Tag Archives: exercise

Chairs, New House and Favorite Workouts {Randomness}

19 Jun

Between the thoughts about moving, decorating, family reunions, furniture refinishing, book writing, grocery budgeting, eating healthy and working out, this poor blog has fallen down on the priority list. So I’m here with another list of random thoughts for ya.

1. We have 2 chairs out of 6 for our kitchen table officially refinished. The table and 1 other chair are just waiting for wax (we ran out). The other 3 chairs are in various stages because we ran out of the white milk paint and bonding agent. We ordered more, so hopefully we’ll be able to finish the rest next week. I can’t wait to show you the finished product! Here’s a sneak peek:


2. After my premature Father’s Day celebration, the real Father’s Day was pretty lowkey. We went out to dinner in Nevis at the Iron Horse on Saturday night. Sunday, I let Travis sleep in, we went to church, worked on our chairs during Emma’s nap and then just bummed out at the house. We grilled chicken and veggies for dinner, and watched Catching Fire after Emma went to bed.

FathersDay 0033. There’s something I find very satisfying about mowing the lawn. I think it’s because you can clearly see the progress you’re making, and the grass looks so good afterward. And with a push mower, it’s a decent workout too. I was exhausted yesterday after mowing Travis’ parents’ yard!

4. Emma can totally walk but chooses not to. Yesterday, she walked across her room several times, and once from the stairs to the couch while carrying my shoes. She’s just being timid I think, so she still resorts to crawling 97% of the time. Apparently, she wants to prove everyone wrong who says “One of these days, she’s just going to take off!” by increasing her steps by just a few each day.

5. For our “Superheroes” family reunion, the 3 of us have decided to dress up as Incredible Hulk, and call ourselves The Incredible Hulks. Now I just need to find purple shorts! Who knew that could be so difficult?

6. I’ve finally gotten into a routine with doing my workout and quiet time during Emma’s first nap… just in time for us to move.

7. Speaking of which, we close on our new house tomorrow! We’re driving down to Brainerd first thing. My dad will watch Emma while we close and then we’ll spend the rest of the weekend painting and doing other random house projects. My mom is planning to drive up tomorrow night.

8. I took last week off from my Tone It Up workouts since I was in Rochester with my parents. I’d rather hang out than work out. 😉 But we did go on a few nice walks up a big hill so I wasn’t a total bum. I got back at it this week and have really enjoyed them. Two of my favorite workouts so far were this HIIT tabata workout and this beach yoga routine. They’re free and only 20 minutes long! (I tell you this only because I really enjoyed them, not because I am compensated in any way.) I was pretty sore after the tabata routine.

And that’s all I got! Have a great weekend. I’ll be back next week with pics of our new house! Yay!

P.S. Bonus points to whoever noticed that even the way I label my posts about randomness are random.



Where I’ve Been + Where I’m Going

9 Jan

Where I’ve Been

At the beginning of last year, I set the goal of writing down one thing each day that I was thankful for. Well, after March 11, I failed. Miserably.

But all is not lost, because I did spend the year learning how to be thankful when life is hard. Becoming a mom has challenged me in more ways than anything ever has – even more than getting married. It has forced me to let go of my to-do list and agenda daily. It has changed my identity. It has changed how I spend my free time (what’s free time again?). It changed my marriage. It changed my career. It changed my home.

I’ve discovered, though, that no matter how much in my life changes, or what season I’m going through, whether things are easy or hard, whether I’m satisfied or discontent, giving God thanks is always the path to joy. Because in giving thanks, I accept the life God has given me and deem it Good.

I admit, it is HARD to give thanks when you want to yell and scream and kick against the circumstances God has allowed. When you want to send the meal of your life back to the kitchen and order something else. But because we Christians have the promise of eternity with God, and a purpose for things that is bigger than this visible world, we can be thankful for ALL THINGS.

Where I’m Going

I thought that making one goal for the year would increase my odds of actually achieving it. But I proved that theory wrong last year. So for 2014, I’m aiming a bit lower with ‘areas of focus.’ Ha. Mostly the New Year just coincides with me finally deciding to get my act together and stop making excuses. So without further adieu, here are my 4 ‘areas of focus’ for 2014 (in order of importance):

1) Spend time with God daily. God is the most important aspect of my life. If I can make time for anything else, I can make time for Him. It doesn’t have to be sitting down and reading the Bible, though that’s usually what it looks like. It could be listening to a sermon while running, just praying for an extended amount of time, soaking in worship music on the way to work, etc. Just something that gets me engaging with God and reminding my soul of truth every day.

2) Eat healthy foods. Over the past year or so, I have found myself regularly eating things that before getting pregnant, I would have only eaten once in a blue moon. I’ve also been slacking on eating the healthy stuff. So what this ‘area of focus’ entails is:

  • Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
  • Drink wine only one day a week.
  • Eat only one sweet a day, if any.

3) Exercise. I say that this is one of my passions, but looking at my tracking in MapMyRun, you would never know it! I’ve been thinking recently about the reasons why I haven’t gotten back in the groove, and my ‘reasons’ are pathetic. If I can find time to go to Target 3 times a week, I can find time to work out! So no more excuses. I just need to do it. Already this week, I’ve gone on my first run since Thanksgiving, my first swim since May 2012 and done an 8-minute Tabata workout that made me sore. Man, I am so out of shape. But fortunately, I just enjoy being active, even if it’s a pale comparison to my pre-pregnancy fitness.

4) Stick to a budget. God has blessed Travis and I with abundance, and until Emma, we were a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) family, so while we’ve had a budget for the past couple of years, I don’t think we’ve actually stuck to it. Ever. However, since I’ll probably no longer be working when we move, and we plan to have more kids in the next several years, we will need to learn how to! I also feel convicted that we aren’t being the best stewards of God’s money by not knowing more about where all our money goes.

Our main problem with sticking to a budget is that even though we are fairly practical in what we buy, we make a lot of purchases that aren’t planned for. They’re usually paid for out of what we call the ‘slop’ in our budget (a.k.a. the money we’ve budgeted for other things that we didn’t use this month, but might need next month). So we will definitely need to learn delayed gratification.

On a similar note, we’ve recently decided that I am going to take over handling our finances, paying bills, etc. (GULP) since I’m the one who spends most of our money. I’m toying with the idea of going back to using envelopes of cash (Dave Ramsey style). Best part of this is that I am now in control of the (nonexistent) Gun Fund. 😉

So there you have it!

Exercise Post-Baby

26 Apr

Like I mentioned yesterday, my post-baby ab muscles are a joke. I discovered this very quickly when I attempted to do the postnatal ab workout included on my Prenatal Pilates DVD. I lasted about 2 minutes and turned it off – plank exercises will not be happening for quite some time. The Prenatal Pilates workouts themselves are more of my speed and ability right now.

My main form of exercise so far has been walking – because I had that tightness under my rib cage, I started out just walking to the end of the street and back. When I started feeling better, I walked my normal dog loop of 1.15 miles, which takes me about 20-25 minutes. And then one day, it was sunny and I was so antsy to get out and jog that I went for it. That was 12 days postpartum.

Stupid? Too soon? Perhaps. But in my defense, my doctor said I could do any exercise that I felt up to, as long as I used common sense. And my bleeding had already stopped, I didn’t have any cramps or pain before or after, and I took it really slow, and walked a lot – so much so that my average pace for my 2 mile walk/jog was 15:58/mile. My jogging intervals were around a 12:30-12:40 pace.

And it was wonderful being out there. It felt like I picked up right where I had left off in pregnancy (at the same slow shuffle), and it got me even more pumped up to get back into running. But I could definitely notice my lack of core strength, and I do realize that my body has gone through a lot and I don’t want to jump into anything too intense too soon. So for now, I’m going to limit my jogs to one a week, and really listen to my body. For the rest of my workouts, I’ll be doing Prenatal Pilates, sit-ups and push-ups to build up my core strength, walking, and hopefully some swimming (now that I can go in the middle of the day, when it’s not busy!).

20130419_150143 20130419_145104

I’m planning to find a race in late summer/early fall to train for, since I love having a goal, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy getting out there.

(Side note: On my jog, I didn’t take Emma, only the pooches. Just in case you were concerned about her being in a jogging stroller so young.)

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

16 Oct



Hey friends. I’m back from elk camp, which I’ll recap when Travis gets back with the camera. I also forgot to take a bump picture this morning so I’ll do my 15 Week update tomorrow.

Today I wanted to share my thoughts on weight gain during pregnancy, two aspects in particular: food and body image.


For an average-sized person like me, the recommended amount of weight gain is 25-35 pounds. And despite the familiar idea of eating for two, the extra calories required daily to grow a human being are pretty much 0 in the first trimester, 300 in the second trimester, and 450 in the third trimester (again, for an average-sized person like me).

It’s funny, though, how prevalent the mindset is of eating whatever you want now that you’re pregnant. All of a sudden, eating an entire chocolate cake by myself is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. “The baby needs chocolate!” I can’t lie and say that I haven’t already often said “Hey, I’m growing a baby” as an excuse to eat more than I would normally (mostly to avoid being hungry an hour later), but I haven’t been demolishing everything in sight either. I may be pregnant, but I still can’t stand the feeling of being too full.

All that said, my approach to gaining weight during pregnancy is going to be the same as my approach was to maintaining weight before pregnancy: Intuitive Eating. The main two principles of Intuitive Eating are 1) Eat when you’re hungry and 2) Stop when you’re full. Sub-principles are 3) No food is off-limits and 4) You feel better when you eat healthy foods.

Now that I’m in the second trimester, the amount and quality of food I eat is especially important to The Biscuit. I’ve been pretty consistent in eating at least one serving of vegetables a day – last Thursday and Friday I had enormous salads for lunch (which cost me $7.50 each at the work cafeteria, no big deal). Tonight, I’m going to buy and prep the ingredients to keep that salad streak going. I’d also like to start cooking dinner more often – even if that only means making our own mini pizzas instead of throwing in a frozen pizza. I’ve also been putting strawberries on my cereal for breakfast and eating an orange and grapes or canned fruit for snacks during the day. {Side note: I love canned mandarin oranges.}

That’s about where my healthy eating ends. The rest of my diet has been a mashup of fruit snacks, licorice, potato chips, ice cream, pickles, sushi and white dinner rolls. And the love for meat I had during Weeks 5-7? Pretty much gone. Even chicken tastes kind of weird now.

To sum it up, my eating habits since becoming pregnant haven’t been the greatest and I’m aiming to improve them for the sake of my baby. But I’m not going to be a Nazi and count calories, or use a checklist to make sure that I’m eating everything I’m supposed to be (like the one that What to Expect When You’re Expecting has). Even in pregnancy, healthy eating is about making good choices, one at a time.

Body Image

Before getting pregnant, I’d heard pregnant women whose bellies were growing lament the loss of their former shape. I always thought it was kind of silly – I mean, what do you expect when you get pregnant? Having your belly grow is inevitable. But now I have a different perspective/understanding of that lament.

Don’t get me wrong – I love that my belly is growing because it makes pregnancy so much more real. But I wasn’t expecting to feel the same apprehensions as the other women I judged. There are days when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run a 10 minute mile again, or ever have a stomach that’s even remotely flat. There are days when I feel like my belly is just fat, not baby, and compare myself to other women who have barely-there bumps even at 19 weeks. I wonder if my boobs are still growing, and if they’ll ever return to the sufficient size they once were.

Probably the biggest struggle I have in regards to my body image is my fear of getting out of shape. For the past 8 or 9 years, I’ve been consistently active. Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve done sprint and Olympic triathlons, half marathons and a full marathon. Now, I count cleaning my house or walking the dogs as a workout – because honestly, I don’t have much energy for more. I went on 3 hikes this weekend with my mother-in-law, each lasting between 60 and 90 minutes, and that was my limit. I get tired a lot faster and easier than I used to, and I’ve already noticed that my fitness level has dropped significantly. I keep waiting for the “second trimester energy” to kick in but so far, I feel just as tired as I have the past 3 months.

So just like with eating healthy, I am just going to take it a day at a time and try to do as much as I can. If that’s only 2 workouts one week, that’s what it is.

How did/do you feel about gaining weight or losing fitness during pregnancy?

Back in the Groove

26 Jul

This past Monday marked one month since the marathon. In that time, I ran once (and it was not enjoyable), went on a couple of hikes in Alaska, and walked the dogs. But since I know that getting back into shape is a lot less enjoyable than just staying in shape, I decided it was time to get back in the groove of working out.

So here’s my rough plan-that’s-not-a-plan:

Cardio 3-4 days a week – with the idea of running, biking and swimming at least one day each

Strength 2 days a week

I have a stash of strength workouts from magazines and blogs that I’ll pick from for my strength workouts.

My main goal for working out now is to enjoy it. I cannot tell you how excited I am to go to the gym and read while working out. It’s definitely the thing that makes the time go by the fastest for me and I have so many books and magazines waiting to be read that I love being able to kill two birds with one stone. Being able to read while working out actually motivates me to go too. Oh and my work will reimburse both Travis and I $30 if we can prove that we go to the gym 8 times in a month. Win-Win-Win.

As for doing a triathlon or a bike race this year still, I’m not ruling anything out but I’m also not feeling very optimistic about those odds. I’m just playing everything by ear.

And for some reason, right now I’m really digging hiking so Travis and I are planning to go backpacking a weekend in August and another one in September. We missed the window for getting a backcountry permit in the Grand Canyon (applying now gets you a permit for December…no thanks) so that will have to wait. I’d also like to do some fun day hikes on our open weekends, and possibly a 14er too.

Overall though, we’re planning to focus more time on getting stuff done around the house, as well as starting to prepare for selling our house. We don’t plan on putting our house in the market anytime soon – moving involves a lot of variables, all of which are still up in the air, but my opinion is, if we’re going to do these things anyway, we might as well do them now when we can enjoy them instead of waiting until right before we sell our house!

After a big race, do you usually jump right back into your routine? Or do you do something else for a while?

Back-Strengthening Exercises for Home or the Gym

2 Mar

I mentioned a long time ago that I would post my physical therapy exercises for strengthening my back, so that you all could benefit from the big chunk of change I dropped to learn them. Last week, I had my last appointment. Not because I was no longer benefiting from my visits, but because my money tree was dead.

It took me this long to post the exercises because I was planning to post pictures of yours truly illustrating what to do. But then I realized that my pictures would be crap and that I might as well just post the exercises already. So without further ado…

Equipment You’ll Need:

Swiss Ball

Resistance tube or Cable pulley machine

Resistance Bands (You can tie the ends of a Pilates band together too, but the round resistance bands work better.)

Optional: Medicine Ball



Swiss Ball Squats

2 x 15 reps

With the ball behind your back, feet shoulder width apart, sit back as if you are trying to sit in a chair too far away. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes.

Swiss Ball Abdominal Rollouts

2 x 15 reps

Kneel in front of the ball and place your forearms on the ball, your elbows bent at a little more than 90 degrees. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and roll forward, placing your weight on your forearms, back straight, and elbows underneath your shoulders doing a plank on the ball. You should feel your abs engage to stabilize you. To make it more challenging, roll out and lift one arm off the ball.

Swiss Ball Alternating Leg Lifts

2 x 20 reps           

Sit on the Swiss ball and roll out so that your upper back is resting on the ball, your hips are lifted, feet on the floor shoulder width apart, and your body is in a straight line, with your hands resting comfortably. Carefully, lift one leg, hold for 5 seconds, lower. Then lift the other leg, hold, lower. Repeat.

Swiss Ball Bridging

2 x 20 reps                                                             

Lie face down on the Swiss Ball, with your hands and feet resting on the ground. Pulling your belly button into your spine, raise your right arm and left leg together, hold for 5 seconds, lower. Then lift left arm and right leg, hold, lower. Repeat.

Lunges with Torso Rotation

2 x 10 reps

Step forward and lunge, keeping your knees at 90 degrees.  Rotate your torso to both sides and return to standing. Hold a Swiss or medicine ball in your hands as you twist to make these more challenging.

Straight Arm Pull Downs / Cable Pull Across

2 x 25 reps

Note: For these exercises, use either a resistance tube anchored above your head or a cable pulley machine on the top notch, with weight set low (7-10 lbs).

Pull Down: Stand up straight and pull your belly button in, facing the tube or machine. Grasp cables in both hands and keeping your arms straight (but not locked), pull down to your side, as if you were going to graze your thigh. Keeping your arms straight, release back to starting position. Repeat.

Pull Across: Take cable in your left hand, with the left side of your body facing the tube or machine. With a slight bend in your elbow, pull down and across your body to your opposite hip (as if you were dancing 70s disco-style).  Keeping the slight bend in the elbow, release back to starting position. Repeat, then do the same with the right arm, turning your body so that the right side faces the tube or pulley.

Monster Walk (this one is killer for the hips and glutes!)

2 x 30 reps

Place a resistance band around your ankles and start with your feet together. You will be moving laterally so make sure you have enough space. Step your left foot out, keeping your toes pointed forward, then step your right foot in, bringing your feet together. Step to the left again, bring right foot in again. Do 15 reps, then step right foot out, bring left foot in, for 15 reps. Repeat to the left and to the right again.

The next part is best explained with a picture:

After 15 reps (8 to right, 7 to left), do it in the reverse direction. So instead of stepping the left foot forward, you step it backward. Do 15 reps (8 on left, 7 on right) and repeat forward and backward again.


To keep my no-photo streak going, I made these No-Bake Granola Balls and this Chickpea and Kale Soup recently and they were both delicious. Kale was another green vegetable that I had written off as disgusting, but I was wrong! I honestly do not know what horrible recipes I used the first time I tried kale and brussel sprouts to make me hate them so much. Or maybe my tastebuds are just maturing as I get older? Whatever the reason, I like the result!

Have a great weekend!

Have you made any good recipes lately?

Five Randos

21 Dec

1. We went to Zoolights last night.

It was way cooler than these pictures show – it’s just that our camera doesn’t take pictures of lights very well. We didn’t see very many animals – a snake, a hippo and a rhino was pretty much all but it was still fun!

2. I’ve felt on the verge of getting sick since Sunday but have so far successfully staved it off with eating more veggies and getting more sleep.

3. For the past month, I’ve been buying spinach with good intentions of eating salads every day at work. But every day I looked in the fridge and spinach didn’t sound even remotely appealing. This happens to me a lot – I go through phases of what I like to eat. For a while, I was eating spinach with everything – seriously. I served leftovers on spinach. I put spinach in sandwiches, pizza, smoothies. Now? Eck.

Luckily, I bought some romaine lettuce last week and am back to enjoying salads! Today’s has sliced deli ham, grape tomatoes, sliced carrots, cottage cheese, a tiny bit of feta and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. I’m sad that I forgot croutons. But I did bring a hunk of French bread filled with refined white flour – redeemed!

4. This week has been the week of the slide. I’m not even trying to pretend to be motivated. I did get laundry done between Monday night and last night. And I made or helped make dinner (as easy as possible). But other than that, I’ve laid on the couch watching TV each night, slept in each morning (and sometimes gotten up to just take a nap on the couch), and eaten my weight in chocolate and cookies, in addition to not working out. And it’s been glorious.

5. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight – 4 to 8 inches.

While I love the snow, I wish I didn’t have to drive in it. It snowed Monday night and I seriously was so scared driving home in my little Ford Focus that I about cried, pulled over and asked Travis to come get me. Instead, I muscled through and once home, drowned my fears in Godiva chocolates. I swear, it seems like every year I get more and more paranoid about driving. If it gets to the point where I can’t handle driving anywhere in snow or rain, I’m seeking professional help.