Let’s be more like the Naked Lady

Did I get your attention? Muhaha.

The other day while entering my gym’s locker room, I made eye contact with an older woman getting out of the sauna…buck.ace.naked. I quickly looked away, embarrassed that I glanced up at the wrong second. But the woman just smiled and headed to her locker. I realized that this lady could care less that I noticed her. She was 100% comfortable and confident in her own skin.

While on the treadmill, the aforementioned situation got me thinking about body image. I think it’s something that many women – myself included – struggle with now and again. I’m no expert on the topic, so I’m not going to get into the way society has molded our vision of the perfect body or the issues with Barbie being an unrealistically proportioned skinny B. I am, however, going to share 5 things I try to keep in mind for maintaining a positive self image:

  1. Get off the scale. Actually, just throw it away. Seriously. Get rid of it. I haven’t owned a scale in years, and I never will. At my lowest weight, I didn’t feel my best. I made poor nutrition choices and was tired more times than not. Eating right and gaining muscle may add a few pounds, but it’s good weight. As long as you feel healthy, weight doesn’t matter.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others. So guilty of this one.  Although I’m all, “I’m going to eat pizza and drink wine and ignore the hot bods on the Victoria Secret Fashion Show,” I end up blurting out annoying comments like, “Oh em gee look at her abs. Her arms are so skinny. She had a baby how many months ago?!” Chances are, we’re not going to be VS models when we grow up. We should spend less time comparing ourselves to others and more time appreciating ourselves.
  3. Eat right, don’t diet. Every once in awhile, I declare that I’m going to go on a diet (read:  Enter calories into My Fitness Pal for 1/2 day until I accidentally eat some chocolate and stop calculating my food consumption.) I’ve found that eating clean is a far more sustainable way of life. Eat clean (fruits, veggies, lean proteins) and you’ll never have to diet. Plus, you’ll feel better too. I promise.
  4. Set a fitness goal. My races are what get me out of bed in the morning; I’m rather unmotivated to workout without them. Set a new goal by signing up for a 5K, a fun run, warrior dash, etc. Training will increase both your strength and confidence in your abilities to conquer your new goal. Added bonus- It will feel so awesome to cross that finish line.
  5. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I need to remind myself of this quiet often. Allow yourself some cheat days and chances to indulge. As my friend Drake once said, ‘YOLO’. (Did I really just say that?) Life’s too short to deprive yourself of delicious cookies. Like yourself and your body, cookies and all.

Now, we may not parade around the locker room like my friend, but I hope these tips were useful!

Thanks for reading. Have a great Sunday!

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Monday Motivation: Time to Train

How is it already Monday? You sneaky weekend!

Although half Ironman training doesn’t officially begin until March, I’m starting to step up my training game. It would be a real shame to croak during my first official week of training due to poor preparation. I’ve decided to begin sharing my weekly workout schedule because A) If nobody knows, it didn’t happen B) I might need each of you to hold me accountable for my claims C) Some of these plans may help you meet your own training goals.

Monday:  1 hour CT class at Endure It! Naperville

Tuesday:  Strength + 4 mile run (Daniel’s plans for my strength training torture are still TBD. Chest and tris were part of Sunday’s workout, so we will focus on back, bis and abs.)

Wednesday:  1 hour swim (I pull my swim workouts from this wonderful blog. She hasn’t posted lately, but there are a million archived workouts to try.)

Thursday:  5 mile run

Friday:  REST!

Saturday:  1.5 hour CT class at Endure It! Naperville

Sunday:  1 hour swim + 4 mile run

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Can’t. Stop. Sharing. Motivational. Quotes. They’re just too good not to share!

Hope you have a good week! XO

WTH Do I Wear?

…And I’m not talking about your Valentine’s date wardrobe.

I want to share a little secret about triathlon get up. Ya’ll ready for this? You wear one outfit the entire race. That’s right, you can rock the exact same outfit for the swim, the bike and the run. Am I the only newbie that had NO idea this was the case? (If the answer is yes, let’s pretend I never asked.)

Before my first triathlon, I would have guessed that I wear a swimsuit, cycling shorts and a top, then running shorts and a dri-fit tank. But guess what…

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Transition times matter and count towards your overall race time. Costume changes don’t make for speedy transitions. Have I blown your mind yet?

There are 2 options for race day fashion. Either one can be worn under your wetsuit, should one be necessary for the swim.

  1. Trisuits, 1 Piece:  These are one piece suits that typically zip up in the front. As a positive, one doesn’t have to worry about their top riding up. Everything stays in place the whole race. The negative? Having to strip down to go to the bathroom. I believe that most, if not all, experienced triathletes let it flow on the move, and bathroom breaks become a non-issue. But I’m just not there yet. I don’t want to pee on my fancy new cycling shoes, okay?!
  1. Tri Kits, 2 Pieces:  Tri kits are comprised of tri shorts and a tri singlet. Unless you’re part of a triathlon team that requires you to wear matching shorts and singlet, you can mix and match as you choose. Added bonuses:  These make bathroom breaks a heck of a lot easier and can be a less expensive option. If you have a tank that you want to wear for the race, pair it with some tri shorts and BAM! you have your race day outfit. I’m partial to the 2 piece.

There are some great brands (recommended to me by experienced triathletes) that offer both trisuits and 2 piece options. It’s really a matter of trial and error to determine what works best for you. Check ’em out!

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Sported the 2 piece at the Chicago Triathlon with 0 wardrobe malfunctions. That’s a win!

On an unrelated note, I hope everyone had a fun Valentine’s Day! Although I think it’s a cheesy holiday, my heart almost melted into a puddle on the floor at lunch. A big, bearded, tatted man and his daughter were enjoying a daddy-daughter date. He was allowing her to color his finer nails with crayons. When the server commented on the dad’s new look, he said “It’s Valentine’s Day”. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. 

Hope everyone has a great Sunday! Stay Warm! XO

World’s Best Protein Shake

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone is enjoying this heat wave of a weekend. You go, Illinois!

Saturday morning, I attended my first 1.5 hour Computrainer session. I came home from class exhausted. I had tired muscles (and a bruised bum, of course) and knew I needed to give my body some protein if I wanted to survive Sunday’s workouts.

I’ve never been a fan of red meat, and even chicken and turkey are a stretch these days. Protein shakes are a great alternative for those of us that dislike the common sources of protein but l.o.v.e. chocolatey delicious milkshakes. (Everyone?) Without further adieu, I present to you the world’s best protein shake:

Only 6 Ingredients. Now that's my kind of meal!

Only 6 Ingredients. Now that’s my kind of meal!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Almond Milk; 30 calories
  • 1/2 frozen banana; 50 calories
  • 6 – 8 ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter; 95 calories
  • 1 tsp. hershey’s cocoa; 10 calories
  • 1/2 -1 scoop chocolate protein; 75 calories (may be more pending your choice of protein)

Total Calories:  260

We found the MuscleTech Phase 8 protein through online reviews. It’s a leaner protein, 1 scoop is 150 calories, and it’s delicious! It’s a generous size scoop, so I tend to only use 1/2 of a scoop. However, I do throw in more after a tough workout.

Once you have all the ingredients, toss them into a blender and mix until the ice cubes and bananas are fully blended. Then enjoy!

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! XO

Current Love Affairs

Running seems like a pretty inexpensive sport, right? The only requirement is shoes (and if you’re the badass man on the lakefront path, you don’t even need those!) But somehow, like many of my fellow runners, I’ve become a product junkie. Yes, I absolutely need all 5 neon pink Under Armour shirts in my drawer. They make me run faster.

Here’s some of the gear I’ve been loving lately:

Shoes- Adidas Boost:  Before I began training for my first marathon, I wanted to find the perfect pair of shoes. I purchased and returned 4 pairs before being introduced to my new best friends. These shoes are light as a feather but still offer a decent amount of support. I purchased the Adidas Boost OGs (black with yellow trim). Thankfully, they grew in popularity and now come in pink. Ahem…

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Fuel Belt- SPIbelt: These are inexpensive, expandable and seriously awesome. I hate when belts bounce around during runs, and I don’t experience much with this one. SPIbelts with waterproof lining are a few extra bucks, but I would recommend spending the money (if you’re human and sweat).

Fuel- Clif Bloks:  I’ve never been able to stomach GU, but I’ve found Clif Blocks to be a great alternative. Sometimes I sneak one before short runs because they ARE SO DELICIOUS.

Shorts- Marika:  I wish I could rock a pair of Nike Compression shorts like the pros, but I just end up with a giant wedgie. Marika is the only brand I’ve found that stay put my entire run.

GPS Watch- Garmin Forerunner 220:  I won’t bore you with all of the fancy features, but I love this pretty thang. The watch has a pacing function, which is crucial for me while out for a solo run. I’m all over the place without it.

I could blab on forever, but I thought I’d leave you with my top five favs. Any gear that you can’t live without?

Hope you had a great Tuesday. We’re nearly halfway through the week! XO

Monday Motivation on Tuesday

I had the best intentions of making ‘Monday Motivation’ a thing. But then I fell asleep, sitting straight up, with my computer in my lap. Monday + Life:  1, Meredith:  0

I thought I’d share some recent adventures that have motivated me to get my booty in shape…

  • Volunteering at a half marathon, in the frigid month of January, can actually be fun. On Saturday, I volunteered at the F^3 Half Marathon with my running friend, Christine. The sun was shining (whaaat?!), and it wasn’t unbearably cold. We rocked the mile 4/10 Gatorade station and screamed words of encouragement to the 2,500 runners. (It appears cheerleading was good for something!) There was the cutest 5-year-old in our group. I’m pretty sure he now holds the record for most Gatorade given out in one race (although he dropped about as many cups as he handed out due to his little mittens). Even the fast runners slowed a bit to say hello and take the drink he was offering. It was so darn cute. We received lots of ‘thank yous’ from runners as they passed, and it made volunteering in the cold well worth it. The event made me miss racing like crazy (c’mon spring!), and I rekindled my friendship with the treadmill on Sunday.
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Took a quick break from filling cups to pose for a photo.

  • I’ve fallen in love and found my newest obsession. In this post, I shared my interest in Computrainer class, a cycling class that allows you to train on your actual bike. I’ve now survived two classes and already feel much more confident on my bike. I know that I’m getting stronger with each class, making it worth every penny. It appears cycling is a male dominated sport, as I’ve been the only gal in class both times. Sadly, this makes it really hard to avoid coming in last place win the race.  I’m coming for ya next time, bros!
  • I can’t move my arms. Or my shoulders. Or my back. The fiancé and I decided to do some strength training on Sunday. I’m such a sucker for cardio that I avoid weights at all costs. He’s been hounding me to change my ways, and I think it’s finally working. (Only took a few years.) Here’s a quick back/bicep workout. We did 3 sets x 10 reps of each exercise:
    • Curls
    • Pull-ups (on weight-assisted machine)
    • Deltoid Flies (on Deltoid Fly machine)
    • Lat Pulldowns (on Lat Pulldown machine)
    • Lower Back Extensions (on Low Back Extension Machine). I held a 25lb weight, but increase/decrease weight as necessary

Onto another week of running, riding and strength training.

Thanks for reading! XO