Exercise: The Not-So-Scary Daily Commitment

21 02 2011

You already know by now that I workout everyday. There are exceptions of course — if I get really sick, my day is so jammed there’s zero time, if I’m injured, etc. But for the most part, my daily workout is something I strictly adhere to.

People are always amazed at the huge time commitment I devote to exercise. They ask me how I do it, how I motivate myself, how I find the time. And to be honest, I never really think about it. It’s just something I do. Every single day. It’s part of my life and my day-to-day bustle.

What I recommend is to think of your workout as a true commitment. No different than a meeting, or class, or that important phone call you have to make. When you think of exercising as a natural part of daily life, you’ll stop ditching workouts. You wouldn’t cancel your important meeting with your boss, right? So why would you skip the thing that’s most vital to your well being?

When I tell people that I “have” to workout, they always give me a hard time. My friends say it’s not something I “have” to do. While this is true, it is a conscious decision of mine to workout daily, it doesn’t make it any less of a commitment for me. I wouldn’t miss getting coffee with them or ditch plans to watch a movie, so I am not going to cancel my planned workout!

Try scheduling your workout in, if you keep a daily planner. Think about exercise in advance–maybe the night before, plan your day out. When do you have an hour long break or more? Pencil in a workout. Bring your tennis shoes out with you, dress in workout clothes in the morning. Just do what you need to do to get your butt to the gym!

Here’s a challenge: Try working out for 7 days in a row. That’s it! Just 7 days. Write down how you feel each day after exercising. Do you feel relaxed, fit, tired, energized? Jot it down, and when the week is over look at your notes. This should give you some motivation — because I know you’ll be feeling great. 🙂


Add a Daily Salad to Your Diet

2 02 2011

Salads can be boring, I know. I definitely go through phases where the thought of eating another salad makes me want to puke. The thing is, there are THOUSANDS of different salads you can make. If eating that same old stupid salad you have eaten every day for the past two months sounds awful, you just need to switch it up.

I try and aim for one salad everyday. Typically, I make one for lunch. It’s a great way to get lots of veggies, and as long as you avoid tons of cheese and dressing loaded with fat, you’ll feel super energized and great for the rest of the day. And you shouldn’t worry about not feeling full when you eat a salad, there are plenty of ways to make it healthy and filling.

Lizzy's salad

My salad for lunch

To ensure that you avoid the late afternoon stomach rumblings, add a sliced chicken breast, some turkey, steamed tofu, or a hard-boiled egg to your salad. Or skip the dressing and use a few tablespoons of hummus instead. The trick is to add enough protein to the salad, because this will keep you full for longer.

As a general rule, if I am going to use dressing on the salad, I will use very little or no cheese at all. In place of salad dressing, I typically use vinegar. Some people think it’s too strong, but I love it, and you avoid the calories and high-fat content of dressing. I like red wine and balsamic vinegar. You can also drizzle a little olive oil on top if you like. (We don’t need to avoid fat completely, olive oil is a healthy fat that is fine in small amounts). If I do use dressing, I make sure it isn’t cream based (NOT ranch) and something light–like a lime vinaigrette or light Italian.

I like to add half a pita on the side. Sometimes I’ll replace the pita with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and hummus. Or, you can even toss some toasted whole-wheat pita right into the salad.

Here are some topping ideas to get you started:

Raspberry Almond Salad

Mix together lettuce, fresh raspberries, orange slices, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Avocado Tomato Salad

Mix together lettuce, avocado (again, a healthy fat. Don’t be scared of avocado!), tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Toss in light honey mustard dressing.

Greek Salad

Mix together lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, reduced fat feta cheese, and red wine vinegar with a drizzle of olive oil.

Asian Salad

Mix together lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, meatless chicken nuggets (I chop them up into the salad), and an Asian vinaigrette.

These are some basic ideas. You can add or subtract whatever ingredients you want. Change it up, be creative, and figure out what you like. I’m a vegetarian, so I add fake meat or hummus to things. Add some chicken or turkey if that’s your thing. Check out one of my favorite blogs, No Meat Athlete, and look at their recipe page. There are tons of awesome salad ideas. Just try eating a salad every day for one week, you won’t regret it! Salads are a great, easy way to stay healthy and slim, and you should definitely include them in your diet.

Empower Yourself for Fitness Success!

25 01 2011

Hello readers,

Welcome to my online all-around health and fitness guide for women. This blog is aimed to help college women, specifically in Ann Arbor, live a healthful lifestyle in a stressful setting.

Between late night pizza munchies and greasy cafeteria food, we all know it can be extremely difficult to stay in shape during these four years. Old university gyms crowded with meat-heads aren’t helping our case either.

The important thing to remember before reading this blog, though, is that WE ARE NOT DOOMED FOR FITNESS FAILURE! We do NOT have to gain the freshman fifteen. We do NOT have to be held captive by 4:00am pizza delivery. And most importantly, we CAN workout and have fun in Ann Arbor!

All you need for fitness success is the motivation and the basic knowledge of the ins and outs of the fitness world. I am here to help you.

I am not a fitness trainer and I am not a dietitian. But I am an avid exerciser and I have been for nearly eight years. Early in high school, I lost thirty pounds after embracing exercise and healthy eating as an important part of my life. Now, I work out every day and I immerse myself in the fitness world as much as possible. From reading fitness magazines to participating in P90X—an intense 90-day workout program—I have come to learn essential tips for maintaining a healthful lifestyle. As a vegetarian for seven years, I pride myself on eating balanced, low-calorie foods that still taste amazing, and I want to share this all with you.

Me now

Prior to losing 30 pounds

I want to provide you with everything from weightlifting tips to suggestions on how to avoid the weekend binge. I will tell you about great places in Ann Arbor that offer fun workout classes—including FREE ones. I’ll give you some of my favorite recipes and reviews of the best Comcast On Demand workouts and exercise DVDs. I will also give you tidbits such as when to replace your running shoes and how to understand your heart rate.

Most of all, I want to provide a community for females to learn and to engage. Today is the day to empower yourself for fitness success.

I want feedback from you. Let me know if there is anything you are looking for or want to see in this blog and I will do my best to provide for you. We can do this together!

Until next time,