Using video and photos for assistance

I have been wanting to do a headstand in yoga for quite some time! There are many pins on my Pinterest boards showing the progression, I asked my yoga teachers to help me after class and I watched others do it.

Everyone said, just use a wall. I had two major issues with working on headstand. One being fear. I had tried in the past and for the most part it was fine. I even got all the way up with people helping get my feet overhead. Then I tried with a little too much momentum and took a pretty good fall. That did it for a while. I was all set!

My other issue was I couldn’t find the right feeling. I knew I had to get my hips over my shoulders, but I couldn’t feel how close or how far they were from being in the right place.

I decided to not let my fear hold me back. There’s also a slight chance an instructor told me I would need upper body and core strength. Nothing like a challenge to help me get over my fear 😉

A co-worker and I had talked about yoga and fitness photos on Instagram. She told me that she props her phone up, takes a video and then uses a screenshot from the video. I’ve read about other people doing the same thing.

I was early to class and had the space to myself. I decided why not? I got out a yoga block to prop up my phone and gave it a go. While watching the video. I could clearly see where my hips were and how much further I needed to lift them.

I re-set my phone and was able to go right up into headstand. Now, I’ve done it several times. I needed an aha moment and my video provided it. Unfortunately, I deleted the first video while still at the gym (bad blogger) and only have the final one.

I did save the “best” screen shot.  While I did get both feet off the ground, my hips are a little forward for being the top of the headstand.Working toward headstand

Here is the second video from that day…Headstand

I have also enjoyed seeing my yoga photos. In general, I don’t like yoga with mirrors and I think it should be about the feel and not the aesthetic. That being said, I’ve been able to correct little things in my planks, and warriors. I find it helpful to see the picture and correct my form.

Do you like video, pictures or mirrors to help with your form? Do you find going upside down scary?

 

Our time in Capri

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I traveled to Italy with my husband at the end of September. This was our first long distance, kids free trip. We’ve done a few weekends in New York City and many overnights, but it’s never involved planes or been for more than two nights.

We have traveled a bit and always walk A LOT. I packed a trusty pair of sneakers and cute shoes for the evening. Off to Naples we went!

I had heard that Naples could be a little edgy and I don’t speak the language. I decided to leave my running gear at home. Not to mention, I didn’t think I would want to run.

We arrived Sunday night at our amazing hotel. It was the rare occasion where the hotel undersold its location. We were right on the water with a pedestrian street directly in front of the hotel.
Our view…

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Being a Sunday, the Italians were all out for a stroll. All shapes, sizes, ages and family dynamics were out walking, running and riding bikes. It was fun to see a culture embrace getting out and moving together.

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As we enjoyed breakfast the next morning, we saw tons of people out running and I was actually a little jealous. I wanted to go for a run (this is definitely a new experience). Alas, I didn’t have my gear.

We ventured out for the day and walked a good portion of Naples before catching a ferry to Capri. The line for the funicular was extremely long and we decided to walk around. We saw a sign to walk up to Capri Town and decided why not. Off we went, uphill 😉

We found walking up gave us a great opportunity to stop and enjoy the view of the sea and lemon trees. We also saw cute entrances to homes. Even a cat scaling an iron gate. We were able to get a feel for the people who live between the sea and Capri Town.

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Once we reached town, we walked around and took in the beautiful scenery. After an amazing lunch, we walked around some more.

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Allowing ourselves to wander and climb some more hills. We found ourselves on the other side of the island and these amazing views.

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Eventually, we walked back downhill and went to the beach for a little while before catching our ferry back to Naples.

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Turns out I didn’t need to go running, there was plenty of exercise to be had. The ability to walk up and explore was one I don’t take for granted, but am so happy we did it.

Do you walk when you travel? What’s your favorite place to visit?

I was nominated for a Liebster Award!?!?!

I was recently nominated for a Liebster Award by fellow blogger Priscilla over at Rediscovering Me. Here is how the award works …

liebster

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees
5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

The idea is to create a feeling of community, encourage us to write more and venture out to new blogs. Here are my answers to Priscilla’s questions. At the bottom, you can find my nominations and questions.

1. What is your favorite song to workout to?

Right now, it’s Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”. I can sing along and it keeps me going!

2. What is your dream race to run?

I don’t really have a dream race at the moment. I am still enjoying the local races and haven’t branched out too much. I see a lot of bloggers traveling for races and I’m definitely interested down the road.

3. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

This is a tough one! I love the Cape in the summer and can’t think of anywhere else I would like to be. The winter, however, can be a bit long. I would be happy on any beach that’s warm in the winter 🙂

4. What is your biggest pet peeve about the gym?

Bad attitudes! I think everyone should welcome new faces and encourage each other.

5. What is your most favorite piece of workout clothing that you own?

I think it would be my Lululemon gather and crow crops. I love the way they fit and feel. I’ve worn them for pretty much everything and love them!

6. How do you relieve stress? Workout, yell, cry?

Workout/yoga! For me, there is nothing better than pounding out my frustration running or taking time for me in yoga. It depends on what’s causing the stress, but exercising definitely keeps me sane.

7. Do you encourage others to workout with you?

I teach a lot of fitness classes, so yes I’m always encouraging others to work out with me. I think people are the most comfortable when they feel included and not forced/bullied into fitness.

8. What is your dream vacation destination?

Hmmm, so many amazing places to choose from. I am lucky enough to have traveled a little and I’ve seen a lot of great places. I have always wanted to visit Santorini and would say, that’s my dream vacation (that I don’t have planned in the near future).

9. What is your idea of a dream date?

Again, I’ve been lucky with having had dates with my husband in Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, Boston and of course Cape Cod :). The last two years, we have taken a day and gone paddle boarding and out to fun, local spots for dinner and drinks. I think this is my current dream date 🙂

10. What is your biggest accomplishment in life, so far?

Of course, my family! Each day presents a new challenge and joy. We are in the middle of baseball, flag football, school year ending and the race season beginning; yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

Here are my nominees:
Di from: Workout With Di
Whittney from: Whittney Hills
Karen from: Wellness Science
Laura from: Fitness with LuLu
Patty from: Reach Your Peak
Presley from: Run Pretty
Molly from: In a Nutshell Nutrition
Divya from: Eat Teach Blog
Nikki from: Get fit with Nikki
Amanda from: Run to the Finish

Ladies, here are my questions for you:

How long have you been blogging?
What was your first blog post about?
What do you do for work outside of your blog?
What is your favorite recipe?
Why do you like fitness?
Do you exercise alone or with friends?
Where is your favorite place to work out?
What is your favorite way to relax?
Where is your favorite place to travel?
How many countries have you been to?

Thank you again Priscilla for thinking of me!  Please introduce yourself and answer one or two questions in the comments 🙂

Back in the kitchen

Another good week! I could have done without the spring blizzard (on my beach running day, no less) but it gave me a chance to finish up my guest post for That’s What She Said. Stop by and check it out 🙂

My focus for this week was revamping dinner and getting back to more variation. Anyone with a busy schedule knows how difficult this can be. I’ve definitely been stuck in a rut! Lately, I’ve been playing a bit with prepping some meals on Sunday.

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This week, I used a value pack of chicken tenderloins to prep two meals. First, I prepped ranch chicken for Monday night and then chicken fajitas for Wednesday night. I had left over kale from Friday night’s dinner and decided to use it for kale pesto on Tuesday.

Ranch chicken

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I put the chicken tenderloins in a zip-lock with ranch dressing and placed it in the fridge for the next night. In my food processor, I placed three slices of whole wheat bread, two garlic cloves, one tablespoon of parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and a little salt and pepper. I blended it all together and placed the crumbs in a container for the next day.

On Monday, I put the breadcrumbs in a pie dish, added the chicken and covered each tenderloin in the crumbs. I put them on a baking sheet covered with tin foil (spray with olive oil) and sprayed them lightly with olive oil. I baked them at 425* for 20 minutes. As always, it was a big hit!!

Chicken fajitas

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I was pretty nervous about this one! I found this recipe online that bakes everything together. I thought, what if I put it together and freeze it for a crock pot meal on a busy night?

I put together the chicken, peppers, onions and seasoning in a zip-lock and then placed it in the freezer. I threw it all in the crock-pot (from the freezer) and cooked on high for 3 1/2 hours (you could do low 6-8 hrs). There was more liquid than I anticipated in the crock-pot, but I used a slotted spoon and it was delicious. Everyone loved them and we will definitely be trying them again.

Here’s the recipe from Budget Bytes

Ingredients

SEASONING
1 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
½ Tbsp paprika $0.07
½ tsp onion powder $0.03
¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
¼ tsp cumin $0.02
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
1 tsp sugar $0.02
½ tsp salt $0.02
½ Tbsp corn starch $0.02
FAJITAS
2 small (or 1 lg.) onion $0.64
2 medium green bell peppers $1.00
1 medium red bell pepper $1.50
1 lb. chicken breast* $1.99
2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.04
1 medium lime $0.40
8 (6-inch) tortillas $1.20
½ cup sour cream (optional) $0.42
¼ bunch cilantro (optional) $0.22

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients for the fajita seasoning in a small bowl and set aside (chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, and corn starch).

Cut the onion and bell peppers into ¼ to ½ inch wide strips. Place them in a large 9×13 inch casserole dish. Slice the chicken breast into very thin strips and add it to the casserole dish with the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the meat and vegetables. Drizzle the vegetable oil over everything and then use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is well coated in oil and seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once half way through. Squeeze the juice from half of the lime over top of the meat and vegetables after it comes out of the oven.

Scoop a small amount of meat and vegetables into the center of each tortilla. Top with a few sprigs of cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and an extra squeeze of lime if desired.

Kale pesto

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This is one of my favorite ways to use kale!

I use baby kale, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and olive oil. I put 2-3 peeled garlic cloves in the bottom of the food processor and then I fill it with baby kale. About 1 tablespoon of pine nuts and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, sprinkle salt, pepper and nutmeg on top. Add the olive oil as the processor is running.

This week, I used the pesto on potatoes that we grilled (in foil for 30 minutes) and again on tortellini.

The rest of my week was pretty uneventful. BOKS and my classes were fun as always 🙂 Over the weekend, we will be celebrating our oldest’s birthday with friends and family!

How was your week? What are your weekend plans? What’s your go-to dinner on busy nights?

 

One year, 246 miles and a lot of smiles later..

5k collageI can’t believe it was a year ago that I began my running adventure!! Honestly, I was hoping to make it a few months; I never thought a year was possible. It hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but wow – one year and well over 200 miles logged!

When I first laced up my sneakers, I did it to step out of my comfort zone and feel what my students feel when I ask them to step out of their comfort zones. I had support from my husband, kids and a few friends; but mostly people in my life didn’t understand why I was doing it. I was already “in-shape” why did I need to run?

A year later, most of my family and friends not only support me, but they have run along side me at a 5k or held signs and watched the boys. The perspective has changed for many of us.

Getting it done

Running is often the first activity knocked off the list when I have a busy week with the kids home. This no longer stops me from picking it back up the next week. Somehow, I have found time and not let busy weeks discourage me. This winter has been brutal and I have struggled with the treadmill. I came to peace with it and did what I could. Finally, the sun has come out and some days, it’s above freezing. I have run outside twice!

My outside running has happened on the beach. The first time, my music didn’t work and it was HARD! I enjoyed hearing the waves, but I could hear my heavy breathing and I was very aware of how difficult it was, while still enjoying the beauty. Thanks to the last year, I didn’t give up because it was a struggle and not perfect. I kept going and put in the distance I was determined to hit. I’ve learned how to cheer myself on and get it done! After my struggle, I killed it on the treadmill! It seemed so much “easier” and my determination was back.

This week at the beach, my music was working and I was determined to have a “better” run – and I did :). I was able to find a good pace, breathe and take in the scenery. I never thought I could run, let alone run at the beach. I’m not sure my times will be better this race season, but I’m hopeful!

Running friends

I’ve always known people who run. My husband, friends and co-workers all ran. Frankly, this intimidated me. I was slow and walked and any other excuse you can think of – I had it and used it to not run with others. As my friends (who didn’t run historically) began to join my journey, I realized the pace didn’t matter. I just wanted them to join me and have fun. I wanted to cheer them on!

I realized, I could run with my other friends. They might not want me on every run, but I shouldn’t make the decision for them. If they say it’s ok, I need to trust that and have fun. I also know how to say, I’m not going to keep up and go ahead. That’s OK too 🙂

My running posse has grown more than I could have imagined and I hope it continues to grow! I love being a part of a group and running is no different. I think that’s why I love 5Ks 😉

Mental strength

Some days are better than others. When I got started, I really put in the effort. I had a specific goal and really didn’t want to embarrass myself. As the racing season began to wind down, it was harder to find that mental strength. It was easier to justify walking and not pushing it as hard. Thankfully, I got through my slump and am re-energized. It always feels better when I finish a hard run that I know I pushed myself 🙂

The future

We are in the process of selecting 5Ks for this year. The plan is to repeat the ones from last year and add a few more. One of my friends and I considered working towards a 10k. That has been tabled for now. I am sure we will revisit it in the future. Currently, I’m happy working on and enjoying 5Ks. I can’t imagine what a year from now will look like 🙂

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone?  What’s the biggest exercise risk you’ve taken?

Xiomara is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is Xiomara! She is a busy mom of two little girls who runs a family market in Florida. In her “spare” time she runs 🙂 You can follow her story about running, fitness and of course, the market here. Here’s Xiomara….

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What was your aha moment?
I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a gym membership, even while I was in college I regularly went to the gym. But I gained almost 50 pounds during my first pregnancy. So loosing the baby weight was a great motivator.

Did you go all in or build over time?
I started training for my first triathlon in 2005. After that race, I had a couple of babies so there really wasn’t much time for training. I started running again after my second baby was born in 2008 as a way to loose the baby weight. Luckily for me I only gained about 25 pounds. After a few of years of running, I finally made the decision to run my first half marathon in 2012. It took me a while to get the courage to run that distance but I’m glad I waited until I was physically and mentally ready.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?
While I enjoy group classes like spinning, I find I never make it to them. It’s just easier to get my running clothes on and walk out of the door.

What’s your go-to form of exercise and time to workout?
Running! First thing in the morning while everyone at home is sleeping.

Does music motivate you?
Yes! I recently drove to the park only to find out I didn’t have my ear phones with me. I turned around and went home to get them so I could run with music.

What’s your must-have song?
Lately I’ve been running with Pandora’s Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout radio station.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?
I cook dinner probably five to six times a week.

Do you meal prep or make it as you go?
I used to go to the grocery store with an idea of what I was planning to cook during the week. The results were mixed. I would come home and forget some ingredient. I’ve recently started writing it down and sticking with it which has made it a lot easier.

What’s your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe would be my grandma’s beef stew. I recently made it and it keeps getting better every time I make it.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment to date was given birth twice to two beautiful, healthy, smart and funny little girls. They make me want to be the best version of myself.

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What is your current goal?
My current goal is to run more trail races this year. Normally I mostly run road races, but this year I would like to run 3 trail races.

Blog: http://www.parkesdale.com/blog
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/xiomeeks
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/xiomeeks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/xmeeks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xmeeks

Thank you Xiomara for sharing your story!! Please leave any questions for Xiomara in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story? Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com

Courtney is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is Courtney!!  You can follow her journey at The TriGirl Chronicles.  I hope you enjoy Courtney’s story as much as I do 🙂

Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

Tell us a little bit about you…

I’m a recently married runner turned triathlete. I have a Bachelors in health education, a Masters in health promotion, am a certified k-12 health education teacher, and a nationally Certified Health Education Specialist. I love all things related to health and fitness and am completely fascinated by the human body and all the incredible and awe inspiring things it is capable of. I truly believe anyone can accomplish anything they set out for with the right mind set and work ethic because we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

What was your aha moment?

Growing up I was always pretty athletic. My parents had my brother and I in sports our whole lives. I started running track at age 12; joining my school districts modified team. I ran track through my junior year and qualified for states a number of times. In college I played Rugby for two years, and my senior year I ran on and off here and there. My now husband convinced me to register for a 5k that year. I assumed my many years as a successful runner and my here and there running would carry me through, but it did not. I walked a number of times, got frustrated, cried, and fussed during that race. It was a big eye opener to me that my previous years of track weren’t going to carry me my whole life. After that I took my first real job post college graduation. It involved a long commute and I ended up hating the job. It was a complete mental, emotional, and physical drain for me. Again, I stopped running. In the summer of 2011 I saw a number of people I had gone to high school and college with participated in the Iron Girl Syracuse Triathlon. I saw the pictures and posts about it on Facebook and thought “I can totally do that.” So on November 1st, 2011, I registered for the following year’s race. At this point I was at my heaviest weight ever and very unhappy. But I now something to focus on and train for, and on August 5th, 2012, I stood on the sand at Oneida Lake Park ready to run my first triathlon. Crossing that finish line was the most difficult yet emotionally transcending thing I had accomplished. It helped shape me into the healthy and active person I am today with my eyes set on running a full Ironman Triathlon in 2015.Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

Did you go all in or build over time?

It’s always been an on-again-off-again thing for me. I tend to jump into things in life feet first and I don’t always think things through. I signed up for that first triathlon not owning a bike and not having swam competitively since my single abysmal season on my school’s swim team in eighth grade. So I guess I really kind of go all out. I’m an all or nothing type of person.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?

I’m definitely better solo. I know how to push myself and can easily train alone. However, my husband is a great running partner and I’m just starting to attend my local triathlon club workouts.

What’s your go-to form of exercise?

Running always has been my go to. It’s such a cathartic thing for me. However, I find a long, solo bike ride to be incredibly freeing. And as I work on my poor swimming skills I’m also learning the silence of the water can sooth the soul and make me feel completely rejuvenated.Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

What’s your favorite time to work out?

In the morning. I hate the getting up part, but I like that it doesn’t feel like it’s interfering with the rest of my day, or like I have to move something else or give up time elsewhere to do it later. Also, I find that starting my day off with a workout sets me up to make better choices the rest of the day.

Does music motivate you?

Sure! A great song can push me to run harder or faster or carry me longer. But I’m also starting to learn that going sans music allows me to focus more on myself and let my training help me become more connected to myself. It’s really empowering doing a workout without music and only focusing on yourself.

What’s your must-have song?

I love running to anything Pitbull releases because the beat his songs are usually at tend to be perfect for a hard or fast run. For cycling I like things with a softer, more rhythmic tempo to them, like Avicci’s Wake Me Up, or John Newann’s new song Love Me Again.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?

Not many, actually. My husband and I work opposite schedules so we both fend for ourselves. He cooks his meals fresh everyday where as I am a big fan of food prepping and precooking so I only have to reheat. So once a week usually, but I cook everything for a whole week that one day.

Do you meal prep or make it as you go?

Prep, for sure. It’s such a time saver and it keeps me from not knowing what to have for meals and just grabbing something to go.

What’s your favorite recipe?

Right now I’m loving on turkey tacos with tons of onions and peppers mixed right into the meat. Just reheat some precooked mix, pile onto a big lettuce leaf, and top with avocado and it’s delicious. I also really love salmon and veggies.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment was definitely this past summer as a whole. I lost all the weight I gained while working my crappy job that I have since left, got married, ran my first half marathon, and ran two more sprint and one Olympic distance triathlon. I was fitter and happier than I had ever been this past summer and I can’t wait to have an even greater season this year.

What is your current goal?

My current goal is to make it out of my upcoming race season alive and with new PR’s for some of my repeat races. I’m running a 77.7 mile relay race in April, and very difficult and hilly 40 mile reverse triathlon in May, my first half Ironman in June, a handful of sprint and Olympic distance triathlons July through September. Then I’m rerunning the same half marathon in October. It’s going to be difficult but I know I can do it. Long term I plan to race Ironman Chattanooga, my first full iron distance triathlon, in September 2015.

Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles
Blog: www.thetrigirlchronicles.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TriGChronicles
Instagram: http://instagram.com/trigirlchronicles
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/CourtneyTGC/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetrigirlchronicles

Thank you Courtney for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions for Courtney in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story?  Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com