Bye-bye burpees, hello (just a little) sugar and a pretty package from Arbonne

January is my least favorite month of the year. Short days, too much rain and the financial aftermath of the holidays always make me long for February.

This year there are two extra reasons to be happy that January is finally over; no more burpees (at least for a little while) and the end of the no sugar challenge!

Although both challenges went well, I’m looking forward to a little slice of something sweet come dessert night (always Friday and Sunday in my house). And my group fitness classes are certainly looking forward to more variety in their plyometrics training! (I’ve promised them that the entire month of February will be burpee-less and I’m certain they will hold me to my word!).

I’ve been taking my new GNC vitamins religiously and although it’s probably too soon to tell, I do feel like they’re giving me more energy. In fact, after Monday morning’s Step and Weights class, several of my participants wanted to know if I’d had an extra shot of coffee that morning (I believe the exact words were ‘did you take something before class?’). I’ll write a review post once I’ve finished my month’s supply.

And all my Tweeting about vitamins and energy did not go unnoticed by my friend Lyndsy, who happens to be a sales consultant for Arbonne. She asked me if I’d be interested in trying some of their supplements. Now you will pardon my ignorance, but I had NO IDEA that Arbonne sold health products. I always associated them with skin care and makeup (I probably need some help in that department too, but I digress). Of course, I said YES, and just look at what Lyndsy dropped off in the weight room for me (thanks so much Lyndsy!);

Protein powder, fibre supplements, energy fizz tablets, vitamin packs, tea and kids chewable vitamins. I’m planning to try the chocolate protein after my morning workout (it’s legs day, today), but will hold off on the vitamins and energy tablets until my current vitamin experiment is finished (otherwise, I won’t know which product is responsible for what; science experiments 101). In the mean time, I’ve given my 7-year old one of the kid’s vita-chews to try. Here’s his review!

P.S. Still haunted by that age old question, cardio before or after weights? Check out my take on it over at Bite Size Wellness!

Did you take your vitamins today?

What do you love about February?

Disclaimer: GNC vitamins were purchased by me. Arbonne samples were a gift. All comments and opinions are my own (and those of my son!).

WIP Wednesday; lots of irons in the fire

Ever have one of those days (or weeks or months, who am I kidding?), where things just seem to pile up no matter how much time you spend trying to clear the decks? Where every task you complete is met by two or three more that needed to be finished yesterday? Where you never get to feel a sense of accomplishment because there’s so darned much left to accomplish?

Today, I’m taking time to breathe and celebrate my works in progress (or WIP’s, as we knitters like to call them). Please click on the box below to hear me ramble for a few minutes (about 5). For those of you short on time, the highlights are listed below!

Happy WIP Wednesday!

  • I’ve started a new daily vitamin regime, GNC’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak for Women (Canadian website here), to help boost my immune system and give my mid-winter energy a boost (I’ll let you know how it’s working in a few weeks).
  • I’m reading a great book, Working Out Sucks (which is a bit of a mis-leading title), written by Chuck Runyon, CEO and Founder of Anytime Fitness. Book review coming soon.
  • My quest for the unassisted pull up is progressing well; 10, 8 and 8 on my last attempt.
  • I’ve stalled a bit on my burpees challenge, due to a ‘twingy’ rear deltoid. I’m up to 33 (only 7 more days to go, thank goodness), and although I haven’t been doing them everyday, I keep adding one for every day that passes so I’ll be finishing off with 40 on January 31st.
  • The 30 Day No Sugar challenge is still going well. The first two weeks were ‘better’ than the last, but only because I decided that I wanted wine and dessert at a weekend dinner party (and then again, the following night out with family for dinner). Not really craving it the way I used to, so all in all, it’s been a good thing
  • I’m about a third of the way done knitting a sweater for myself; it’s knit top-down, so I can customize the fit as I go. The pattern is Irish Coffee and I’m knitting it in a luscious pink merino. Yum!
  • I’ve been busy writing fitness content for a couple other websites.
  • A few secret projects have been taking up any time I have left (I’ll tell you just as soon as I can).
  • And this Friday is yet ANOTHER Pro-D Day!

P.S. Did you see my pull up band picture on Shape’s website? Check out all the trainers and their favorite pieces of exercise equipment!

When you’re super busy with work, family and life, how do you de-stress?

High fiber, no sugar, no gluten cereal that tastes great! Holy Crap Cereal!

Once again, I’m participating in a no sugar challenge. That’s no ‘added’ sugar, by the way. The natural sugars found in fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains are fine. Otherwise, what would I eat?

Since this challenge is a 30 day one, I thought I’d spend a little time in the grocery store reading product labels and perhaps finding some new ‘no sugar’ items to add to my diet. Variety will be key to staying on track.

I love eating cereal at breakfast time. While I love me some oats, granola is a favourite, but even the organic, low sugar varieties contain honey or molasses or cane juice or Stevia; none of which are permitted on this challenge.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this little gem;

gluten free cereal

Holy Crap! (Yes! That’s actually it’s name. My children are delighting in be allowed to repeat these two words ad nauseum; “But it’s not swearing mom, it’s the name of your cereal”)

Organic. No sugar or preservatives. Vegan and gluten free. And locally made, to boot! Ingredients include chia seeds (oh yeah, I’m on the chia bandwagon now too), hemp hearts, buck wheat, dried apples, raisins and cranberries and cinnamon. What’s not to love? You’ve got your heart-healthy fats, lots of dietary fibre and more protein per serving than most other cereals out there.

The package says you can sprinkle it on cereal, mix it in milk, stir it into yogurt and cook it with oats. I’ve added it to overnight oats

recipes for Holy Crap cereal

and green monster protein shakes. Yummy, filling and healthy feeling.

Serving size is small; just 2 tablespoons. While it’s tempting to eat more, let the cereal’s name be a warning. Holy Crap! (The first morning I tried it I made a few more than normal trips to the bathroom).

For those of you watching your carb intake, they also make a fruit-free version called Skinny B. I found it at my local IGA. Apparently Thrifty Foods carries it as well. And you can always buy it online here

What’s you favourite breakfast cereal?

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed here are my own. NB. Since publishing this post, I have become an Affiliate Marketer for Holy Crap Cereal. When you purchase this product through links on my site, I receive compensation. For my information, please see my Privacy and Disclosure Policy.

Time for a change and a January challenges update

You may have noticed a few recent changes to my blog.

Rest assured the content will remain the same. I just needed to switch things up a bit. Time for a change. Kind of like changing the paint color in your office or the wallpaper on your computer screen. A little change does a body good!

I was tired of the blue stability ball banner (a friend was too, and told me so!) and thought I would personalize it with some photos of my own. Photos that reflect the main themes of my blog; fitness, healthy eating and knitting! If you look carefully, you’ll see that the tagline has changed too. Blogs, like people, evolve over time.

[Really, I should make YOU guys find the changes, just to see if you've been paying attention (like those 'spot the differences' pictures my kids so love!).]

Source

There are also a couple of buttons in the right hand margin, representing other websites that I’m now affiliated with. I’ll be writing regularly for Bite Size Wellness and Skinny Ms. and thought I’d make it easy for you to find me there! I’m also an ambassador for FitFluential Inc.; their website is a veritable portal to who’s who in the fitness blogosphere.

But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. (Pretty amazing segue, don’t you think?).

I’ve been diligently sticking with my January challenges.

Today was 19-burpees-day. While I’m finding them less difficult to do, because I’ve chosen the pushup variation, I can’t seem to do more than about 15 in a row. My chest muscles get tired before my legs.

For the last few days, I’ve been splitting them into two sets, giving myself some rest or another exercise to do between sets. My group fitness classes have been helping me out ;) Not sure that they’re as excited about the challenge as I am. Today, I told them ‘we’d’ be at 40 by the end of the month.

The 30-Day No Sugar Challenge has also been going well. Although I must admit to having a moment of weakness, late on Tuesday afternoon. I was out all day and didn’t pack enough food in my cooler (always a big mistake). When I got home I was ravenous and the Cub Scout caramel corn was calling my name (I only bought it because my daughter had to sell a minimum number of bags to get her Popcorn badge and win a $10 Walmart gift card). I stopped myself at a handful (and rationalized it by telling myself’ it had nuts in it and nuts are healthy’). Of course I felt poorly later on. And I’m telling you here to make sure it doesn’t happen again! One of the best things about public challenges is how accountable they make you feel!

While my pullups experiment isn’t part of an organized challenges, it is one of the goals I’m chasing this winter. I’ve been making good progress, increasing the total number of reps each time I include them in a workout. In fact, I was feeling so confident, that I changed the way I attached the band to the bar to make it more difficult.

You’ll notice that there’s less of the band looped over the bar, meaning that it hangs lower and gives me less of an upwards push. Clearly, I wasn’t ready for this progression. I barely managed 5 on my first set and stalled out at 3 and 2 on the 2nd and 3rd sets. I’m thinking that I’ll go back to the ‘easier’ version until I’m able to complete 3 sets of 12 good form reps before I revisit this progression!

You never know if you don’t try!

How are you January challenges (or goals or resolutions) coming along?

Which one are you finding it difficult to stick to?

Drop me a line if you’d like some friendly encouragement!

Kreativ Blogger nomination!

After a busy morning of training clients, grocery shopping, a parent-teacher meeting and a quick workout (18 burpees plus pushups today, along with pull ups, bench press and rows), I came home to make myself a cup of coffee and spend some time online before the afternoon school pickup.

Imagine my surprise, when I found a comment on my ‘About me’ page nominating me for a Kreativ Blogger award!

The nomination came from fellow blogger (and frequent commenter here), carrieruben, who wrote “Hi, Tamara. I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I really enjoy your blog and wanted to share it with others.” Thanks so much Carrie! If you haven’t discovered her blog, go there right now (but come right back, please?).

The nomination requires me to:

  • Display the award image on my blog (done!)
  • Acknowledge the nominator (done!)
  • List 10 things about myself that readers probably don’t already know (hmm, since I tend to be an over-sharer, this might be difficult.)
  • Pass the award along by nominating six other blogs you enjoy reading (I read a lot of blogs; now to narrow it down…)

What a great way to show other writers that you appreciate their blogging efforts (and introduce your readers to even more diverse content!).

So here goes, ten things you probably don’t know about me;

  1. I’m very particular about bananas. They have to be perfectly ripe for me to eat them. Too hard or too mushy and they make me gag. There are a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer.
  2. I’m a connoisseur of hugs. I hate it when people don’t hug back. Half hugs (or pats on the back) drive me crazy. My husband is a bad hugger; we’re working on it.
  3. Balloons terrify me. Actually, it’s not the balloons themselves, it’s balloons in the hands of my children, who love to pop them when I’m not expecting it. I startle very easily!
  4. When I was a child, my grandmother nicknamed me ‘Tammy’. She told my mother that ‘Tamara’ was too big a name for a little girl. No one calls me ‘Tammy’ anymore and I’m okay with that. (Please don’t make me regret telling you this.)
  5. My right foot is bigger than my left foot. This causes me no end of difficulty when I’m ordering shoes online. My new Fluevog boots had to go back. Boo hoo!
  6. I have Reynaud’s Syndrome. This means that I can’t go out in the cold for very long without losing all sensation in my fingers from the first big knuckle down. It also makes it very hard to knit.
  7. Every three months I pick up a shipment of 90 boxes of Viagra at the pharmacy. No, not for my husband. My daughter has pulmonary hypertension and takes it 4 times daily to keep her blood pressure in check.
  8. In high school, I dreamed of being a lawyer. Probably because I like to talk. A lot.
  9. I have three children who also like to talk. A lot. My mother calls this ‘pay back’.
  10. Someday, I would love to write a book. I’m sure you’ve already guessed this, as many (most?) bloggers aspire to do the same.

My nominations for the Kreativ Blogger award are;

  1. Happy Mums At Home. I love Happy Mums at Home because she motivates me to be kinder to myself. I need that reminder daily! We bonded over giving up chocolate for a month.
  2. Pam-a-ram-a ding dong. This blog cracks me up. No higher praise than that. I also love that she has a PhD and decided to stay home and raise her 4 children.
  3. Fit Food Junkie. A new twitter find. Fit Food Junkie blogs about food (not junk food, be warned!), fitness and clean eating. Her recipes are yummy looking, she has 3 kids (like me!) and lives nearby. Hoping to meet her soon!
  4. Knitted Bliss. Always an inspiration for new knitting patterns, she is as lovely as the photographs on her blog!
  5. Healthy Ashley. I’ve been reading this blog for about a year now. For the last few months, the author has been documenting her return to running and biking after a horrendous cycling accident. Full of motivation and positive messages.

And I would love to add a 6th; genomicbrain, but there’s only a single post there as of yet (honey, get off the couch and update your blog!).

Tell me about your favourite blogs!