Start the Week off Right

I can’t believe January is almost over. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of a new year. Time really does go by quick.

This past weekend my Dad came into town for a visit. The weather was awesome on Saturday and we were able to sneak in some beach time. Ray, my Dad, and I ventured to Blacks Beach with some of our friends. Blacks is famous for two main reasons –  its surf break and it is a nude beach. Not that I have anything against nudity, but I am happy to report that the other beachgoers on Saturday were not taking advantage of being able to be in the nude. It was a bit of a trek down to the beach, but the hassle of getting there was totally worth it. I can’t believe Ray and I have been living in San Diego for 3 years and last weekend was the first time we went to Blacks.

blacks 1

It was cool to see the blimp that was covering the golf tournament at Torrey Pines circling above us.

blacks 1.2

We spent a few hours hanging out on the beach watching the big waves and the surfers. There was also a game of horseshoes played, but I didn’t partake because I was busy taking a nap 🙂

blacks  2

blacks 3

On Sunday, we all thought it would be a good idea to move around a little bit so we went for a short hike/walk in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

hike torrey

After our hike, we decided to try a new place for lunch and ventured to Bull Tacos in Cardiff before taking my Dad to the airport. The food was good and very tasty, but the view was awesome. I think I could have easily stayed out there all afternoon enjoying the view and snacking on chips and guacamole.

cardiff bull tacos view

Since my weekend was full of lots of indulgences, I made an extra effort on Monday to get my week off to a good start. For me eating a nutritious breakfast on Monday morning is a great way to help me get back into my normal eating habits. I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping over the weekend so I ran to Green Acres, a cafe by my work, to pick something up.  Even though I was eating out I made sure to pick something that was on the healthier side and decided to get an acai bowl.  The fruit, acai, greek yogurt and granola were very tasty and totally hit the spot. It felt good to eat something fresh and light.

breakfast bowl

My workouts lately have not included much cardio so I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate some into my workouts this week.  On Sunday night, I spent some time looking for cardio based workouts and stumbled upon a few treadmill routines from WedMD and Self.

Check them out:

http://www.self.com/fitness/workouts/2013/10/ten-boredom-busting-treadmill-workouts

http://beta.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/5-treadmill-workouts-in-an-hour-or-less

All of the workouts look awesome and seem like great ways to beat treadmill boredom while burning some serious calories.

For my workout on Monday I used the Gauntlet Workout from Self  as my inspiration.

Self Gauntlet-Treadmill-Workout

I made some modifications to the workout because I am not a fan of kettlebell swings and I wanted to perform more of a variety of strength training moves. Here is what I came up with:

Warm up run at a comfortable pace for 6 minutes 

Complete 3 rounds of Set 1 and then complete 3 rounds of Set 2.

Set 1

Set 2

Cool down – run at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes.

I made a cheat sheet for myself so I would remember what I was supposed to be doing and for how long since there are so many different parts to the workout.  I also setup a mat and dumbbells as close to my treadmill as I could in order to make running back and forth between the two easier.

cardio blast routine

I worked up quite a sweat. My arms felt like jello from performing the arm exercises, which made them feel extra heavy while I was running. A workout routine like this one would be hard to do in a crowded gym or if the treadmills are not located close to an area you could do the strength training moves. It was also a little annoying have to restart the treadmill so many times. Next time I would increase the interval time on the treadmill and limit the number of times I performed strength training moves.

Overall, I enjoyed the workout and I am glad I tried it. The workout was challenging and kept me from getting bored. Plus it felt extra good to sweat and workout after a weekend filled with lots of eating out and rich food.

What are some of your favorite ways to start the week off right after a weekend filled with indulgences?

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Is the Weekend Here Yet?

Happy Hump Day! I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to this weekend especially since I have Monday off from work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Three day weekends are the best! I am not sure if it is the beautiful weather we have been having in San Diego or that I had so much fun last weekend, but I have been struggling to get into work mode this week.  Anyone else having that problem?

Last Saturday Ray and I got an early start to our day and since we didn’t have any plans we decided to hike Cowles Mountain with Cooper and enjoy the nice weather outside. Cooper got pretty excited when he saw us break out our hiking shoes and CamelBak pack and started running figure eights around our living room. We had to put him in the pre-walk staging area so we could get ready without him going crazy and trying to steal our stuff.

cooper pre walk

I am not sure why, but letting Cooper hang out in this position for a little bit before a walk or an outing always seems to calm him down.

I guess a lot of people had the same idea as Ray and I because when we got to Cowles Mountain around 10:00am it was super busy. It looked like there was a conveyor belt of people moving up the trail and trying to park was a mad house.  We had not hiked Cowles Mountain since last September and I forgot what a great workout it is. I was huffing and puffing the whole way up.  I love hiking Cowles Mountain because it is conveniently located and the hike is only three miles so it doesn’t take up your whole day.  It isn’t the prettiest hike and it is very popular so it does get crowded and can be slow-moving at times.

Copper hike cowles 3

Cooper loves drinking water from our CamelBak pack.

cooper and ray cowles

cowles hike with cooper

cooper ray and i cowles

saracooperhike

Cooper did much better this time than the last time we hiked Cowles Mountain. He didn’t spend the whole time moving from one shady spot to the next and didn’t go chasing down the mountain after a bird. We are able to finish the whole hike in an hour and ten minutes.

Whenever I hike I always pick a reward that I will get to enjoy when I am done and my reward always has something to do with food or drinks. Whenever I need motivation on the hike I just think about how good my reward will taste and it always makes me move a little faster.  My reward for completing our hike on Saturday was an iced coffee with vanilla powder from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

ice coffee

I think I drank the whole thing in 10 minutes…it was so good!  Ice coffee might not seem like a great reward, but the vanilla powder makes it extra good and there are no Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations super close to our house. After our hike, Cooper took a long nap on the couch, which I guess was his reward.

cooper post hike

He has such a hard life.

We spent the rest of our Saturday watching football, drinking beer, and hanging out with our friends. The night ended with a small fire on the beach, which would have been perfect except we didn’t have all of the stuff to make s’mores with.

fire beach

Sunday was more mellow, but just as fun and included a great strength training workout, a C2 class at CorePower Yoga in Pacific Beach, and watching more football with friends at our house. Only bad part of the day was having to take Ray to the airport for another full week of travel 😦

Hopefully, the rest of the work week goes by fast!

Move your Body

A few years ago my husband, Ray, and I were visiting family in up-state New York for Thanksgiving. After dinner, Ray’s uncle Joe said, “Man I just need to go move my body after all of that food!” The comment really struck a chord with me; it was such a simple yet insightful statement. In today’s world we spend a lot of time sitting. Sitting at work, sitting while on the computer or watching TV, sitting in traffic to and from work – it is very easy to forget the importance of finding time in your day to be active, or as Joe would say, “move your body.”

My fitness routine typically includes three workouts during the week. One workout is cardio-based and the other two are focused on strength training. On the weekends I don’t stress about going to the gym, but rather take Joe’s advice and find ways to incorporate being active into my  plans. Ray and I will often walk to get breakfast, go for a bike ride, hike, or play beach volleyball with friends.

A few weekends ago, Ray and I were not feeling motivated to do anything and spent the morning drinking coffee and hanging out on the couch. While Ray and I were enjoying our lazy morning on the couch our puppy, Cooper, wasn’t and started to get restless. Ray and I decided to get out of the house for a little bit and go for a hike with Cooper (hoping to expend some puppy energy).

If you live in the San Diego area, Cowles Mountain is a great hike and worth checking out.  Cowles Mountain is the highest peak within San Diego County so it will get your heart rate up. Roundtrip the hike is about 3 miles. For more information about hiking Cowles Mountain check this website out http://sandiego.about.com/od/outdoorrecreatio1/p/cowles_mtn.htm.

Cooper was happy to be outside and walking, but it was a hot day and he was having some trouble dealing with the heat. He walked from one shady spot to the next the whole way up and he drank most of our water. Ray even had to give him a pep talk or two.

photo shade cooper

Even though it was hot we all made it!

photo (us )

Despite being pretty tired from the first half of the hike, Cooper did muster up some energy on the way down to chase after a bird. I let go of the leash for one second to drink some water and the next thing I knew Cooper was charging into the bushes. Ray had to go running after him and lure him out!

photo (1)

After hiking Cowles Mountain with Ray and Cooper, I was a sweaty mess and I definitely felt like I had gotten some great exercise.  I think it is important to remember that exercising doesn’t always have to involve going to the gym, lifting weights or a cardio machine but rather can be as simple as finding ways to “move your body.”