstorm wasn’t enough for us on the east coast. Mother Nature threw in a Nor’Easter and dumped about six inches of snow on us and close to a foot in towns more north. Thursday morning found me pulling out the snow blower for the first time (fingers crossed I won’t be doing that anytime soon).  The snow was heavy and wet and I was very grateful for my snow blower.

Thursday was one of my planned rest days as was Saturday. The other days? Pilates, strength training and cardio. A nice blend of variety. Right now I feel like I should be doing more because I have done more but I’m getting back into a regular fitness routine and I’m torn between the “more is better” and “don’t overdo”. I’m trying to find the balance that lies somewhere in between those two mindsets.

What I did and When I did it:

Monday – Pilates class

Tuesday – 30 min treadmill

Wednesday – Firm Time Crunch express workout

Thursday – rest

Friday – Firm Time crunch express workout

Saturday – rest

Sunday – treadmill

How was your week? What workouts did you do?


It’s More Than Breathing

Tonight was Pilates class number three and tonight Rose focused on breathing. Breathing from our chest, our abdomen and our back. We spent several minutes on breathing, with each breath we pushed away the stress of the day. I admit, I’ve often thought of “breathing exercises” a bit of a time waste in a workout, come on, lets get to the good stuff. And I did wonder when we would get to the real exercises. I was wrong. The breathing exercises were necessary to fully feel the moves we did for the rest of the class. Tonight was the first night that I did engage fully in “breathing”.

Dinner was a quick microwave warm-up of chicken soup I made yesterday with a side of roasted acorn squash. Having a quick, easy fit meal after coming home after a full day of work and a workout was a blessing. Now it’s time for a cup of tea.

Do you ever spend any part of your workout focused on your breathing?