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Tips for Working Out in the Morning

Hey everyone!! Well, as promised, here are my morning workout tips! Most of you know I’m a big fan of getting up mega early and doing my workout before my day’s commitments. I assure you, I haven’t always been a morning person. But these are some of the things that helped me acclimatize. Read on!


The day before:

  • Don’t workout after work Tuesday, then expect to wake up before work on Wednesday for another tough workout. Two workouts within 12 hours is hard, and tiring. Try to allow 24 hours between your workouts.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for your routine the next day. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll be up a little earlier to work out the next day, instead of ignoring it or putting it out of your mind.

The night before:

  • Prepare every last detail. Get your pre-workout snack ready, any coffee you need/want to drink beforehand. I even fill up the water jug in my fridge so there’s lots to hydrate with.
  • Get your clothes/gear ready. I put my workout clothes, down to my underwear and socks, at the end of my bed. On days I’m especially tight on time, I’ll even sleep in my workout clothes. I pack a bag with my wallet, iPod, water bottle, sweat rag and sneakers to grab on my way out the door.
  • I don’t wash my mascara off the night before so I still have a little bit on when I go to the gym in the morning. This way I’m not technically putting make-up on to go to the gym. But at the same time, it keeps me from looking like death at 5am. I have no shame in admitting to this technique.
  • If I know I’ll be tight on time in the morning, I’ll prepare my breakfast and food for work the night before too. (I live close enough to my gym that I can come back home and shower before going to work).

The morning of:

  • Don’t waste time laying in bed!!! I keep my alarm clock on the other end of my bed, so I have to sit up and crawl to turn it off. Do not lay back down at this point!!! That grogginess feeling wears off after 15 minutes or so. Do not let it fool you into thinking you’re too tired (unless you actually slept for 4 hours. Then go back to bed).
  • The first thing I do is put my gym clothes on. It’s hard to talk myself out of it once I’m up and in those clothes.
  • Drink at least 16 oz of water. I always wake up feeling super dehydrated, so this one is easy for me. I chug a glass every morning anyways. But if there’s one thing you should remember in your morning routine, it’s this one. Working out in a dehydrated state is not cool.
  • Have a small snack and caffeine (if you swing that way). This is the difference between a stellar workout and a “meh.” workout for me.

My pre-workout snack is usually around 100-150 calories consisting of nut butter + simple sugar and sometimes a complex carb. Since I start activity about 15 minutes after this snack, the sugar is more effective for energy than the complex carb, but that complex carb can be important for sustained energy. Examples:

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Dates + PB

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1/2 Banana + PB 

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1/2 Banana + PB + toast

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 Smooshed dates + PB + wasa bread.

I don’t vary a lot from these combos because it they always sit well in my tummy and give me lots of energy! Doesn’t mean it will work for you, so I encourage lots of experimenting on your part to find that magic combo :)

The real magic though, is my iced coffee.

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This is my secret weapon to morning workouts. I make a french press the night before and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, I mix half of the french press with almond milk and stevia (in my Jamaican frosty mug, of course). The coffee and snack is downed in about 5 minutes flat, and that’s when my energy soars. I practically bound out the door at that point! (the other half of the french press is consumed with breakfast)

 

So there you have it! I assure you, I never used to be a morning person. In fact, I have old blog entries to prove that fact. But the good of working out first thing far outweighs the negative!

  1. I get the luxury of coming straight home after work and have the time to prepare a nice dinner
  2. I don’t have to spend a good chunk of my day battling mentally whether or not I should go to the gym after work like planned
  3. Working late, or other unexpected reasons don’t get in the way
  4. I have the whole day to replenish my hunger, instead of an evening workout where I spend the rest of the night starving
  5. I get to strut around all day knowing I ran 5 miles while most of my coworkers were still asleep ;)

As a side note, I find my best workouts are often in the morning. Personally, my body performs best when there’s less food and stress from the day to wear me down.

 

And because I can’t leave you without any fun food from the day – I tried a lamb burger! Chris and I went to our favourite restaurant, Isaac’s Way.

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Curried lamb burgerGround lamb seasoned with curry, grilled, and topped with out roasted red pepper pecan spread, spinach, goat cheese and fresh red peppers.”

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I almost went for a “lighter option” on the menu. But this burger is what I really wanted, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied without! So I opted for a side salad and got the burger in all its glory. It was delicious. The pecan spread was amazing with the goat cheese. I couldn’t detect a huge difference with the lamb though. The bun overpowered the meat a little.

Chris got one of his standbys.

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Nachos bathed in horrible flash photography.

We were hungry.

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After dinner, we went Christmas shopping – for me!!

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I upgraded from my old Motorola Razr to an LG Xenon :D Phone cost me $10 with a rebate, and I get the browser on it for only an extra $5 a month. HOLY DEAL! I can also e-mail and Twitter from it. I’m in nerdy heaven :)

 

Lastly, I just gotta tell y’all that I brought my own ingredients to make a banana Chocolate Amazing Meal smoothie at work today. Pretty sure it was the healthiest smoothie I’ve ever had out of a Starbucks cup ;) My co-workers already think I’m crazy.

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!!!

 

Question of the Day: When is your favourite time of the day to work out? If I’m running, I do it best as soon as I wake up. But other activities I prefer to do a couple hours after a hearty breakfast. Come afternoon, I just start to drag.

You’re invited…

TO THE GUN SHOW!!!!

gun show

Woo-pah!!!! Seriously, whose arm is this? Albeit, the flexing, lighting and flattering angle helps ;) My face is cut out because I’d just stumbled out of bed and it’s smeared in drool and yesterday’s mascara.

Now, I’m not one to go flaunting my body around town, especially on the internet. But, well, I’m kinda proud of my little muscle! You’ve probably heard me whine before that aaalllll my body fat goes to my stomach. So, in my head, my composition looks like this big round middle with skinny arms and legs poking out. I don’t really want to lose any more body fat to take care of the tummy situation (Chris may dump me if my boobs get any smaller :P ). BUT, I can work on making my arms and legs look a little more solid. Apparently, that work has so far been paying off :D

In other news I want to thankyouthankyouthankyou for the kind and congratulatory comments about my new job prospects. I am so lucky to have not only a supportive family behind me, but a slew of blog friends out there backing me up as well :) I’m a little apprehensive about announcing it to my wider circle of acquaintances, co-workers and old schoolmates. They all think I’m crazy for leaving a solid journalism job. For so long I’ve been told that I’m a good journalist. I think that’s why I stuck it out, because I was just following the praise. These people just assume I’d do what I’m good at, but being good at something is not enough.

Plus, as my mommy pointed out, not one person in my family works in the field of their undergraduate degree. The best example being my lovely sister Jane. She was a star psychology student, and gave it all up after graduation to pursue her passion for music. She’s now got two albums under her belt and living a life she loves making music in Quebec City (which you can listen to here!)

Minutes after registering for the personal training course yesterday, I got this in my inbox:

email

Is that a sign or what!? Totally unrelated too, the e-mail just popped up out of the blue. I can’t go though because I have to stay in Fredericton. Would have been nice to scope out what it’s like to work there.

 

So this morning, I tried out something that’s been a long time coming – eggs in a basket!

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Eggs + toast is my favourite breakfast, and I’d never tried it!

There was some dippage happening…

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It was fun :) Although, I think I still prefer the usual fried egg on top.

I had a date with the treadmill today, so I snacked on another new-to-me Larabar flavour for some sugar energy.

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Is there coconut oil in the American version too? I’m not opposed to coconut oil, from everything I’ve read it’s pretty good for you (in moderation, of course ;) )

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First, I found it was really mushy. If I buy this again, I’ll keep it in the fridge. It was good but if I had to choose, I like the cocoa coconut better. This is kinda plain, like just dates and coconut. I know that’s the point, but it was just missing a little sumthin’.

My “dreadmill” sesh was stellar today!

On a 1% incline:

2 minutes @ 3.0 mph
3 minutes @ 3.5 mph
5 minutes @ 5.8 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 5.8 mph & 6.2 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.0 mph & 6.4 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.2 mph & 6.6 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.4 mph & 6.8 mph
5 minutes @ 5.8 mph
3 minutes @ 3.5 mph
2 minutes @ 3.0 mph

The last time I did this workout, I found it to be a touch too easy, so this time I upped the speed a little – it was perfect! I never felt like I had to stop, but those last set of intervals were hard. And yay for getting faster!! Hope I can get those numbers to keep going up. Oh, and on my last 6.8 mph interval, the final chorus of “Don’t Stop Believing" from the Glee Soundtrack kicked in on my iPod. Yeah, it was epic.

Since I got home for a late lunch, and needed to do an early dinner before work tonight, I though it would be a perfect opportunity to test out a liquid lunch.

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  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Meal
  • handful ice
     

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387 calories, 13g fat, 23g protein, 46g carbohydrates, 12g fibre. Not too shabby, right? I mean, that’s what any other meal looks like for me. I think I felt full-ish after drinking it. But within 90 minutes, I was feeling snacky and wanted something to chew. I thought the fibre in the Amazing Grass would save me, apparently not. This girl needs her food to be solid.

I was ravenous come supper time (at 4:30).

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More leftover chicken! Today I put it in a pita with blackberry jam, onions, spinach, sprouts and swiss cheese. Grilled to melty perfection. I’m running low on chicken. Need to roast more stat ;)

 

Eating and exercise aside, I had quite the surprise today. I saw the Canada Post lady walk to my back door this afternoon with a package. I always miss my packages, so I jumped up and met her at the door. I was hoping it would be my recent Amazon purchase or PT course materials. But I was handed a big unfamiliar box. When I ripped it open, I discovered this:

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A FOOD PROCESSOR!!!!! Holymolyasjbgeiuhsfskg. As soon as I saw the note from Janetha attached, I started crying. JB, this is one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me, thank you SO much!!!! You are such a wonderful person, I don’t even know where to start!

Regular readers know I’ve been vying for a food processor for a while, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to splurge on a nice one for myself.

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It’s the perfect size for making hummus! (and baby food as the box implies?) Janetha, I will get on the hummus making immediately so I have more recipes to share with you in thanks for the amazing gift :D

And with that, it’s super late and this granny needs to hit the hay.

 

Question of the Day: What should I make in my new food processor?

To the Stars on the Wings of a Pig

Hey friends! So I’ve finally got some news on the work front. I’m just gonna tell you right now because I’m a blabber mouth who sucks at telling secrets, and I’ve already been tweeting about it all day ;)

So first off, I got hired at Starbucks! Yayyyy! I’m going to be working as a full-time supervisor for the next few months, and start training this week. I’m happy there will be no void in my paychecks, and the Starbies job should actually pay just as much as the reporter gig :)

I’m not going to just be working at Starbucks though. You all know I realized a long time ago that I do not want to be a daily reporter, and I don’t want to be a PR person unless I find the perfect company. These are the only things my skills and background would allow me to do.

But why just do what my background allows? Especially if it would just make me miserable? (again) So I’ve decided to instead follow my heart, my gut and my passions. I’m throwing all sense and rationality to the wind and working toward a personal training specialist certification with CanFit Pro (Canada’s national standard).

I know, right? Me? A personal trainer? Why not!? Exercise and fitness isn’t just a phase or a hobby, it’s my life. What draws me to jobs like reporting and Starbucks are the people. I love meeting fabulous people, and even more I want to help the ones that are looking for it. My mom told me this wonderful thing along the lines of “the day you discover your passions is when you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Of course, I expect to work :P And I expect it to be hard at times. I don’t also plan on plugging away with people at the gym all day. I plan to continue my education with a future certification as a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant. Perhaps I’ll even want to be a class instructor – who knows! Basically, I see this as the first step in many steps to come. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m taking a step forward, and not just another step back.

I also plan to keep the journalism thing up. My new experience and titles will allow me to delve further into health and wellness writing. I’m lucky to have made a lot of contacts in journalism school, and I have a long list of Canadian publications I hope to freelance for.

I’m so excited!!!

And before we move on, I have something else I have to get off my chest – I’m back on the VitaMuffins.

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I toasted my favourite deep chocolate flavour last night and put some marshmallow fluff on top. ohmysweetlord. It got crunchy on the outside, but soft and melty on the inside, then the fluff was all frosting-like on the top. Every single bite was worth every penny spent :D

Breakfast this morning was not very photogenic, which usually equals deliciousness.

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Two Nature’s Path flax waffles smothered in 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp faux-syrup (mixed with a hand blender). And sprinkled with cinnamon of course. SO good! Freezer waffles are only filling when you throw protein + fat into the mix.

Then it was off to BodyStep, ie the funnest class ever (sorry spin, you hurt too much to be fun :P ). Step class is definitely not one of those workouts you can just phone in. You definitely get out of it what you put in, more so than some of the other classes. I think that’s why I always come out feeling so satisfied and accomplished :)

Afterward, I came home and drank some chocolate Amazing Meal blended with almond milk, half a banana, yogurt and ice.

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I was a sweaty mess. But I had to look decent for my job interview this afternoon. Enter lots of showering, hair straightening, caking on make-up, ironing clothes (ugh) and digging out accessories and voila!

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Hi!! I’m actually modelling my new necklace and earrings. For years I wore nothing but giant flashy earrings, but I’ve been on a chunky necklace kick lately. And I’m a sucker for girly flowers :P

And apparently the gussying up worked!

Oh, and there was a lunch, carefully eaten as not to spill anything on myself.

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Smoked salmon on a bagel with laughing cow cheese, capers and spinach and an orange on the side. This salmon is local bbq flavoured stuff. SO good!! We Maritimers know how to do our smoked salmon ;)

After all my running around, I came home and tried out my other KIND bar. This time in Walnut & Date.

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I had high hopes for this bar after Kath raved about it on her blog recently. Plus, dates are one of my favourite foods and I love them in just about anything. But, I wasn’t a huge fan! Maybe my expectations were just too high. I loved the walnuts, their texture reminded me a lot of sugar cookies. But I couldn’t really taste the dates. Honey is the third ingredient, and it was definitely the overpowering flavour in this bar.

Supper was (what else) chicken salad pita made with my leftover roast chicken from yesterday.

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YUM!! You can see my running hat in the background. Meh. I’m a slob.

Finally, you may be wondering what “To the stars on the wings of a pig” means. Technically, it’s “Ad astra per alia porci.” It was the motto and personal stamp of John Steinbeck and appeared on the insert of all his books. It was a jab at an old teacher who once told him he’d only be a successful writer when “pigs flew.” I studied Latin and have a soft spot for Latin phrases. I’ve adopted it as my personal motto, to remind me that anything is possible :)

 

P.S. I’ve updated my About page so feel free to go check it out!

Till next time!

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