Day 1 of Operation Booyah

Hi, hello and happy Monday! L here, reporting live from the ground at Operation Booyah, aka Day 1 of Fat Camp (from now on, I will be referring to my journey to get back into tough as nails shape as Operation Booyah). Blogging about this journey seems to be the best way to hold myself accountable, and I will take you through my highs and lows as I continue to share recipes, tips and motivational boosts.

In order to help this process along as efficiently as possible, I’ve started tracking my meals and striving for a goal of being active for 1 hour a day, six days a week. Active doesn’t mean doing an insane HIIT session for 60 minutes every day, but includes things like hiking and even just going for a walk after work, and taking rest days when I need them. I’m optimistic but not insane, I know that going from 0 to 60 is going to be hellish (aka, I’ll be moving around like a robot) until I get over The Hump and exercise comes easy once again.

Some notes so far: 

  1. It really, really sucks to not be able to blob on the couch after work, watch Netflix in my comfy pants, drink as much wine as I feel like and eat waffle fries covered in Frank’s Hot Sauce for dinner. Even though I’m a student again, my 19 year-old metabolism is a thing of the distant past so that’s no longer an appropriate stress reliever (or something that I can do most nights without repercussion – see not being able to button my pants in my previous post, oy vey).
  2. I forgot what it felt like to be ACTUALLY hungry. If I felt distant pangs of hunger, I would eat a snack, procured from the infamous snack drawer in my office that was mostly filled with candy (Food Science people always have candy around, dammit) . Now, I am being more thoughtful with those feelings, and giving them a closer look. Why do I want to eat? Am I bored? Sad? Stressed? Thirsty? Or, am I just really hungry? Instead of shoving food in my face to satisfy those pangs, I’ve been going with the “water first” policy to reassess. Fun? Nope. Necessary? Yeahhh…
  3. Working out DOES make you feel good. See: endorphins. When you get in a rut, it’s hard to remember how rewarding it is to absolutely smash (or at least put your best foot forward toward) a workout.
  4. I’m still L. No matter how I feel, I am still the strong woman who kicked ass and ran a half marathon under two hours, crushed a Tough Mudder, had the strength to up-end my life in Boston to start grad school, all in order to work toward my goals and live a rewarding life. I will get there. It may take time, be a total effing pain in the ass, and at times not that fun, but I will get there. I am determined. Let’s keep movin’ forward.

I’ll be back tomorrow to give you my meal plan for the week. Happy Monday, all!

With warmth,

L

 

Resilience

Happy Monday, all! This week will be a true test of mental stamina. I am facing my first two exams of graduate school, and seeing that I haven’t taken an exam in about 6.5 years, I have just a teeny bit of testing anxiety. In addition, I finally feel that I have fallen into a consistent routine crushing my workouts, and I don’t want to lose my forward momentum. I’ve already passed the first test: despite muscle soreness from yesterday’s kettlebell workout, and simply not wanting to get out of bed because I was so warm and comfortable (and it was 14 degrees outside and snowing), I did indeed throw my covers off at 5:30 am when my alarm went off (it definitely helps to know that all of your Boston area friends are awake getting ready to get their ass kicked by Sarah). Score one for Team L.

Some other weekend highlights: 

  1. Saturday’s Wicked Intense Track Workout. I ran 100 m sprint repeats until I lost count and my legs were crying. In between sprints, I mixed in walking lunges, side squats, frog jumps and long jumps to really go for it with the leg workout. I will get faster and conquer the hills that have magically appeared upon moving (which did not exist in Boston – Boston hills are a joke compared to here) if it kills me, dammit. IMG_5385
  2. Sunday Super Kettlebell workout. I did a cardio circuit for 30 minutes, and then crushed a kettlebell workout with some of my favorite moves: goblet squats, one arm kettlebell swings, shoulder press, bent over rows.  I got kettle bells on sale at Dick’s! They are the one piece of equipment the campus gym is missing, and I couldn’t resist. If you’re a kettlebell lover like me, there are some great ideas here: The 6 Best Kettlebell Exercises You Need to DoFullSizeRender
  3. Simple AF Sunday Night Dinner. After spending the afternoon studying, I was super hungry (mildly hangry) when I got home. I roasted all of the things last night, and while I was waiting for them to brown to perfection, I incorporated a quickie core workout with plank variations (walk out plank, opposite arm lifts, hip dips side to side).

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Simple AF Sunday Night Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bag of Brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s, quartered
  • 1 cup of tricolor quinoa
  • 1 cup of dried sprouted lentils
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp liquid aminos
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic

Directions

1. Toss the diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place the quartered Brussel sprouts on a separate baking sheet and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast both at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy edges.

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2. Prepare quinoa and sprouted lentils according to package directions.

3. While your quinoa, lentils and veggies are cooking, combine the tahini, lemon juice, liquid aminos and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth, and set aside.

4. Once your quinoa and lentils are finished cooking, combine into a large bowl. Toss with tahini-lemon dressing.

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5. Serve the quinoa-lentil mixture alongside the roasted veggies – voila! Perfect, easy meal. You can add some extra protein by adding frozen edamame, tofu or tempeh to your lentils – I had just downed a protein shake while I was waiting for my stuff to cook, so I didn’t need any extra prots.

Today’s mantra is resilience: overcoming challenges despite stress, life, everything else going on in your head. A significant part of being physically active/being alive is the mental toughness – you have to be able to put mind over matter and not quit when everything in your head is yelling for you stop what you’re doing. Resilience and consistency: the two attributes that make an athlete, which also happen to be my focus this week.

I hope you all have a week full of booyah! Happy Monday!

With warmth,

L

Crushing Workouts Left and Right

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This post is brought to you by overnight muesli with fresh berries from my office desk 🙂 

Happy Monday, Booyahs! I can tell you right now that it’s the start to a great week. I am *finally* starting to get into the swing of things with my workouts – I am sticking to it with rewarding results. I have been on a mega Amanda Bisk Fresh Body Fit Mind kick recently – I’ve been doing her 20 minute circuits twice a day on Monday/Wednesday/Friday (although, since I am incapable of not being super intense, I usually make them 27 – 30 minutes). Amanda is a former Australian Olympic pole vaulter who came up with this program as a way to share her workouts once she stopped competing. You don’t need any equipment, just space to jump around, a killer playlist and a ready-to-get-sweaty attitude. I really enjoy it; it breaks up my workout into two do-able chunks, and by the time you get to the PM workout, you’ve forgotten how hard you worked (and how much @$$ you kicked) in the morning so you’re able to do it all over again and feel amazing/slightly dead afterwards.

My downstairs neighbors probably think I am having a Kill Bill-level fight to the death when I’m doing burpees at 5:30 am, but so far I’ve gotten no complaints so I’m hoping the carpeting (and my yoga mat) are muffling the sound of all of that body slamming. This weekend, I stuck with my workout both days, and went above and beyond for the PM workout full of sprints last night (pre Super Bowl party, of course!):

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I was supposed to do 5 x 30m sprints with 5 squats in between each sprint…no big deal, right? That’s just under 100 feet per sprint. So, I was like, I’ll do 10 rounds instead because I’m the High Priestess of Booyah! For whatever reason, I took off my logical thinking helmet when I went to the indoor track on campus and was like, “Oh – one time around the track is one sprint!” because in my head I had moved the decimal place over from 875 feet (the actual distance of one loop on the track) to 87.5 feet (the imaginary distance in my head that makes no sense, if you’re using your brain). Well, my first full out sprint around the track allowed me to quickly realize that it was beyond my capabilities, so I downgraded my one entire loop of sprinting the track to only do three-quarters of one loop. After three rounds of that, I downgraded again to sprinting halfway around the track for the remaining seven sprints. About midway through the most intense sprint workout of my life, I ran by the sign telling me that one loop = 875 feet, but by that point I was already committed and just kept it up.

That was A LOT of sprints. I was bright red and sweaty for an hour after my workout. SO. FRIGGIN. INTENSE. If I’ve done my math correctly, I sprinted for roughly 1533.45 meters total, instead of 150 meters total. Hot damn. Let me just say that, my adductors (where the front/inside of your leg connects to your pelvis) tells me that I definitely sprinted for over 1500 meters. All the stretching in all of the land will be happening in my apartment later tonight.

Other exciting things: I went to Trader Joe’s on Sunday where Bubbles & Booyah headquarters is now located (i.e. my new hometown) and had the ultimate supermarket sweep! They have the best frozen food vegan options, all for super cheap! I got a bunch of stuff for meals this week, and I’m excited to try it out:

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For my lab’s happy hour last Thursday (hosted by yours truly), we did a burrito/taco bar and it was the ultimate spread. I highly recommend putting together a burrito bar potluck for your next gathering, with each person bringing a component to add – it turned out to be AMAZING:

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Also, this just made my day:

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YAS, Leia!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week this week! Get after it today, it will be totally worth it.

With warmth,

L

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update

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Hi All!

Well, any hopes that I had of writing and testing a new recipe this week were quickly eliminated based on how busy my week was last week! At the beginning of the week, I volunteered at a Wine Quality workshop, which focused on identifying and resolving defects in winemaking. Also known as: smelling and tasting a lot of wine in between my classes.

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On Thursday, I hosted my first ever happy hour/game night gathering at my new place, and invited my lab group to partake. We played The Game of Things, basically a Target rip-off of Cards Against Humanity, where you fill in the blank instead of put down another card. All of my lab group ended up bringing different kinds of dips as a dish to pass at our Happy Hour, which was PHENOM. I made the Artichoke Dip recipe from the new Thug Kitchen: Party Grub cookbook. It was pretty flippin’ delicious. I highly recommend checking it out.

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Training this week was minimal. Between wine consumption and loads of work/school commitments, I did not get nearly enough gym time in this week. I feel myself falling farther and farther behind in my training, losing muscle and strength, and I get completely frustrated. I spent so much time and effort getting to where I was, and it is so hard to be in a place where I feel a little lost with my training program. Luckily, Sarah to the rescue – hopefully I can work on a long-distance trainer/trainee relationship with her because she is the absolute BEST. Personally, I am not the best at going from a very structured workout/training schedule to being completely on my own to make up my own workouts and training routines. This ish is HARD. However, Miss Booyah is not a sit on her hands kind of girl, so I’m writing down some goals for this week and attempting a new approach at getting my workouts in. The gym on campus opens at 6:30 am. I have class at 8 am. We are going to see just how fast I can workout, stretch and chug a protein shake as I run/walk to my 8 am Dairy class (Yes, I get to take Dairy in which we learn all about milk chemistry, making dairy products, lactation biology, all the good stuff. Maybe it will help me come up with a bomb idea of how to make the best faux vegan cheese ever.) We shall see how it works. Wish me luck! What do you guys do to stay on top of your workouts? I’m totally open to trying as many approaches as possible in order to find one that works for me. 

I hope that you all had an awesome weekend, and have a super BOOYAH week this week!

With warmth,

L

Basic B*tch Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

photo 1Between gallivanting around Colorado two-ish weeks ago, and being a stand-in instructor for boot camp on Tuesday, I was due for a good ass kicking to get back into the training game for my upcoming half (Ok, I mean it’s upcoming in February, but I don’t want to lose my momentum now!). Well, my trainer was back from her much-deserved vacation and yesterday my ass was sufficiently kicked by the TRX band rows/T,Y,I workout, box jumps, sit-ups, and sled push (I pushed 108% of my body weight! Hollaaaaa!) – just to name a few. And then again this morning (some highlights include: lots of push-ups in different forms, and the love child of my two fave cardio exercises: box jump burpees). Needless to say, I am feeling the sores today. My foam roller and I have a hot date tooooonighttt, ow owwww!! 😉 😉

In the spirit of training, I am ready to get my head in the game. And as a vegetarian, it’s imperative that I get enough prots per day to build up those muscles (without going overboard, and drinking plenty of water so I don’t get those weird protein kidney stones – I can already hear my nutritionist prof sister Dr. J bossing informing me of the proper intake requirements). What to do? Well, I bought 10 lbs of whey protein* on Amazon prime (double chocolate and vanilla) and am going to start making some crazy smoothie creations! I’ve really been feeling the fall, and the orange foods so I figured – what the hell? I’ll try to make a smoothie that tastes like pumpkin pie. Why not.

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Ingredients: Vanilla protein powder*, pureed pumpkin, frozen banana, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice (not pictured: almond milk).

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (I think 1/2 cup would do it, that was a little excessive)
  • 2 dates (for sweetness/fiber, can substitute 1/2 Tbsp honey)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (plus a few extra shakes cinnamon and a pinch of ginger)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (either my vanilla protein kinda sucks or that was too much – I’d try 1/2 scoop)*
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
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Before and after blending.

*Fret not my vegan loves! There are TONS and TONS of vegan protein substitutions to make. A new fave is pea/hemp protein powder. 😀

Directions:

Blend until smooth. Add almond milk to achieve desired thickness. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top to garnish. Wrap on an infinity scarf, take a break from your Pinterest “Quotes” board, unwrap your hands from around your pumpkin spice latte and Enjoy! 😀

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I like my smoothies pretty thick, so I only used 1/2 cup of almond milk.

I love these smoothie creations because a) they are fantastic after working out, b) they taste like a dessert and c) they are a great way to sneak a little extra protein in your diet at the end of the day. Because I work out in the morning, get ready at the gym and go straight to work, I usually reserve smoothies for weekends after working out, during the week after a long evening run, or as a dessert treat after dinner. The recipe I made up last night is not the lowest in calories (it’s around 450 calories – oooops!), to make a “lighter” version: use 1/2 banana (53 cal), 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (50 cal), skip the dates/honey, and use 1/2 scoop protein powder (~65 cal), plus the spices, vanilla and almond milk – that should get you right around 200 calories. Even the lightened up version is awesome.

photo 2photo 3This was a definitely a successful creation – I’m looking forward to tweaking it to get that pumpkin pie flavor just right. It definitely filled me up, tasted rich, creamy and decadent, and was very on trend with Autumn. Yum. I hope you guys like it just as much as I did! 😛

Have a great one, and don’t forget to drink water ❤

L

42 Seconds

Sweat was dripping down my face and my elbows were getting rug burns as I desperately pulled myself forward. Grunting, I thought, “This will all be worth it in 7 days. This will all be worth it in 7 days.” Pain seared down my legs. I squeezed my eyes shut and heaved my body forward one last time.

I was having a special moment with my foam roller.

Why so sore you ask? Well, as you can see from the countdown on my blog, my first half marathon is in 6 days. I’ve been pushing myself extra hard at the gym and on my training runs, trying to get those legs in tip-top shape so I can run my heart out for those 13.1 miles. Yesterday was a big day for me. I had been getting jittery and nervous last week as I watched those countdown numbers slowly tick down, and I promised myself I would crank out one last “long” (for me) practice run to convince myself I could do it. I set my sights on 10 miles. 10 miles, I could do it, no big deal. I woke up yesterday feeling good, made myself an amazing breakfast, my Autumn-themed overnight oats:

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L’s Autumn Overnight Oats with banana, cranberry compote, blueberries, delicata squash and almond butter; topped with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and a swirl of maple syrup.

You can find my recipe for overnight oats here: Overnight Oats. This time, I topped my oats with blueberries, banana, almond butter, leftover roasted delicata squash, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, a little maple syrup and a quick cranberry compote. I had leftover cranberries from another recipe and whipped this up:

Quick Cranberry Compote
Ingredients

1 cup of fresh cranberries

1 – 2 Tbsp raw coconut sugar

Directions: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat, and cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries start to pop but are still whole. Transfer to a bowl to cool; serve.

Optional: A splash of orange juice and zest of a quarter of an orange, but I had neither on hand. You can also increase the sugar to 1/2 cup if you want something sweeter, I really like the tartness of the cranberries with the other fruits in my oats, so I kept the sugar minimal.

The delicata squash I roasted for a snack on Saturday and put the leftover in the fridge. I scooped out about half of my leftover squash for the oats. (All I did was cut the squash in half length-wise, scoop the seeds out and lightly brush some melted soy butter over the inside. Roast at 450F for ~30 minutes for delicious, soft and creamy delicata squash. Easy peasy).

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Roasted Delicata Squash

Anywho, after I chomped that down and did a little tidying up, my “Booyah!” attitude was flagging. The little voice of doubt in my head started up.

– I don’t want to do this.

– You HAVE to do this, it’s the last Sunday before your race.

(etc, etc…I’ll spare you my 20 minute internal monologue – you get the idea)

I laced my sneakers up, picked a good song to start out, and pushed myself out the front door. It was crisp and sunny, and the fall colors were really amping up their game. You got this, I said.

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Dude, my shoelaces match the leaves.

I had one of those runs where you surprise yourself, when the choppy robot-lady voice from the Nike+ app interrupts your song: One mile completed. Average pace: nine minutes and fifteen seconds. As I racked up my miles, my pace did not deviate. I couldn’t believe it. It’s only a matter of time before my pace slows down to “normal,” or so I thought.

Five miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty-one seconds. (I then ate my mocha energy gel).

My legs were under protest, but I kept going. One foot in front of the other. Up, down. Up, down. I said all of my mantras to myself. I made up new ones. I hummed along to my music. Don’t slow down, I said.

Ten miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty seconds.

Let’s make it 11 miles. One more mile, you can do this, I said.

Robot lady: Eleven miles…I ripped off my headphones. I did it! BOO-freaking-YAH!

In the end, I shaved off 42 seconds from my mile split time. 42 seconds: half a minute, plus 12 seconds. I have not had that much of a jump in my speed since I started running consistently. I am walking like I just got off a horse today, and thinking about foam rolling my legs again tonight makes me cringe, but who the hell cares. 42 seconds!! Hells yeah!

Moral of today’s story: Get out there and do it. You might not want to, but you always have the potential to surprise yourself. 🙂

Happy Monday/Columbus Day!

– L (who today, has no legs).

😛