Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013!

With the upcoming holidays, I'm going to take a little break from the blog.

To keep you from getting too sad, here's the outfit I taught in this week, celebrating my last regular class of 2013. 

Yes, I taught in that.  No, you're not imagining the "drink up" sweater on my water bottle.  And FYI, furry socks shed a lot during high intensity workouts.  (Insert jab at Lululemon's pilling pants and denial here).

While I'm gone, I want to hear about all your adventures.  Let me know about your favorite workout, holiday 5K race, or other fun stuff  - there's lots of room to tell me a story in the comment section below.

I'll be holding off on new posts until January 2014.  Look for more news from me then!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Smile & Work It

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

If any of you have ever been to one of my group fitness classes, you know I am always yelling at you enthusiastically encouraging you to:



Well, think about the quote above for a minute.

You do smile when you're experiencing joy.
Or you can smile, and as a result, find joy.

I look at like this: either way, if you're smiling, you're eventually going to find some joy in there.

And what would be better than finding some joy while working out? ...even if it's just realizing that forcing a smile like this actually makes you look kinda goofy, and you start to laugh at yourself:

Awhile back I read a few articles that talked about smiling helping with two major areas of working out.  Supposedly, smiling while working out could make you up to 20% more productive during your workout, and could also help you recover more quickly the next day.

Of course, now I cannot find either of those articles to link back to, and you probably think I'm a liar.

Oh well.  What I could find was the following study, which is still quite interesting.

Smiling and stress recovery:

Kraft and Pressman (2012)
(read source article here, or just read the short summary below that I condensed for you)

Kraft and Pressman studied 169 college students, telling them that their investigation concerned multi-tasking. The group was split into three groups:

(A) The neutral expression control group (asked to hold the ends of chopsticks gently in their mouth while relaxing their face).
(B) The standard smiling group (asked to hold the ends of chopsticks gently in their mouth while raising the corners of the mouth, thereby producing a facial smile).
(C) The Duchenne smiling group (asked to hold chopsticks cross-wise in their mouths, thereby producing the full-faced smile with squinted eye known as a Duchenne smile.)

Furthermore, half of the participants in each of the two smiling groups were explicitly told to smile.  These participants were aware that they should be smiling, whereas other participants were simply told how to hold their faces.  So, in all, the experiment had five conditions:

(1) neutral expression
(2) standard smiling without awareness
(3) standard smiling with awareness
(4) Duchenne smiling without awareness
(5) Duchenne smiling with awareness

Participants were then hooked up to a heart rate monitor and were subjected to "stressful" tasks (mostly trying to do something quickly, or multi tasking on various things while trying to be accurate on all parts, etc).  After the stressor was removed, heart rate recovery times were recorded.

The results?  Regardless of their awareness, smiling participants recovered more quickly from stress than those with neutral expressions, and those displaying Duchenne smiles recovered somewhat more quickly than those displaying a standard smile.

So, while the above doesn't exactly prove that you will be super productive during your workout, and that you will recover like a rock star the next day, it does show an interesting result in regards to smiling while under stress.

And, to take it one step further, I'll push my theory - if you're smiling, chances are, you're eventually going to start having fun. 

Interestingly enough, to go along with my theory, just this week I stumbled across this news snippet:

So - regardless of being 20% more productive during or not - smiling sure does make things more enjoyable.  And if you're having fun, that's the most important part!

Trust me, as a girl who works out dressed as a unicorn, I know what I'm talking about.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Workouts

I never thought I could do it.

But I did.

This weekend I ran 10 miles on a treadmill.

It's amazing how easy 10 miles on a treadmill feels after having done 14 miles on the hamster wheel track the weekend before.  In fact, it was like a cake walk on that treadmill!  (Let's just not talk about the fact that I kept over striding the speed of the belt and took my fair share of heart rate sensor bars to the gut).

I'm pretty proud of myself for just getting on the machine and doing it.  Lately, with the winter weather keeping temps in my area barely hovering above 0 degrees (most days not even above 0, boo!!), I'm struggling with my workout mojo. 

Well, that and I am just coming off of having a pretty bad cold.

I find that if I tentatively schedule out my week of workouts on Sunday night, and hold myself to them throughout the week, I am far more likely to actually get in good workouts during crappy weather. 

My schedule for the last couple of weeks has been something like this:

Monday - run 6 miles tempo
Tuesday - teach TBC
Wednesday - run 6-8 miles easy
Thursday - run 2-4 miles speed, attend TBC (with modified cardio segments)
Friday - REST
Saturday - Long run
Sunday - REST

So - I'm curious.  What are YOUR winter workout strategies to keep yourself active?  Comment in the notes below.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Strength & Endorphins

Just a short one today.

With the holiday season in full swing, try to be responsible but... also, try to remember:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Linky Love #1

I've always been a secret stalker of various blogs ...

But since I started blogging back in March, I've amassed quite a collection of blogs that I like to read/follow.

Since I don't have much to say today, and I'd like to give a shout-out to the folks to keep me entertained, I thought I'd let my favorite sites do the talking.

Running Blogs

First, a shout out to the guy who I "borrowed" the name of this title from... and who also writes a very funny running related blog:

Speaking of being funny, if you're going to blog about running, why not make a few poop jokes along the way:

And, of course, the girl who's blog pushed me over the edge and helped me realize that I should share my running stories, too - T-Rex Runner:

A friend of T-Rex, this guy Otter is pretty funny:
Not often updated, but also by Otter:

And if you like to read races from two different view points, this guy often runs with Otter, and seems like an all around good guy:

One last connection to the above, Glen appears to be friends with Dan and Otter?  I don't know, I guess I just like his blog too:

For a little inspiration about running through life's challenges, this blogger tells his story of running while battling brain cancer and caring for his daughter:

If you haven't maxed out yet, here are a few other funny running blogs:

And, last but not least, a couple of blogs I found after running the Chicago Half (and indirectly making at least one new friend over the internet):

"Other" Blogs

Lots of interesting ideas for healthy/unprocessed/vegan/gluten free/etc goodies:

A story of a woman who's a mother and an artist, and the amazing results when she collaborates on art pieces with her 3 year old daughter:

Another mom who likes to make cookies, eat delicious food... oh, and run, too:

And finally - sometimes I love this lady, sometimes she gets a little negative... but worth the crap shoot on the days where it's really funny:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Deep Thoughts While Running #5

Although recently I've become the master of running without music, I wasn't always able to do so.  In fact, aside from race days, I still end up being plugged in to music about 75% of the time.

Normally, I don't think too much about that fact, since many runners listen to music as they run.

However, a few weeks back, I happened to pass a runner who had and ... unique ... music selection going.  Which lead me to wonder...

Do people really understand what the music they are listening to is saying...
and furthermore, would they continue to leave a song on their running playlist 
if they knew other people could hear it, too?

For those of you who know me, it won't be a big surprise to hear that I'm a 30 something Caucasian woman with a college degree in Chinese language and a huge appetite for gangsta rap and techno.

If that's not about as eclectic as you can get, well... I don't know.

And yes, it's true, I had an old coworker who used to call me Michael Bolton.

Ah, good times.

Anyhow, as you can just about guess, I have a ... fairly interesting ... new playlist I've been listening to on my iPhone for long runs.

So, the other weekend, I think nothing of the fact that I'm on mile 7 of a run listening to Gucci Mane sing about Lemonade.  I was even chiming in on the chorus when I wasn't not too winded. 

"Lemonade diamond bracelet, put it in your face ...
Lemonhead diamond earrings I wore yesterday ...

Ok, ok - I only had enough breath for the "BURR".

Regardless of what I could actually mange to sing as I ran that day, I do pride myself for knowing EXACTLY what is being said in a song.  (Whether or not I think it's appropriate to sing about, well, that's another topic).

This ... skill, if you want to call it that ... leads me into being somewhat of a lyrical translator, especially for my husband who is constantly asking me what a song is saying and what something means.  On a side note, yes, I spent a whole conversation telling him the various words for dancing sexy - IE wobble, twerk, making it clap ... oh boy, lets move on.

As I'm running, I realize that other people can likely hear my music when I pass by, but they might only catch a snippet - it's not like I've got a boom box on my shoulder.  When I'm running in an outdoor environment, I usually just sling my headphones around my neck so as to hear the music and my surroundings as I go.

I justify my weird music with the fact that someone would have to be pretty much at my shoulder to hear it.  Which isn't likely to happen much or for an extended period of time, so I don't really worry about what my music says. 

Besides, if someone is running in an outfit like this, are you REALLY going to be surprised if the song they're listening to is a techno-beat about losing their underwear?

Back to the run at hand.

My method of listening to music while running was working quite well, since I could hear everything that was going on around me.  It worked so well, in fact, that I realized as I was coming up on a late 40's / early 50's something man out for a run... that I could hear the music he was listening to, also.

And the closer I got, the more and more I'm shocked to find out ... his choice in music is even more foul than mine!!

Trying to keep a straight face, I find myself unexpectedly floored, and as I approach him I run through a bevy of questions in my head.

Does he realize that I can hear the music?

Does he understand what the music is saying?

Did he REALLY pick that music himself, or did he say... grab his kid's shuffle figuring he'd be ok for a short run out and about?

Is he one of those old "but I'm still cool" dudes? 

Oh come on, you know the type:

So many questions circle in my head, and somewhere in the tornado, a thought surfaces. 

I begin to think back to when I first started running on a treadmill a few years back.  I was in a small gym at my then employer's building.  The gym was hardly ever used, and often I would be the only one running when I got off work at 4:30.

Since I found treadmill running quite boring, I would intentionally listen to music on my iPhone and watch TV at the same time.  The distraction of reading captions on CNN while someone was screaming at me to "shake my ass" made my 3 mile goal fly by.

It also made me quite oblivious to what was going on around me.

So, on one day as I was pounding away at my 3 miles, reading captions about the latest stock news, I decided to join in with Outkast and belt out a few lines...

"Roses really smell like POOO-OOO-OOO-OOO..."

And immediately, I get the feeling of hot knives in my back.

I look up to see a woman giving me a dirty look from the Pilates machine. 

I didn't even know when she came in.

Fortunately for me, my 3 miles was just about up, so I sprinted what was left and got out of there as soon as possible.

And promptly removed that song from my running playlist.

And I spent the rest of my run wondering if the man I passed did the same...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Show and Tell

I've had a few people ask in the past about my current bib and medal collection, so today I thought I'd do a little show and tell.  Enjoy!

Medal collection, left to right:
(Click on any blue race title to read the report)
Get Lucky 7K 2012
Iron Girl Du 2012
2nd Place/Age Category Lake Run 2011 (under Iron Girl)
Monster Dash Half 2012
Yes, I know that these medals are not hung in date order.  But, I did ask Santa for some additional spare hooks so that I can fix that scenario.  If I get those, you know I'll be posting a new photo ASAP afterwards!

My Bib Collection
Starting with New Prague 5K 2010 in the upper left (my first ever race)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pain in the Butt

A few weeks back, someone I know was telling me about their increased activity levels and their resulting muscle pain.  After a few questions, I realized the pain was literally... a pain in the butt!  LOL!

Many people don't realize that higher mileage or higher levels of physical activity means you'll eventually have tight muscles in your glutes, hips and thighs.  And yes - that does translate to butt pain!

The following has worked wonders in keeping me loose and happy.  I hope it works for you as well.  Enjoy!

Foam Rolling 

Foam rollers are almost as good as having a sports therapist living in your house.  If you don't have one already, time to invest!

Don't know what a foam roller is?  Click here to learn the basics about foam rolling and see a few intro moves.

Click here to see the foam roller I have.  It's just a basic one from Target, and is fine for beginners.  You can buy a similar one at pretty much any sporting goods store. 

I also recently learned about a new style of foam roller that's great for people who like deeper tissue massage and higher pressure on muscle knots.  I haven't tried it yet myself, but I think it looks pretty decent.  Click here.

Another option that is similar to a foam roller is a tennis ball.  And the nice thing about a tennis ball is that most people already have one at home.  If you're suffering from tightness in the glute, lay down on your back, on the floor, and place a tennis ball (or racquetball) under your glute at the area of tightness.  Then, gently transfer your body weight onto the ball and roll in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction over the area of the knot.  Fair warning: this is definitely not for the faint of heart, since it is a lot of direct pressure on the muscle knots.  However, it does work out any knots you have in a hurry.  If you can manage the discomfort of deep tissue work, and remember to breathe through and relax into the pressure, the end result is great! 


While foam rolling and massage is great to relieve pain once it's manifested itself, stretching properly after a workout is best... after all, why not prevent the pain before it can even start?

For basic stretches to hit up the glute and hip area, below are a few great options.  I personally do these pretty much every night while I'm unwinding and watching TV, or when I'm laying in bed for the night.  You can do these after foam rolling or using the tennis ball as well, to help further along the benefits of the massage.  Or, just do them on their own.  Word of advise, however: always stop when you "feel" the stretch - if it's painful, you're going too deep and you won't benefit.

Stretch one - the figure 4 (laying down or seated)

You do not have to grab under your leg as the first image shows if your flexibility does not allow.  Options include holding your outer thighs or even let your legs float in the air alone - as you work on your flexibility, you will eventually be able to reach further with your hands.



Stretch two - simple knee hug to chest

Do this after the figure four stretch above to work out any remaining tightness.  You can play with pointing the knee towards the right or left shoulder, or gradually rotating between each, to see what position targets your specific area of tightness.

Stretch three - hip flexor

If you are having tightness in your glutes, your hip flexors are also likely tight - although you may not feel them yelling at you like you do in your glutes.  A good partner to the stretches above, this works the front side of your hips instead of the back.  The second image, a basic runner's lunge, is not quite as deep a stretch and may be easier to achieve if you are extremely tight.


Sports Massage

If all else fails, or if you're in the mood to spend some money, the final option I suggest is to see a sports massage therapist.  I prefer my local massage lady, who spends lots of time with you to evaluate your specific areas of pain and walks your through stretches, as well as doing deep tissue massage to work out any lingering pain.  Although you will pay around $120 for a 1.5 hour session (which I recommend for your first visit, so you can learn all the stretches you need to know, as well as have time for some massage), it is definitely worth the money.  I went in to see her with terrible glute and hip pain this spring, and when I took a run two days later, I felt like a new woman.  You can learn more about her here ... and make sure you tell her you are a new referral and I sent you!  If you do, I believe you get a first time discount, and I get a little bonus too!

And now - the results!  Let me know if you try the above, and what you think!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Black Friday 2013

Welcome back to the real world.

What?  You don't know what I'm talking about?

Come on, most of us just had a 4 day (if not more) weekend.  This is very likely your first day back at it since before the bird. 

And by bird, I mean the Thanksgiving feast.  I sure hope you didn't flip anybody one before you left work last week.  ;-)

If you are one of the unlucky folks who didn't have a 4 day weekend, I'm sorry.  That really sucks.  I hope from the bottom of my heart that you didn't have to work on the new monstrosity that is "Black Thursday"... at least I think that's what they're calling it? 

What BS, having a store open on Thanksgiving day.  What is wrong with us as a society that we: (1) have stores open PERIOD on that day and (2) actually go shopping on that day?  Because let's face it, if stores weren't making money, they wouldn't be open. So obviously, people are out there shopping. 

Ugh.  Disgusting.

I'm also not a big fan of Black Friday, either.  Why follow up a day of family togetherness and thanks with a day of pushing and shoving ... all just to save $50 on a new TV?

American consumerism at it's finest.

So, what DID I do on Black Thursday/Friday?

Well, on Thursday, I did the whole Thanksgiving thing.  We even hosted.  Although I can't take too much credit for the food.  My husband did most of the work there.  And it was fantastic, btw.  He smoked the turkey this year.  I think it was the best one yet.

On Friday, I quietly protested the idea of Black Friday in-store fighting, and shopped from my couch.  While I did buy a few gifts (which I won't disclose here, since many who receive my gifts read this blog), I did also buy a few things for myself. 

What?  It was such a good deal.  Why not?!

And lucky you, they're all fitness related, so I'll do show and tell!

First, I bought some new stuff from Ink-n-Burn.  For those of you who haven't read my previous blogs here or here, you can check out my thoughts on them.  But obviously, I like the stuff if I'm buying again.  Besides, who can resist when they are having a 50%+ off sale?!

I settled on the "wave" T-shirt and matching sleeves (although you know I'm not a huge fan of sleeves, I couldn't resist, you know... matchy matchy).

I also purchased a shirt for my sister, which I won't be posting a photo of here... but she knows something is coming since I asked her for her measurements. 

Good news about Ink-n-Burn, before I switch topics: they're having a Cyber Monday sale today (12/2/2013).  Tons of deep discounts.  Head on over to their site if you want to take advantage of it last second.  Just click here.

Anyway!  In addition to a new workout top, I also splurged on some new bottoms.  And for this one, I did begrudgingly go into a store... but not until Small Business Saturday... and not until after 3pm... and definitely not to a store that had crowds.  Honestly, though, I just don't think this store would attract those kinds of folks anyway.

Yep, I went to Running Room.  (Sorry to my TC Running Co fans).  I started running not quite 4 years ago, and bought my first pair of shoes there.  While I don't shop there exclusively for my running gear, I do shop there enough that I've accrued some award points for my purchases - $10, in fact.  Additionally, American Express offers a $10 discount if you register your card and shop at pre-approved small business retailers on Small Business Saturday - lucky for me, Running Room was on that list.

So, with a $10 store credit in hand, a $10 discount registered to my American Express card, plus the promise of a mystery discount scratch off card for in store purchases, I decided to head off to the store. 

My original plan was just to buy shoes.  That's it.  Nothing else.  And I did...

But ... when I scratched off that 25% off code... I cracked.  I bought a pair of Sugio tights.  I justified them with the thought that I've been looking for a second pair of winter weight tights anyway, and as the model below demonstrates, they had really cool reflective piping on them.

Then I added a pair of windbreaker pants to the pile, too. 

WHAT?!  They were on super clearance.  $40 for a pair that was originally $110.  Come on...

After spending myself silly on new stuff for me, and a few gift items, I decided I needed to be done.  So I threw in the towel and went home to eat more leftover Turkey.

MMMMM... smokey!

And that's the story of my holiday shopping weekend.  Maybe in a few weeks I'll have a few new product reviews for you.  Until then... what did you by over the holiday sales weekend?!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Time

Well, folks - it's hard to believe it, but it's almost Turkey time.  I can't even believe summer is over yet, let alone knowing the winter holiday season is just around the corner. 

Man, the older I get, the faster time flies.  And I'm only in my 30's.  What will happen when I'm 60?!  Scary.

Anyway, with Thanksgiving on the brain, I know what many of you are likely thinking right now...

First of all, of course this:

Then, this:

Eventually leading to this:

And finally, the next day, this:

Good food.  Social gatherings.  Eating, eating and more eating.  It's the happiest time of the year, no?

Yes, and ... it's also one of the highest calorie times of the year.  Check this out:

Gah!  Can you believe the average Thanksgiving day of eating is equal to consuming 8.33 big macs?  So gross!!

OK, ok let's move on to the meat (turkey??) of the discussion: the challenge - how do you enjoy all that Thanksgiving has to offer without putting your hard work of staying fit to waste?  Or, in this case, to waist... har-dee-har-har.

It's really pretty easy if you spend a little time thinking before you eat.  In fact, with a few simple tricks, you can enjoy all the tastes of Thanksgiving without overdoing it. 

Here's how.

(1) Mindful choices
Yes, Turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes made with cream & butter, and pie and... well, EVERYTHING is just so delicious.  But, why not enjoy them along with some healthy food choices to help keep your overall intake down?  After all, if you're filling your stomach and your plate with some lower calorie choices, you're less likely to over indulge in the high calorie stuff. 

Here's a plating example from the ADA that doesn't have to apply just to diabetics... notice how much of the plate is covered by low calorie, high fiber vegetables:

(2) Portion control
Yep, I've already talked about portion control in the past, and you can read about that here.  But portion control becomes even more important on the days when you're really likely to overdo it with rich foods and desserts. 

Check out these interesting comparisons for serving size:

And here's the kicker when it comes to portion control... remember that 4500 calorie average above?  Well, with proper portions, and limiting your additional snacking and desserts, your caloric intake can be much more reasonable.  Look at this:

*Total of food shown is 715 calories, leaving room
for a modest serving of pie within the 1000 calorie mark.

(3) Keeping Active

Of course, after eating even a reasonable meal like the example above, there is going to be a little work to do.  So, time to pay penance. 

If you were smart, you may have ran a 5K/10K race the morning of Thanksgiving - if you did, congrats, because you already burned anywhere between 300-700 calories.  Good job!  With a reasonable plate of food like the above, I would say you're done.  Enjoy the holiday and camaraderie, and don't give yourself any grief about enjoying the day.

If you didn't run a Drumstick Dash or Turkey Trot, you should STILL enjoy the day.  And maybe the next day, make an effort to burn a few extra calories from the meal.  I know this example speaks to french fries versus a Thanksgiving meal, but I like the variety of activities it offers ... and maybe it will spark an idea in you:

And, I guess, that's about it!  Try to fill your plate with healthy options, practice portion control, and get in a good workout post-celebration.  If you can make those few easy adjustments to your holiday, being thankful will be a whole lot easier.  After all, I already know what I'm thankful for:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giveaway #2 Winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my second ever giveaway!


As you already know, my sister's Etsy business BellasBoutiqueMN offers spandex headbands, which you had a chance to win if you "played by the rules" this past week. 

And now... drum roll... I'm about to announce two lucky winners, who can choose one headband in any of the following colors:

#1 disco ball
#2 peacock
#3 purple and black damask
#4 paisley
#5 peace sign
#6 pink red and orange stripes (with sheer gold insets)
#7 blue and white stripes
#8 burgundy and white stripes
#9 navy blue solid
#10 pink textured
#11 black solid

Look at all those fun options!  I prefer the disco ball, myself.

And now, the results!  The winners are:

     Amanda Melquist - for being the first subscriber via BlogSpot

     Emily Seto - for being the first subscriber via BlogLovin', sharing on Facebook,
            and being a very active participant on my blog!!

How to redeem your prize:  I'll simplify this part by saying just contact me on Facebook, and we'll work out the details.

And, as I said in my last post, please don't forget to support the little guys by purchasing handmade goods, ok?  Especially with the holiday season just around the corner... these handmade beauties make a great gift for a teacher, coworker or friend!

Thanks for "playing", and I'll post again later this week.  Until then, go get a good workout in!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Giveaway #2 - Last Call! Closes 11.22.13 MIDNIGHT!

You know what?

It's Friday, I'm tired, and I've got a big game to rest up for... my alma mater is playing their biggest nemesis this weekend!!

Yep, you guessed it.

I love Bucky!

Anyhow, I'm totally going to cop out on a blog post and just remind you that today's the last day to enter the headband giveaway.

So, check out how to enter here, and then swing by my sister's Etsy business, BellasBoutiqueMN to check out the headbands shown here

Winners will be randomly selected on 11/23/2013, and their names posted on my blog the following Monday.  (A post game buzz may or may not be involved in selection.)

See you Monday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Haters Gonna Hate

In the last week or so, I've been feeling a little...

I am so over this negative media world, with people ranting about specific topics just to stir pots and get ratings/hits/attention. 

For example, the guy last week who wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal about how runners are full of themselves and only run for attention.  I'm not going to post his name or article title, because all that will do is give him what he wants - another website talking about him.

All I can say about him, or others is this:

So to all you haters - keep hating.

And to all you being hated - keep doing what you love.

After all, the point of this blog is to encourage people to do what keeps them healthy and happy.  That's why I post up things like the Anti-Resolution, why I tell you not to be to hard on yourself, and why I shared my weight loss story with you to begin with.

Turn your back on the haters and ignore them.  It's not worth it.

And look fabulous while you do it ... in a free headband!  (Like that transition??)  Don't forget about my giveaway this week, only a few more days before a winner is announced.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The 2014 Anti-Resoution Resolution

In my 80's night TBC class last week, I proposed an Anti-Resolution Resolution for 2014.

I'm sure you just went...

Yes.  WTF did you just read?  What do I mean by Anti-Resolution Resolution?

Well - every year, Halloween becomes the national jumping off point for the binge eating season we call the holidays.  And then, every year, people create new years resolutions to make up for the previous two months of excess (which, of course, usually fizzles out just a few weeks into 2014 and becomes an utter waste of resolution, anyway).

So, yes.  I'm not afraid to say it.  I hate the new year resolution.  100%.

Why?  Because of this:

When I decided to make a change in my life, I just did it.  I didn't wait for a new year resolution to do it. 

And neither should you.

Therefore, my challenge to you today is this: make your anti-resolution RIGHT NOW.  And start on it now, too. 

Your goal can be anything.  If you're messy or disorganized - work to clean it up!  If you're always tired - shoot for an earlier bedtime each night!  Feeling dry/dehydrated - then aim to drink more water! 

Honestly, anything you want to change about yourself ... just do it!  Pick one thing and take that first small step.  See if you can make that small step into a permanent life change. 

My point is... I want to see you start your positive change now - don't wait for a new year to resolve for better habits.

Besides - how amazing will it be come end of December, when everyone else is trying to name their resolutions, that you can say "well, I started mine in November and I'm pretty much set, so... good luck with yours"?  SO AMAZING?!  Ah, yeeeaaahhh!!

So - what is my anti-resolution?

Well, I'm aiming to build upper body and cardio strength for my TBC students.  Over the next six weeks, we will slowly build our endurance on three specific exercises - pushups, squat jumps, and burpees. 

Each week, we will do 4 or 5 sets of exercises in addition to our normal class format.  (IE 10 pushups, 20 seconds of squat jumps, 8 burpess, repeated through out class 4 times).  The final goal is to complete 100 pushups in one class ... and to make it happen before Christmas/New Years closes down my Tuesday night classes for 2013.

The schedule looks like this:

Week/Date Pushups       Squat Jumps (secs) Burpees      
1 12-Nov 10 x4 = 40 20 x4 = 80 8 x4 = 32
2 19-Nov 12 x4 = 48 30 x4 = 120 10 x4 = 40
3 26-Nov 14 x4 = 56 40 x4 = 160 12 x4 = 48
4 3-Dec 16 x5 = 80 40 x5 = 200 12 x5 = 60
5 10-Dec 18 x5 = 90 50 x5 = 250 14 x5 = 70
6 17-Dec 20 x5 = 100 60 x5 = 300 16 x5 = 80

Welp, that's about it.

So - now that you know my goal ... tell me about yours!  Come on... there's lots of space below!  Go!

Oh!  One last thing before I go... don't forget about my giveaway this week.  This is your big chance you know! 

(And even though I didn't say it - feel free to join me in the challenge above and let me know how it's going for you.)