Getting Started on Your Fitness Journey

So it’s the first week of 2017 and I’m sure that many of us are still riding the energy and excitement that a new year brings! I know I am! There are all sorts of projects I can’t wait to start! One of those things for you might be to get started or restart your fitness journey. If it is, that’s wonderful! And I want to help you get set up for success as you get going!

Are you wanting to get started on your fitness journey for 2017?! Here are 4 things that I want to share with you to help you succeed!
There are many paths you can take on your fitness journey, but there are a few things you can do to start off that will help you succeed throughout the year!

Find a program –

When you are just getting started, it can be difficult, even paralyzing, to know what you should do. You go to the gym or your workout space in your home and then it’s just “Now what?”…. This is where a program can help you! It takes all the thinking out of the getting started part and just lets you DO IT!
I had a lot of starts and stops with very little progress until I started Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide! It was amazing  what having the program did for me! I didn’t have to think about what my workout was going to be, because it was planned out. I was just able to check what (little) equipment I needed and GO!
Now, it doesn’t have to be that program, but finding a program to start with is so helpful. You also don’t have to find that one program to stick with forever! As you get more comfortable and set in your fitness routine, you can pick a new program or even design your own!
fitness-journey-equipment

Set your schedule –

I do this at the beginning of every week, regardless of how similar it is to my schedule from the previous week! This helps me take a look at my schedule for the coming week and adjust things as needed. Plus there is a certain level of finality from writing it down on a schedule. You are making an appointment with yourself to work out!
Now, I suggest writing down not only the workout of the day, but also what time you are going to do it. This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible, but it’s so much easier to keep to your schedule when it is all planned out right down to the time!

Progress pictures –

I know. I wasn’t a big fan of progress pictures either. They feel a bit awkward to take and they are very baring. But they serve such an important role in your journey! They can be amazing tools to really help you see your progress. You see your body every day, so a lot of the changes that are made through working out aren’t going to be noticed by you right away. Sometimes major progress has been made, but you won’t even see it! This is where progress pictures come in. By using the same positioning, lighting and clothing, you can really see what changes have been made when you put them side-by-side!
For example, I didn’t really feel like I had made much visible progress this year. What with the setbacks I have had and everything. But when I put my pictures up next to pictures from December ’15, I was shocked to see that there WAS visible progress! So take those progress pictures!
fitness-journey

Just go –

I don’t mean to make that sound simple. I know that sometimes it’s not. Some days you just don’t want to do it. But if you make a commitment to yourself that you are at least going to GO, then you are much more likely to actually do the workout too! I know I have had times where I have gotten changed into my workout clothes and went to the gym, all while my brain was trying to convince me that I should just skip that day! But by the time I got to the gym and got going, I was glad I did!
One idea I’ve seen used that I love: I’ve heard multiple people say that the only time they can skip their workout is if they get dressed and go to the gym, stay for 10 minutes and THEN still want to leave.
Are you focusing on your fitness for 2017? What have you doing to help make sure you succeed this year? I would love to hear about them!
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sunday meal prep 7/31/16

Hey all! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend. Here we are mostly working on stuff around the house and getting ready for our newest additions! We are getting 3 adorable pet rats this week! 🙂 I can’t wait to pick them up and I’m sure you will end up seeing a few pictures on Instagram as we get them settled in! Other than that, not much exciting, but this meal prep definitely is!

Enjoy!

How I use meal prep to make not only the coming week easier, but future weeks as well! And you can to! Eat healthy, tasty food all week long with less stress. Just click through for some great ideas how!Read More

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Fitness Mini-Update

It’s been one month since I finished Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide! Sadly, I can’t tell you that I’ve been doing much since then 😕 My body seems to have turned on me and my fitness journey has stalled (again). It does that a lot, doesn’t it?

That is not saying I haven’t been able to work out some…it’s just been limited to mostly treadmill and exercises they gave me in Physical Therapy.

Setbacks can be difficult to deal with. I know I’ve had some ups and downs over the last month. Times where I felt like I was never going to get back into my fitness routine. Heck, there were times it felt like I was never going to feel well again at all!

Of course, that was (mostly) in my head! I am feeling better now, though I have come to the realization that the PT exercises for my back have to become a part of my daily life.

I am hoping to start BBG1 round 2 next week and can’t wait to get going again…hopefully with less injuries this time! 😀

How have your workouts been going? Have you been struggling this winter with your routine or had any setbacks? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

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Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide Round 1 Complete!…Well, Kinda Complete

Ever since I started Kayla’s guide the first time I have been looking forward to this moment. Through all the setbacks, the injuries, everything…I’ve been looking forward to being able to say I had completed it once and showing off these fantastic progress pics. Only…that didn’t really take real life into account.

This first round through has been full of difficulties. 3 injuries, 2 sets of stitches, 2 months of physical therapy (which I’m still needing to continue at home sometimes, this week included), sickness, the holidays, etc. All of those things were things I didn’t plan on when I started the guides. But that’s life. And that is a lesson that I think I needed to really learn when I started this journey. It’s a journey. It’s a lifestyle.

Life isn’t always smooth sailing. While I knew that, I don’t think I fully appreciated how that would play into my workout program, especially this workout program.

Weeks 9-12 fell during and directly after the holidays. Now, I’m not making excuses. I could have pushed myself harder some of the time and been more on top of things. But between work being crazy due to the season, the “winter blues” hitting me a bit and just a general feeling of exhaustion, I did not do as well during the last four weeks of the guide. I skipped some workouts, did LISS directly after my resistance workouts other times and just in general didn’t do as well as I had hoped to.

For a while towards the end and right after, I was beating myself up pretty good over my lack of performance. But I’ve come to the realization that just because I had an off few weeks doesn’t mean I failed or anything like it.

I am still in the best shape of my life! I can (usually) do 10+ push-ups in a row before I need to go to my knees! I can do box jumps and tuck jumps and all sorts of other jumps that I couldn’t really do before!

So while I may have not done every resistance workout and these progress pics aren’t as impressive as I had originally hoped they would be, I’m counting this first round as done and as a success! I have made so much progress over these last 4 months and I can’t wait to see what the next round of BBG brings! (Hopefully less injuries than the first round!)

BBGRd1FrontBBGRd1SideBBGRd1Back

 

We did take measurements, but our methods weren’t practiced enough for me to be sure of the accuracy, though I think we are getting better at it! I am pretty positive that a few things changed though, especially one that can’t just be user error!

  • Waist: 37 in –> 31.5 in!

Things to Improve On During This Next Round

  • Go back to working out when I wake up instead of after work. I kinda fell out of that habit over the last month.
  • Keep LISS separate from resistance
  • Keep tracking diet for this whole round

I am currently having some issues with my back again, so I’m down to exercises from my physical therapy, LISS and yoga until it stops hurting so much. I can’t wait to start round 2 of BBG though!

How are your fitness goals coming? Did you have any difficulties over the holidays or due to the “winter blues” like I did? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

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Sunday Meal Prep: January 17, 2016

Have you or your significant other loved a dish so much that you just want it week after week? Well…that is the case in our house right now. These Skinny Chicken Enchiladas have recently been on here and probably will be again soon! Draz is just loving them, plus they are so easy to make and individualize for both of us!

Outside of that, I picked out a couple of my own older recipes that caught my eye this week. Our breakfast burritos are back too! Our large stock in the freezer is finally running low, so it was time to make some more. Enjoy!

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I promise these dishes taste better than they look! (I really need to work on my photography) Chicken was the focus of the week, but with such varying flavors. That is one of the things I love about cooking with chicken.

And that’s it for this week! Make sure to check out the recipes below! They are both easy and delicious!

What are you cooking this week? Bringing back any old favorites? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Sara (1)

Easy & Yummy Slow Cooker Chicken

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Ingredients:

~2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

2 (10 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup

1 (2 oz) envelope onion soup mix

1/2 c milk

1 c carrots, chopped

6-7 medium-large potatoes, cut 1″-1.5″ (I use red potatoes)

Put chicken into slow cooker. In a bowl, mix soup, onion mix, and milk; stir. Add into slow cooker. Add cut vegetable’s to the slow cooker and mix. Cook on low for 7-9 hours; mix before serving. Enjoy!

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

DSCN1756_picmonkeyed

Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-6 portions

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1 oz Italian salad dressing mix

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder. Moisten chicken with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish (non-stick or foil-lined) Bake 20-25 min.

Can serve alone or with spaghetti.

 

 

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Fitness Update: 2 Months of Kayla Itsines’ BBG Complete!

Two months of Kayla Itsines’ BBG done! For those of you who missed this post or may not know who Kayla is, BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide and is a 12 week workout program I am currently working my way through!

I’m not going to lie, this last month was rough, mostly schedule-wise. The holidays and my day job kinda threw everything off track. That being said, I’m really proud of myself for all that I did this last month! I did miss a few LISS workouts, and one resistance workout (kinda two, but that shoveling definitely should count as a full body workout!) but even with that being the case, my strength has shown improvements and I’ve been feeling much better overall!

The two workout sets (weeks 5 & 7 and weeks 6 & 8) are set side-by-side to show progress. The workout circuits are the same in each week, so I love seeing that I made it through a little farther in weeks 7 & 8! It wasn’t a huge amount of progress, but it is there!

Measurements Progress Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 8

These progress pics were taken a little late and after not working out for a couple days, early in Week 9. I’m loving that I’m actually seeing progress now! (Although I’m pretty sure some of it is finding clothing that actually seems to work for progress pictures)

Hopefully I will see more visible progress in the next set of progress pics, but either way I know that I’m making improvements, so I’m just going to keep at it and trust the process!

Also, the reason that the side progress pic is a Week 1-Week 8 comparison instead of Week 4 like the others is that the Week 4 side pic was really weird and not accurate at all!

Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures side viewKayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures back viewKayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures front view

I am redoing Week 9 next week, due to fighting a nasty cold all week this week. Even with that delay, I am loving this program and feeling better than ever!

How is your fitness journey going? Are you finishing the end of the year like you had hoped you would? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

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Fitness Update: One Month of Kayla Itsines’ BBG Complete!

I am super excited to tell you all that I have completed one month of Kayla Itsines’ BBG! Those of you that have been with me for a while may remember that I have been trying to use this program for a few months, but multiple injuries caused some setbacks. I actually did have a small setback during week 4…my lower back started acting up and I ended up taking the rest of the week off from my workouts to heal up. I did repeat week 4 the following week!

But no more! I am all healed up and have FINALLY made it through the first of three months! So here is the breakdown of how my weeks went:

Kayla Itsines Week 1 BBG summary

Kayla Itsines' Week 2 BBG summary

Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 3 summary

Kayla Itsines' BBG week 4 summary

I missed this last Monday because I was still a little worried about my back acting up. That was the only workout I missed though!

Kayla Itsines' BBG post workout selfies
The many faces of Death By Kayla! I think the main thing present in all of them is the semi-euphoric state after my workout! Love that post-workout feeling!

As an extra motivator to keep on my workouts and healthy eating, I also participated in the ZP Challenge through my work! Each cycle of the challenge is one month long and I am really happy with how my first month went! (I finished my first month at the end of Week 3 of BBG) Workouts – DONE: 6 days a week! Healthy eating – DONE: 6 days a week, with one treat meal per week…I love pizza! I will be keeping up with this challenge on a monthly cycle. It’s been a great motivator, even more so than I thought that it would be!

Ok, now for the part I’ve been dreading…progress pictures. First off, I have realized two things: 1) I suck at taking progress pictures and my starting pictures are terrible 2) I really need some better clothes for progress pics. These exercise pants are not at all good for this.

Disclaimer: As hard as I tried not to, I’m pretty sure that I am sucking in a bit in the start pictures. It’s more a habit that I don’t even think about, and I think I was doing it in that picture. Along with that, the pants in the first picture are set higher than in the second, holding more of my stomach in.

In a happier part of the disclaimer, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! That is the same wall, but with paint on it now. Pretty light purple paint, painted for the first time while I’ve lived in this house! More will be coming on this bedroom transformation in a couple months or so, while I finish up the details 🙂

BBG Week 4 progress picture front view

Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 4 progress picture back view

Overall…I’m not thrilled with these. And while I don’t think they are perfectly representative, due to my lack-of-good-pictures issue, I don’t think I made much visible progress in this first month. And I’m having a hard time not getting down or discouraged by this.

I just need to focus on the fact that I know I have made strength progress! When I started BBG, I couldn’t do more than a couple push-ups before I had to go to knees. Now I can do 10! That’s just one example of many that show that I have made some progress. I just need to keep at it and the visible progress will follow!

That’s it for this month! Hopefully next month I will be able to give you a much more positive (overall) update, with no injuries/setbacks!

P.S. I have a confession to make. I finished this post up a couple days ago and have been having a hard time actually publishing this. While I know that I have been making progress and I am thrilled to finish 1 month, I was really disappointed to see these progress photos. So much so that my motivation to work out took a bit of a nosedive. I took an early rest day to this week (Week 5) to try to get my head back on straight, and am now hopefully back on track. While blogs are not ever 100% reality, I don’t want to cover up difficulties like the one I have been dealing with. With all that being said, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

How have your workouts been going? For those of you doing BBG or another workout program, did you see much progress in the first month?

 

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Fitness Update: I’m Finally Back at it!

Those of you who have been following my journey for the past couple of months know that these last couple months have been rough for me, fitness-wise. Two injuries and a flare-up from a recurring back problem have made it very difficult to do much more than cardio on the treadmill.

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Me after BBG Day 1 workout. I was exhausted but feeling great!

But I’m back! Yesterday was Day 1 of Kayla Itsines’ BBG1 and I’m so glad to be back to doing the program! It was definitely rough with my lower activity since I stopped, but I didn’t seem to lose much progress during my down time. I’m a little worried about arm day since I don’t have full mobility or comfort back in my finger yet, but I’m pretty sure it should be fine.

I also decided to participate in a wellness challenge through my work called the ZP Challenge. I am participating in 2 out of the 4 possible categories; fitness and food. This basically is a month-long challenge in which you track how well you do by checking off if you made healthy food choices that day and had more than 30 minutes of exercise. I figured I’m already focusing more on my healthy and wellness, so why not participate?! It definitely has provided that extra level of motivation and I love checking off the box for the day saying I met my goals!

That’s all for this month’s fitness update! Now that I’m back at it I hope that I will have more to say this time next month, including progress photos from my first month doing BBG!

How are you doing on your fitness goals? Find any new tools or programs to help with motivation lately?

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Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! So….you know how a couple weeks ago I said I didn’t see myself changing up my salads anytime soon? I was wrong 🙂 I don’t know if it’s the limited activity level or what, but I definitely had the itch to try out some new stuff this week! Since I made multiple types of salads, I have put together some infographic-style pictures to break down how I put our salads together.

Enjoy!

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Snacks and Sweets! I am loving the addition of cubed cheese with my grapes, which is my first snack of each day. This one is a white cheddar with Habanero and is delicious!
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Along with our breakfast burritos, I decided to experiment with freezing Tuna Quinoa Cakes and cooked quinoa. Hopefully it turns out well!
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I decided that I have been having a little bit too much to eat for my breakfast, so decided to reduce the size of my breakfast burritos. I also switched from white to wheat tortillas.
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The full spread of meals…plus two photobombing pups!
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Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Balsamic Asparagus and Chili con Carne with Brown & Wild Rice.
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Greek Yogurt Parmesan Chicken with Saucy Green Beans, some leftover taco meat and tuna quinoa cake, and a couple hardboiled eggs!
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The Chili con Carne again, with brown & wild rice and steamed veggies. I wanted to add a little extra about this dish….This is the first recipe I have made from this new cookbook and I love it! I am so impressed and thrilled that these ladies put out their cookbook. I found them on Instagram through the BBG community and they are a constant inspiration to me! It looks great ladies! Check out their site for more information!

And now for the salads!

TunaJarSalad
For those of you that have been here for a while, this is the original jar salad that I started off with. It’s as delicious as I remember!
TurkeyJarSalad
Salad with Loaded Turkey Meatballs. I just discovered this site and I love it already!
TacoJarSalad
Taco Salad! I honestly wasn’t sure about this one when I put it together. I wasn’t sure if I would like the taco meat cold, but it turned out wonderful! Both this salad and the turkey meatball salad are inspired by this post.
IsaacJarSalad
Both of these are Boyfriend’s salads. The Shredded Buffalo Chicken is another one that you have seen for weeks. It’s definitely still one of our favorites. He also had some with the Loaded Turkey Meatballs.

BalsamicAsparagus

SaucyGreenBeans

And that’s it for this week! What are you cooking up this week? Anything new?

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! So….you know how a couple weeks ago I said I didn’t see myself changing up my salads anytime soon? I was wrong 🙂 I don’t know if it’s the limited activity level or what, but I definitely had the itch to try out some new stuff this week! Since I made multiple types of salads, I have put together some infographic-style pictures to break down how I put our salads together.

Enjoy!

DSCN0908_picmonkeyed
Snacks and Sweets! I am loving the addition of cubed cheese with my grapes, which is my first snack of each day. This one is a white cheddar with Habanero and is delicious!
DSCN0926_picmonkeyed
Along with our breakfast burritos, I decided to experiment with freezing Tuna Quinoa Cakes and cooked quinoa. Hopefully it turns out well!
DSCN0927_picmonkeyed
I decided that I have been having a little bit too much to eat for my breakfast, so decided to reduce the size of my breakfast burritos. I also switched from white to wheat tortillas.
DSCN0918_picmonkeyed
The full spread of meals…plus two photobombing pups!
DSCN0923_picmonkeyed
Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Balsamic Asparagus and Chili con Carne with Brown & Wild Rice.
DSCN0924_picmonkeyed
Greek Yogurt Parmesan Chicken with Saucy Green Beans, some leftover taco meat and tuna quinoa cake, and a couple hardboiled eggs!
DSCN0912_picmonkeyed
The Chili con Carne again, with brown & wild rice and steamed veggies. I wanted to add a little extra about this dish….This is the first recipe I have made from this new cookbook and I love it! I am so impressed and thrilled that these ladies put out their cookbook. I found them on Instagram through the BBG community and they are a constant inspiration to me! It looks great ladies! Check out their site for more information!

And now for the salads!

TunaJarSalad
For those of you that have been here for a while, this is the original jar salad that I started off with. It’s as delicious as I remember!
TurkeyJarSalad
Salad with Loaded Turkey Meatballs. I just discovered this site and I love it already!
TacoJarSalad
Taco Salad! I honestly wasn’t sure about this one when I put it together. I wasn’t sure if I would like the taco meat cold, but it turned out wonderful! Both this salad and the turkey meatball salad are inspired by this post.
IsaacJarSalad
Both of these are Boyfriend’s salads. The Shredded Buffalo Chicken is another one that you have seen for weeks. It’s definitely still one of our favorites. He also had some with the Loaded Turkey Meatballs.

BalsamicAsparagus

SaucyGreenBeans

And that’s it for this week! What are you cooking up this week? Anything new?

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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