Let’s talk about food! Because in my last “What I ate” post, I said I’d do a gym-day version if anyone was interested, and several of you expressed interest. (Thank you for that!)
Yesterday was a typical weight-training (BodyPump) day. I ate seven times.
Without further ado…
Thursday, November 2, 2017
First: (Just like last time, as it’s the same every day) Alarm. Get up. Take thyroid medication (for Hashimoto’s/autoimmune hypothyroidism) with a full glass of room-temperature water.
(Wait 30 minutes because of the thyroid med.)
Breakfast (pre-workout): A peanut butter sandwich: 2 slices of Dave’s Killer organic thin-sliced 21 whole grains and seeds bread with creamy natural peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter! This pic only shows one slice, since I actually took it on Wednesday before BodyCombat. I always have a full peanut butter sandwich before BodyPump, and just one slice before BodyCombat (cardio).
Peanut butter sandwich (the second slice of bread is invisible)
Post-workout: (I think of this as a second breakfast) I always have a protein shake after weight-training, and my protein powder of choice is the vanilla Vega Clean Protein. I throw a scoop into a shaker bottle, add cold water, and shake it up. Nothing fancier than that. This is my favorite protein powder… it’s not gritty in the slightest… and I enjoy it plain.
(By the way, I drink Xtend BCAAs during my weight-training workouts. I forgot to put that in!)
Lunch: Apologies for the redundancy… like last time, I had pasta for lunch. (More often than not, I have a sandwich.) Yesterday it was whole wheat thin spaghetti with almost the same sauce of olive oil, fresh sauteed garlic, sea salt, dry oregano, and a lot of nutritional yeast (nooch).
Instead of broccoli on the side, I had these plant-protein meatless balls… Gardein classic meatless balls. (3 meatless balls have 15g protein. I had 5.) These are delicious. You’ll see them again in my upcoming October Favorites post.
Pasta with meatless balls
I sopped up the remaining olive oil with a slice of this sourdough bread (the only white bread I’ll eat, since sourdough doesn’t wreak havoc on the metabolism the way regular white flour does)… not to mention, I love sourdough bread.
…followed by a small bowl of fresh raspberries and blueberries.
After lunch: My usual tablespoon of apple cider vinegar stirred into a tall glass of cold water.
Apple cider vinegar
Mini-meal 1: A banana. Just one!
Mini-meal 2: One organic Honeycrisp apple… another thing you’ll see in my October Favorites post.
(I took this pic of the apples a day or two earlier because of said October Favorites post!)
Mini-meal 3: A small bowl of walnuts and sunflower seeds.
Walnuts and sunflower seeds
Nuts and seeds every day, gym or no gym.
Dinner: A huge spinach salad with tomato, mushrooms, red onion, Kalamata olives, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and dry oregano.
I love a big spinach salad for dinner, especially on weight-training days. Did Popeye ever motivate you to eat spinach when you were a kid? Spinach is Popeye’s trademark get-strong-to-kick-ass superfood, after all. A plant! Bluto had no chance against it. I love fresh spinach, regardless.
I went on a little Popeye spree on YouTube last night and entertained myself for about 20 minutes. Here’s a quick clip:
Dessert: Seedless red grapes.
Seedless red grapes
After dinner: Another glass of apple cider vinegar water.
apple cidar vinegar
I can see lip balm smudge-marks on the rim of the glass! These pics are not the best I’ve ever taken… but they do the job.
That’s it for a typical gym-day. Oh, and as always, I drank water all day long. I can never drink enough water! I’m grateful to have it.
This is something of a New Year’s resolution update post. I said I’d work on strength-training this year. I haven’t started lifting weights yet, but my garage workouts have involved body-weight strength-training – so does Body Combat, for that matter – and that counts!
I’m going to post training updates regularly to share with any of you who might be interested, and also as a way of holding myself accountable for my resolution. I found this worked well last year when I made my resolution to go cruelty-free with my cosmetic and personal care products.
On that note, as I did with my Tae Kwan Do post a couple of weeks ago, I filmed parts of my last garage workout so I could clip some pics! My workout on Sunday morning consisted of the sort of general fitness workout I enjoy the most, which is conditioning geared toward martial arts. The strength-training aspect is significant in these kinds of workouts, though I just realized that the pics I chose don’t reflect that part as much. Go figure.
Before I get started, I have a few cautionary notes in case you want to use this post for workout inspiration:
[**DISCLAIMER** I’m not a certified trainer or a nutritionist, and I don’t claim to be either one. If anyone finds inspiration here, that’s great, and it’s for that reason that I’ll explain some of what I do in these workout posts. If you have health concerns and you’re thinking about starting any kind of fitness program, get medical clearance from your doctor first, just to be safe!]
1). I got started later than I’d wanted on Sunday morning, so I didn’t have breakfast. I had a Larabar and called it good. The simple fruit and nut combination did the job, but I would normally fuel up on something more substantial, and something containing whole grains. Eat substantially several hours beforehand, or eat something light 30-60 minutes before starting. I feel most energized when I have some combination of protein and complex carbohydrates (i.e. peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain bread) about an hour before working out.
2). Stretching was one of the things I did that I didn’t film. It’s important to stretch! Stretch at the beginning of your workout, but don’t stretch without warming up your muscles first. At least jog in place for 5-10 minutes before stretching.
3). You don’t see me drinking water in these pics, either, but I drink water periodically during my training sessions, usually between rounds/exercises. Hydrate regularly throughout your workout, but don’t overdo it. Just a swallow or two of water at a time will suffice.
4). I incorporated some punching into my abs workout, and, as per usual for me, I didn’t wrap my hands or wear gloves of any kind. This is NOT advisable. Wear gloves or at least hand-wraps when punching things. For several reasons, I usually go bare-knuckled when training in the garage. Do not follow my lead here. Protect your hands with wraps and/or gloves (either boxing or MMA) if your knuckles are going to be making contact with solid objects.
5). Also unlike me during this workout, Wear pants that don’t fall down. (Another thing you won’t see in this post: my underwear.)
Now let’s jump in!
Cardio. I don’t know what these are called… you hold onto the top of the bag and take quick, continuous, alternating hops, tapping the base of the bag with the ball of your foot each time. It’s like doing the leg part of mountain-climbers, but standing.
100 alternating foot hop-ups (or whatever you call them) on the standing bag.
I like to start a workout with a few rounds of jump rope.
Jump rope intervals
You can’t see the jump rope as I’m jumping, but it’s there. Jump ropes in motion are the ghosts of workout equipment. They can’t be photographed.
(These pants are weird, by the way. I don’t think I’ll be wearing them again.)
Cross-overs with high jumps to mix things up.
A jump rope is a fantastic piece of training equipment. Jumping rope conditions the entire body, and you can bring a jump rope anywhere and jump anywhere. Just make sure to wear pants that don’t fall down.
I stopped to pull up my pants (I hadn’t worn these in a while and forgot that they don’t stay up!)
I practice front and back rolls because they’re fun and they help you to learn how to fall in martial arts situations. Always roll on a padded floor!
Coming out of a front roll
Front rolls in all directions
Here I’m doing what I’d said wouldn’t suffice for my strength-training goals – shadow-boxing with weights. It’s actually great if I do it regularly as a component of a complete workout. These are five-pound dumbbells.
Shadow-boxing with weights.
“Keep your hands up and your chin down.” ~Golden rule of boxing~
Uppercuts with dumbbells
Hooks with dumbbells (great shoulder work!)
Abs! I usually do these toward the end of my workout.
Stabilizing the MMA dummy for crunches
This is great core work. Hold the bag in place with your ankles, crunch up, and punch the bag diagonally to the opposite side. Lower yourself down, crunch up again, and punch with the other arm to the other side. You can do these without a bag, too. The important part is the twisting to punch diagonally across your body at the top of the crunch, as that works your obliques. Using your ankles to stabilize something like this bag works your lower abdominal muscles.
You can make this exercise harder by ditching the bag (have someone hold your feet, or hook your feet under something stable) and holding a medicine ball or a dumbbell as you crunch up. Thrust the medicine ball or dumbbell diagonally across your body at the top of the crunch. Alternate sides and do as many as you can.
To make it even harder, do it without someone holding your feet. In any case, your abs and obliques will hate you the next day, which is what you want.
Crunches and punches!
Crunches and punches on both sides
Don’t forget to keep your non-punching hand up!
Stabilizing the bag with your legs is half the work
Bonus exercise when you’re done with your abs: Plant your foot on the MMA dummy, forcefully kick it down, and immediately jump on it to get in some ground-and-pound!
(Kidding. Unless you have frustrations to work out. Then do it.)
(But make sure your hands are wrapped or you’re wearing MMA gloves. Or both.)
Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choy! It’s the Year of the Horse, and we’re off to a galloping start.
It’s also the last day of January, and I’m wrapping it up with a list of things that brightened my world during the month. Anytime is a good time to celebrate “the little things,” though, I figure.
So let’s start with food, because I stumbled on a great light late-afternoon nosh this month, and I’m eager to share it.
1). A cup of Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea with a LÄRABAR über Roasted Nut Roll (sweet and salty fruit & nut bar).
My current favorite late afternoon energy-boosting combo.
This antioxidant and protein-packed duo bridges the afternoon to the evening really well with just enough caffeine to get you through, but not enough to interfere with your sleep later… and it’s tasty, healthy and substantial. You get a little bit of tart, sweet and salty all at once. Liveliness all around!
2). Learning to drive a manual transmission – Tara’s corvette!
I never would have thought you’d find me behind the wheel of a Corvette!
I’m 45 now – I’m entitled to that long-awaited mid-life crisis, and we all know that where there’s a mid-life crisis, there’s got to be a Corvette. (Hey, I know my stereotypes.) My friend Tara indulged me one night a few weeks ago with her car and her patience, and it was exciting! Thanks again, Tara!
3). Returning to the gym.
I didn’t take a picture of our new gym, so here’s a logo from the web, instead:
We knew when we landed back in AZ that we’d join a gym and start working out. After some lengthy research and consideration, we finally decided everything and made it happen.
Our new memberships came with a complimentary session with a personal trainer. I met with mine the first Friday morning after we signed up. My trainer was nice, although there was some kind of disconnect between us.
“So what are we doing this morning?” He got right into it.
“I’m horribly out of shape,” I told him. “I haven’t worked out regularly in like three years.”
“What do you mean you’re ‘out of shape’?”
“Well, after three years of mostly just sitting around, I’ve become one of those “skinny-fat” people, you know?” I explained. “I’m not overweight, but I’m out of shape, and my body fat composition is probably a mess.”
We’d joined a gym in France, but we went all of like three times, so it didn’t count. I’ve literally been 95% sedentary for three years.
Fitness and martial arts training used to be a serious business with me, as those of you who used to read my LiveJournal may remember. I’d been a dedicated gym rat and student of various martial arts, I went to yoga regularly, and at one point I’d studied to get my personal trainer certification. I never followed through on that, but I read the whole darn book in preparation for it. I also studied nutrition, and I continue to keep up with the ongoing scientific research in the areas of fitness, nutrition and health.
I would have thought that my trainer would measure my body-fat percentage to get an assessment, but he did not. Instead, he decided to kick my ass as if I was in better-than-average shape.
Consequently, the next day, I could hardly walk.
“What part of ‘I haven’t worked out in three years’ was unclear?” I complained to Callaghan later. But still, it was fun. And the gym is super nice. I especially love doing laps in the pool, stretching in the sauna afterward, and then sitting in the Jacuzzi.
4). Starbucks travel drink container
Blinded by the shiny things. What can I say.
This was one of those frivolous impulse purchases, but it was a delayed reaction impulse, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. I saw a bucket of these cups glinting in the sun at the Starbucks that day we broke down on our way to Palm Springs. It ended up being one of those situations where something catches your eye, you note to yourself that it’s interesting, and you ignore it and move along… then, later, when you’re sitting at home 159 miles away, it pops back into your head with the realization that you would really love to have it, and you kick yourself for not having gotten it. You can’t stop thinking about it. You’re mesmerized by the memory of its lid’s shiny coppery facets. It’s sitting in a bucket in Blythe, California, 2.5 hours away, and you’re not going to drive 2.5 hours just to go get it. Thus, your quest begins… every time you pass a Starbucks, you ask your husband to please wait just a second so I can run in to see if that one carries those cups! until finally one of them has them… at which point you discover that it’s stupidly expensive, but by then it’s become The Holy Grail, so you HAVE to get it.
Now I feel slightly guilty about it, but a). the guilt is not as bad as the mournful feeling I had when I thought I’d missed my chance to get it (first world problem alert!), and b). not really, because I’ve been drinking water non-stop since I got it, I love it so much! And that’s a good, healthy thing. No buyer’s remorse here. Nope. None.
Plus, I discovered that it’s sweat-proof, which is a great feature. I keep it filled with ice, and the surface of my desk stays dry. WIN.
5). Townes Van Zandt and the documentary about him, Be Here To Love Me: A Film about Townes Van Zandt
One of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen. I recommend it.
In my November favorites post, I talked about my passion for Steve Earle, my favorite country music artist. Townes is Steve Earle’s collection of Townes Van Zandt covers, and it’s a favorite CD of mine because I’m a huge Townes Van Zandt fan. He’s regarded as a “songwriter’s songwriter,” covered by many other musicians, and I find the story of his life to be as fascinating as the brilliant and haunting lyrics he wrote. I mean, as a poet, songs like “Rake” and “Marie” simply floor me.
I love Steve Earle’s Townes Van Zandt covers more than anyone else’s. Here’s his version of “Marie”:
If there was ever to be an anthem for the homeless, that song would be it.
6). The requisite beauty product item on this list has to be the Simple Sensitive Skin Experts foaming facial cleanser.
My current favorite nighttime facial cleanser is by Simple
My Mom loves this cleanser. She gave me a bottle of it when I visited them in December, and it’s grown on me since then, as I’ve used it routinely. It’s almost-but-not-quite overkill for my skin (I have normal skin, and foaming cleansers are usually best for oily skin), but I’m used to it now, and it’s true that my face feels especially clean after I wash with it. I use it at night after I remove my makeup.
7). The girl who hula-hoops on the grass across from our place.
Wednesday morning hula-hoopin’!
I’ve mentioned her before. She continues appearing on the lawn to practice her hooping, so finally I had to take a picture; I feel like it’s a terribly stalker-ish thing to do, but I made sure to avoid getting her face so as to respect her privacy. I wish that her inspirational energy could come through to you in the picture, though. She’s diligent, and she’s a delight to watch.
8). French blue and white toile plate – Luneville “The Cottage”
Blue and white toile Luneville “The Cottage” plate from Callaghan’s family in France. The candle is the “Melt” Lemon Verbena and Sage pillar candle (Nest Fragrances)
What is it with me and small collectable plates these days? It’s a new thing. Also in my November favorites post, I’d talked about the handmade Greek one (Bonis Ceramics) I’d found in the corner of a used bookstore, and since then Callaghan discovered this plate, a family piece from France, in one of his many boxes. Somehow, it immediately found its way to the corner of my desk, where it’s resided ever since. All month long, the sight of it has made me smile.
9). My boys. Ronnie James and Nounours have taken to cuddling so close, they almost look like conjoined twins.
Look, Mom! Parallel arms!
Joined at the hip, those two!
10). Finally, venturing into Callaghan’s office/studio more and more gives me a gateway to the realm of the strange and unexpected as he’s started creating more, and you know me. I love it. Yesterday, I caught this in my peripheral vision as I left the room:
Is that a…?
…so I stepped back to take a closer look.
…why yes, that would be the gruesome remains of a teddy bear hovering above a death-like mask. Moving right along.
“Homme” is how you say “homie” in French. It’s basically the same word. It means “man.”
While Callaghan was busy drawing a hermaphrodite tin can with a pair of mismatched rocket man-boobs and its lid flipped up like a hat and a skirt around one of its tentacle knees, I went down to the bergerie to retrieve a few things. Along the way, I encountered a donkey and a large snail, and I found two lizards hanging out on the terrace when I got back. Down in the laundry/storage room, the largest spider I’ve ever seen here in France ran across the wall when I walked in. Up here in the front room, the morning’s scattered ant swarms have finally died down.
Nature is active today, and we’re having a relaxed and productive afternoon. The house smells pleasantly of ginger and cardamom from the Ethiopian chickpea wat (stew) I made yesterday for tonight’s dinner – it’s one of those aromatic dishes that’s good to make a day in advance, so the spices can mingle overnight. I’m going to serve it with brown rice, since I don’t know where to find injera around here (Ethiopian flatbread), or the teff flour I’d need to bake my own.
I miss Ethiopian restaurants! Soon. In three weeks, we’ll be back in the States. First thing I’m going to do is find an Ethiopian restaurant and attempt to eat two years’ worth of injera in one sitting.
Ah, food. Bread. The plight of carbs’ reputations crossed my mind the other day when we were in the supermarket. It’s odd how popular it’s become to believe that carbs are “bad.” It’s like, one day, everyone became aware that allergies/sensitivities to gluten are common, so, alright, let’s be hyper-aware of that. Millions of people now feel a lot better on reduced-gluten or gluten-free diets. Great! But then, somehow, that entire category of food came crashing down from grace with a sweeping, extended indictment: Carbs make you fat. The problem with this is that it’s only half-true. Not all carbs cause the metabolism-compromising biochemical reaction that leads to weight gain.
I generally avoid simple carbs (white sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta and white potatoes), but as far as I’m concerned, life’s not worth living without complex carbs. I love whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. I’m lucky that my body gets along with wheat, because I’d be forlorn without it. I could never do a raw food diet; after a while, I’d go crazy without pasta. I eat it for lunch almost every day, as I have ever since Callaghan discovered my pasta with garlic and olive oil obsession. Though I maintain that just plain old garlic and olive oil would be fine with me every day until the end of time – it’s something I’ll never get tired of eating – he’s undertaken the challenge of creating variation after variation on this heavenly theme. He should write a book: 365 Variations on Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil.
So he makes lunch, and I make dinner, usually. And he draws hermaphrodite tin cans with mismatched rocket man-boobs and lids flipped up like hats and skirts around their tentacle knees. We’ve got our division of domestic labor all sorted out.