Under Pressure

So, this past weekend didn’t really go as planned…

This is what was supposed to happen… My dad, husband and I have been planning on going to the Clemson vs. UGA game since they announced our two teams would be playing.  My family is huge Clemson fans (I graduated in ’99, my dad graduated in ’69, I grew up going to the games and we had the Clemson Tiger at our wedding reception) and my husband is a big UGA fan (although he pulls for Clemson also as long as we are not playing each other!).  Our plans included letting our boys pick between wearing their Clemson or Georgia shirts Saturday with no influence from us, going to watch ESPN Game Day on campus, tailgating and my dad, husband and I going into the game to see who would get bragging rights for the year.  Out of that my husband and I tailgated and went to the game.

Clemson vs. UGA

Clemson vs. UGA

What actually happened… Wednesday I talked to my dad and he said he was having a lot of back pain and asked what he should do.  That evening my mom called and said my dad was just taken to the hospital because his back hurt so bad he could not get off the floor.  Needless to say my dad ended up being admitted to the hospital and is still there today.  He was diagnosed with an infection that attacked his spine.  Good news is the infection has cleared up.  Bad news is being in the bed has affected his mobility and he is still having back pain.  Before you think that I am a bad person, my dad encouraged us to go to the game Saturday night.  The game was actually perfect medicine for him.  He watched the whole game (the longest he had stayed awake and alert at that point) and interacted with the TV (normally it would be cheering or yelling depending on the play).

Daddy & Jack

Daddy & Jack

So when you are living a clean eating and exercise lifestyle how do you handle these valleys we all experience in life without wiping out hard work and/or reverting to bad habits?  When I was packing to go Wednesday night in addition to the normal things you take on a trip I was packing food.  I grabbed several Isagenix bars and shake packs (these are meal replacements, nothing can be more convenient!), I put some casein in a bag (my last meal of the day before bed), my blender bottle and a big bottle for water.  The good thing about the shakes and bars is I can eat them whenever I am ready.  It is inevitable when you are in a hospital situation that you are going to have to eat out.  As far as eating out, I tried to find deli’s because I knew I could get a good salad.  For dinner one night we went to a Mexican restaurant (my favorite!!) and I got chicken fajitas.  I do not get the tortillas, rice or beans with mine so I just have the chicken and veggies.  Eating Mexican requires some will power to not eat chips (happy to say I was able to resist!) but I did have a margarita!  I had breakfast from the hospital cafeteria one morning because I had stayed with my dad the night before.  I asked for a cheese omelet.  It was more like cheese with a dash of egg instead of the other way around.  It was so gross, I was literally picking egg out of all the cheese.

Cheese Omelet

Cheese “Omelet”

I am now back home and on my schedule.  I was so happy to be able to get back to my normal eating and drinking my normal amounts of water.  I have killed my workouts the past several days, nothing makes me feel better than a good workout!  The key for me staying on track while I was gone was to not give into emotional eating and stick with my shakes, bars and healthy choices when I did eat out.  I knew that since I wasn’t working out I needed to stay as close to plan as I could since I wasn’t burning extra calories.  If you find yourself in a similar situation be sure to eat (we get so wrapped in what is going on that we forget to eat) and try to make healthy choices.  There are so many unhealthy choices out there but stay strong and do the best you can!

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“I don’t eat that bad…”

This post is dedicated to my cousins.  I saw them at my sister’s wedding and they had lots of questions for me and this topic is one that came up.  Below is a picture of me, my sister, mom, aunt and cousins from a Christmas long ago!

Family Christmas long ago!


How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t eat that bad” when they are talking about trying to lose weight?  I hear it all the time and there was a time when I was saying the exact same thing.  Chances are you probably are eating that bad and you don’t realize it.  So what’s the best way to figure it out?  Start a food journal.

my food journals

my food journals

I started keeping a food journal when I first started on my clean eating journey (which is why I have 3 journals in the picture, I’m close to needing a new one!).  Wondering what I write?  I record each meal I have throughout the day (include times when starting out), serving sizes and my workout (ex: chest & biceps and 30 min cardio).  This is a great way to actually see what you are eating.  You can see if you are eating enough proteins, too many carbs, too much fruit, too little food or too much food.  You want to try and stick to a protein, carb, veggies and fruit for each meal.  An example is you may just eat cereal with milk and a glass of orange just for breakfast.  You may notice that about an hour after that you are starving and eating again.  This can be a result of not having any protein with your breakfast.  A good fix would be to change it to non-fat greek yogurt with granola (look at the box and stick to the serving size) and fruit on top.  You now have a complete meal consisting of a protein, carb and fruit.

Tracking serving sizes and the times you eat can tell a lot.  So many of us eat convenience foods and we grab a box of this or a bag of that and before we know it the whole thing is gone.  Start paying attention to serving sizes and you will be surprised at what it actually is verses what we consume.  If you are only eating 3 meals a day and not having a morning and afternoon snack you will probably consume more than you should at meal time because you are so hungry.  Adding 2 snacks in keeps your metabolism running at a regular rate and prevents bingeing.  You may find that you are constantly eating all day and realize that you need to cut it to 3 meals and 2 snacks.  Believe it or not eating too little can give the same results as eating too much.  If you are only eating twice a day your body is in starvation mode and is holding onto everything you put in.

At the end of the day all of our bodies run differently but the common denominator is we all should be eating clean, healthy, unprocessed food 5-6 times per day.  Keeping a food journal can open your eyes to your eating habits and let you see where you need to make changes.  The key is keeping yourself honest… write down everything you eat!  Even that handful of cheese snacks that you had while getting your kids snacks together!

Thanks for reading my blog!  I hope you are sharing it with your friends 🙂  Are you following me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest? @fitnessgirlclt

Time to Party!!

This past weekend my sister got married!!  It was such a fun time being part of her special day and seeing friends and relatives that we don’t get to see as often as we like!  I took full advantage of the opportunities to let loose and enjoyed myself!  Once Sunday morning came around and all the festivities were over I wasn’t feeling so well…

Having two small children going out is not something I get to do very often.  My husband and I got the chance Friday night and we jumped at it!  My boys were in the wedding so they were at the rehearsal but my husband’s parents watched them while we went to the rehearsal dinner.  When I was talking with my mother-in-law about the logistics of getting the boys to bed (we were in hotel rooms on opposite sides of the property) she offered to let the boys stay in her room.  It’s very rare to have a free babysitter (they aren’t cheap!) especially being out of town so we quickly took her up on her offer!  There was a DJ at the rehearsal dinner so it was more like a party!  After that we went to a shagging club and had a great time!  Let’s just say that even though I wasn’t working out in the gym I got my heart rate going on the dance floor!

The next morning I felt great!  Saturday we spent most of the day getting ready for the big evening.  I had stayed pretty close to plan on my eating (except for the few drinks I had the night before) up to this point.  The wedding was wonderful, my sister look absolutely beautiful!  When my dad first saw her in her dress, he started tearing up and couldn’t talk!  So sweet!  When we got to the reception I was starving and ready to have some fun.  Dinner was great and the cake was delicious!  Once again I had a few drinks and got a cardio workout on the dance floor!

Sunday morning I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck!  I was so tired and my stomach was not feeling great.  We had breakfast (buffet in the hotel) and headed home.  I still was not 100% at this point and we decided to get fast food for lunch so we could eat in the car and get home.  It has been so long since I have eaten a fast food burger, fries and a soft drink (I quickly remember why!).  The meal did not help me at all!  I ended up having a protein shake for dinner and going to yoga (I really didn’t have the time to go but knew it would help me feel better).

So this morning I still wasn’t feeling great.  I started thinking back over the weekend and quickly figure out why… I had not been drinking water like I normally do (I try to drink 1 gallon/day), I had not been in the gym since Wednesday morning, I got off track on my eating, I had more alcohol than I normally do on a weekend, I forgot to take my vitamins most of the time and I didn’t sleep great.  I had a lot to do today to get caught up from being gone and had someone coming over mid-morning.  Despite that I got the boys and we headed to the gym anyway.  It’s now towards the end of the day and I feel so much better!!  I have been back to my normal eating, been drinking water and got my blood pumping this morning with some weights and cardio.

We all have weekends like this where we get off track.  The key is to get right back in your routine as soon as you can.  It will help you feel so much better and your body will thank you for it!

My sister's wedding weekend!

Gotta Adjust

I know, I know… I have been MIA for a couple of weeks now.  I bet you have been wondering what I have been doing.  Well, I have been laying around playing Candy Crush, taking hot baths, not doing weights or cardio, going to the pool, and I got a massage.  Before you start wondering if I have fallen off the deep end let me explain…

Remember my back problems that haunt me every so often?  The pain has come back and hit a peak last Monday.  I was in the gym to do my regular weight workout but with lower weight and then planned on swimming.  I did my first set (was doing back and chest that day, I do 3 exercises consecutively rest for 30 seconds then repeat for a total of 4 sets) and the pain in my back started increasing.  I did the second set and then pain was so bad I had to stop right then.  It took all I had to put my equipment away.  I immediately started trying to stretch and left to go home shortly there after.

When I say I was laying around, what I really mean is I was laying on the floor on an ice pack or heating pad (I played Candy Crush during this, lol!).  Sitting is the worst for low back pain so instead of sitting I lay flat.  I have also been taking baths using Epsom salts a couple of times a week.  My youngest son decided that his back hurt too and he needed to lay on the ice also…

Jack's "back hurt too"

I have been going to the gym but more to stay in the habit and to get myself and my kids out of the house each morning.  I have not been doing weights or my regular cardio.  On a normal week I go to the gym 5 days doing 4 days of weights and cardio plus 1 functional workout (fast paced plyometrics).  Recently I have been just riding the upright bike, walking a few laps around the track and stretching.  I can’t remember the last time I left the gym a sweaty mess.  However, this is what my body needs right now.  I have changed my workouts to help my back.  For now that means doing my workouts using machines (instead of free weights) and only doing 2 days (1 upper body, 1 lower body) and only doing what doesn’t hurt.  I’m also taking a regular yoga class and at least 1 if not 2 deep stretch yoga classes a week.

I have been going to the pool but not always to get some Vitamin D 🙂  Since most cardio puts weight and pressure on your hips (which puts pressure on the back) my options are very limited.  I have started swimming and doing pool workouts.  If you have an injury and have access to the pool this is an excellent option.  There is no pressure on your joints meaning you can get through your workout pain free!  Plus for some reason I always feel like I am burning more calories when I swim.

And the massage… there was not pleasurable or enjoyable about it at all!  I went to a massage therapist that I went to in the fall when I was having problems that specializes in sports therapy.  He gets into the muscles and works to release the tension.  There was a lot of “ouch” and hardly any “ahh”!  In my therapist’s defense I did feel much better when it was all over!

So if you have an injury don’t let it take you out.  Adjust your workouts to do what you can and stay in your routine.  Try to continue your normal gym trips as best you can doing the exercises that you can so you don’t fall out of habit.  When you start filling your gym time with other things that becomes your normal routine and you could have a hard time getting back in gear once you are better.

Writing this blog standing up

Writing this blog standing up

It’s okay to be selfish…

I met a girl at the gym recently that I have seen around for a while.  She works out really hard and is making great progress.  She asked me if I thought she was too big (as in getting too muscular).  I asked her what she thought.  Her response was she didn’t think so (I agreed with her) and I told her that was all that mattered.  I found out that a person close to her told her that she was getting too big and that she needed to lay off the weights.

When you decide to change your habits friends notice, whether it be you telling them and/or they see differences in the things you do.  Sometimes friends feel threatened by this.  You may have been the life of the party and have now decided to cut back or cut out alcohol.  Or you were the person friends could call when they wanted to go out to eat and now you have decided not to eat out as much.  When I started working out in the gym I went after work regardless of what else was going on.  Friends think that because we make lifestyle changes that we are becoming different people.  This is when friends can start to try and derail what you are doing.  They want the old you and you are trying to become a new you.

So what do you do?  You do what makes you happy and what you need to do to reach your goals.  Friends are going to give you their opinion whether you ask for it or not.  You have some options on what to do after that…  You can explain to them that you have decided to make some changes and you would love their support (don’t try and change them or convince them you are doing the right thing, stand true and firm on your choices).  Sometimes you have to do a little friend cleaning… as in end relationships.  No one needs negativity in their lives no matter what is bringing it on.  To be successful in making lifestyle changes, it can be much easier when you surround yourself with people that are supportive.  They don’t have to do what you do but they should let you do what you want and not try to talk you out of it.

Bottom line is do what makes you happy.  There will always be someone that says you are too skinny, too muscular, too this, too that.  All that matters is what you think and how you feel.  Stay true to yourself and your goals!

Yoga Does Wonders!

Everything you read says how important it is to stretch when you exercise.  Some people say before, some say during and others say after you workout but the bottom line is stretching is important.  Confession… I rarely stretch and this is not a good thing!  When I am finished with my workouts I am ready to get out of the gym and on with my day.  However, on those rare occasions that I do stretch I feel so much better!

Last summer I heard about Deep Stretch Yoga.  This is different from normal yoga classes in that you just stretch the whole class.  You hold yoga poses for up to 3 minutes at a time.  It wasn’t until late October of last year that I finally went and tried a class.  What was I thinking waiting so long to try it?!  In my opinion this is the best class ever!  I have talked about my low back pain and this is excellent for it!  I didn’t realize that so many different muscles affect your low back.  The class does a good bit of lower body stretches (hamstrings, quads, hips) and these all affect the lower back.  Don’t worry, you also get to stretch your arms and shoulders good too.

I took a deep stretch class regularly for about 10 weeks and then stopped when the package I bought ran out.  Big mistake.  When going to the class I felt like a different person when I left than when I arrived just 75 minutes earlier.  Not only did my body feel a million times better but I was also so relaxed.  Normally I take evening classes but once I did a day class and I was such a better person throughout the whole day!  Something about yoga is so relaxing and peaceful.  There are no mirrors so you can’t see what you are doing and you can’t get distracted by what others are doing.  The lights are low, the room is warm, the music is light and relaxing and no one bothers you!

I have recently started back to help my back and I can already tell a huge difference.  I highly recommend this class!  If you do have pain or injuries be sure to tell the instructor so they can tell you how to modify the poses if need be (example, folding forward puts a lot of pressure on the low back so I lay on my back for these poses).  The great thing about yoga is it’s your practice so you do what you can.  It’s not a competition and no one cares what anyone else is doing (that’s the great thing about there not being mirrors!)!


No Cheating!!

I usually work out by myself but on Friday I worked out with a friend.  My friend has worked out off and on over the years but has a big event coming up later this summer and wants to lose some weight before then.  She is doing the Cathy Savage 60 Day Summer Smack Down (Cathy Savage is who I train through) and she had questions about some of the exercises.  I offered to go to her gym to answer her questions and then after we worked biceps and triceps and did 30 minutes of treadmill HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Once we got the questions out of the way we got started on weights.  I am proud to say that she had good form!  Form is so important when using weights (and machines).  If you do not have good form you could miss the muscle that you are trying to train or even worse bad form can lead to injuries.  As far as amount of weight be sure to lift enough to challenge you.  Going too light can defeat the purpose and going too heavy can lead to bad form and injuries.  You are taking the time out of your day to exercise, get the most bang for your time by using the right amount of weight and good form!

Next was our HIIT on the treadmill.  I didn’t tell her this (but she will know when she reads this!) that I chose the interval plan that I least like to do.  It is really challenging for me… it involves walking, running, mountain climbers, push-ups and hop squats.  I picked this one because I wanted to set a good example for her and I knew that would push me to do my best.  We can all slack off when we think no one is watching but if you know someone is watching you want to go as hard as you can!  Bad thing about working out with someone is if you are trying to “cheat” your way through it, you can get called out on it 🙂

Exercise takes time out of our day that we can probably think of a million other things to do instead.  If you make the effort to go to the gym, why waste it by not giving it 100%?  Another friend commented to me one day how I was so good on my workouts and I follow what my sheet says (I’m old school and print out my workout sheet and carry it around with me).  I told her if I didn’t follow my plan (workouts and nutrition) then I would be wasting my money (on my gym membership and Cathy Savage).  I read the other week that 1 meal won’t make you fat and 1 meal won’t make you skinny.  How true is that?!  Whatever it is you want to get out of your gym time, be sure you give it all you’ve got.  You don’t want to waste your time or money!

Another year older… a little wiser

This weekend I celebrated my 36th birthday!  I know women aren’t supposed to tell their age but I am proud of it!  I am healthier and in better shape now that I was in my 20’s before marriage and kids!  I was thinking of the things I have learned this past year and some things I want to work on for this year.

  • Be happy!  I admit that I can be a negative person and I am committed to changing that.  As my boys grow I see the things I do coming out in them (the good and the bad).  I am trying to focus on the positive and ignore the negative.  It doesn’t matter what other people think.  I can only do what I think is best for me and my family.
  • Along those same lines I have “cleaned out” the pages that I follow on Facebook.  I love the fitness world and following those that are successful but I am realizing that they don’t always paint the whole picture.  Looking at the pictures that most of the women post are unrealistic.  The pictures that are posted are ones that they have dieted down for but they make it out like they look like that all the time.  They don’t.  I now try to follow people who keep it real and write about their struggles as well as their successes.
  • I’m working on finding my balance more.  Yes, I can be extreme (I wrote a post about it a few months ago) but I also know I don’t have to be perfect all the time.  If I want to have a drink with my husband on the deck while listening to music and watching the boys play and it’s not a treat meal, oh well!  I can sweat it out the next day at the gym.
  • Listen to my body!  This past year I struggled with back pain and instead of listening to my body and slowing down or stopping when I needed to I pushed through.  I felt like if I didn’t work out I would be perceived as a quitter or slacker.  It will be okay if I miss a workout so I can rest and not end up making things worse.

This year I am going to continue on my journey of living a healthy lifestyle.  I want to continue show others that you can be a mom and you can be healthy at the same time.  I have goals and dreams that I am continuing to work towards.  Hopefully next year at this time I can write about the goals and dreams that I have come true!

What’s to eat?

It’s summer time and my favorite time of the year for eating!  If you are new to eating healthy or want to try it, now is the best time!  Here are a few of my favorite things about eating in the summer…Grilling!!  It is so easy to eat healthy when you are grilling.  You can take any kind of meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, fish and pork are the ones I cook most often) and marinade it in whatever you are craving.  There are so many choices to pick from and there are even more homemade sauces you can make.  Don’t limit yourself to the marinade section in the store, salad dressing makes a great marinade too.  My favorite is BBQ sauce that I make myself.  My husband is a teriyaki fan.  Dale’s Seasoning (I buy the low sodium) is great on steaks, chicken and pork.  I think my absolute favorite meal on the grill is BBQ chicken kabobs.  I put chicken, whole mushrooms, green peppers and onion on my skewers with BBQ sauce.  Serve it with brown rice on the side and you have a delicious, healthy dinner!  Another added bonus to grilling is there is no clean up!

Fruits & Vegetables!!  This year we are participating in the Springs Farm (Fort Mill, SC) CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and I just picked up my first basket of the season.  If you have this in your area I highly recommend trying it.  For a flat fee I go to the farm for 14 weeks and pick up a basket of fresh produce.  You get whatever is fresh that week and everything is grown in the Springs Farms.  Today I got peaches, strawberries, zucchini, squash, cabbage, green onions and cucumbers.  I tasted a strawberry (these are grown across the street from my neighborhood!) when I was washing them off and it tasted a million times better than any strawberry I have gotten from the grocery store.  It really is true that local produce tastes so much better.  If you don’t believe me, go to your local farmer’s market and buy a few things you normally buy in the grocery store and taste the difference!  A great way to prepare your vegetables is on the grill.  Toss them in olive oil and seasonings or even an oil based salad dressing, put them in a grilling basket or wrap it in aluminum foil and cook them at the same time as your meats.  Did you know you can grill peaches?!

I am now off to grill tonight’s dinner of BBQ pork chops and grilled veggies (squash, zucchini, green onions tossed in Italian dressing).  My boys were wanting a peach from the time we got our basket so dessert will definitely be peaches!

Week #1 of CSA

No Motivation

Time for some honesty.  I have no motivation these days.  All I want to do is lay around.  As I said last week I have been having back pain that has forced me to modify my workouts.  I was getting back into the swing of things last week when I came down with a cold (why do we get colds in the summertime?!).  I ended up skipping my Thursday, Friday and Monday workouts.  Friday was the worst.  I had little appetite and pretty much laid on the couch or in the bed most of the day.  The remainder of the weekend we had a pretty full schedule so I rested when I could but good news was my cold started breaking up.  Yesterday I decided to stay home and spend time with my family and catch up on my house work.

So that brings us to today.  I looked at my workout sheet this morning and noticed that I have only done the bicep & triceps workout once this month.  It’s the last workout of the week and because of my back and cold I have only had a 5 day workout week once this month!!  My strategy this week is to do my workouts in the reverse order to make sure I get the muscles that have gotten neglected this month.  Anyway… I did my workout this morning but decided to skip cardio because I’m still getting the gunk out of me.  This afternoon my energy was in the toilet again and I ended up resting.

I am something of a perfectionist and even though I don’t have a specific goal or event I am working towards I still want to hit all of my workouts as if I did.  With the lazy days of summer here I am going to do my best to get all of my workouts in and stay on point with my nutrition (this can be done regardless of health and energy levels!).  I’m hoping that I get over this hurdle as soon as possible so I can get back into full gear!