Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cross what?

If you name a trendy exercise class/group/video I can probably tell you exactly what it is, how many times I've done it, why I hate it and why I quit. It's no secret I've spent the last 6 years of my life trying, trying, and trying again to find some form of sweaty exercise goodness that I actually liked and could stick with.

I tried joining a gym but found myself just walking from machine to machine gently touching them, eventually going so far as to actually sit on them and attempt to read the directions...but usually just getting onto a treadmill until I felt adequately sweaty and never actually working out. I even hired a trainer at one point but we ended up chatting on the mats about movies/relationships/anything but working out and I never actually got a work out from that either.

Next I tried BodyPump which was a group workout of circuit training using weights. I actually enjoyed the class but it was at weird times for my schedule so I always found an excuse not to go.

Eventually, I convinced myself that since I liked dancing perhaps I might like to try a fitness dance class or some step aerobics. The people I saw from the gym window always looked like they were having so much fun! It took me all of 20 minutes to "get a drink of water" and just never come back...the steps were way too complicated and made even more so because I don't know my right from left without some serious thinking.

Last but not least - there was running. I want to be a runner SO BAD but it's just so damn hard. Not only that but I'm so self conscious running on the sidewalk. In my mind people in their cars wondering if the lumbering girl they're driving past is having a seizure or exercising and the folks on their front porches are thinking that perhaps they should stop trimming the hedges and offer me CPR or supplemental oxygen.
I could continue to go on and on about my exercise endeavors. There was the time that Stacey and I decided tennis was a good workout and bought raquets, skirts, and tennis balls (only to use them twice.) Then there was swimming which meant a new bathing suit and goggles that I only wore once. Not to mention spinning (my butt STILL hurts from that seat!) and Bikram Yoga (too expensive.) I could have started to get discouraged buuuuuuuuuut...
{***drumroll please***}

I found CROSSFIT!!!! I officially think I found my workout love. Crossfit is a workout I tried while in Iraq (it was the trendy thing to do after work) but absolutely despised it. I swore I'd never go again because I hated the jumping jacks, jumping rope, and jumping onto/off of boxes.

Recently, however, I decided to try again and holy moley am I glad that I did! Turns out the workouts I did in Iraq were just poor imitations of the actual Crossfit. It should be more like boot camp and less like step aerobics with some jump rope laced in.
My motivation in trying again was figuring out that our wedding is now less than 100 days away (gotta get rid of the chicken breasts hanging from my underarms!) combined with the fact that the Alamo Crossfit gym was literally 100 yards from my front door. I have been made to run, lift weights, use a rowing machine, and do squats until it feels like my butt will just fall right off (a good feeling, actually) alongside other people of every weight/age/fitness level you can imagine.

{This is not me, obvi, but an example of an exercise.}
I was DREADING going to the first day I signed up for Crossfit. Once I got there it was even worse when I looked around and saw the fit/cut/ripped/hard-core people. I started thinking, "no one knows me, I could run out right now." I even started coming up with alternate routes I could drive to and from my house so that I would never again have to drive by the gym.
BUT I DIDN'T LEAVE. I didn't do what I normally do and bail out and make an excuse. I almost died the first workout (and still come close to death almost every time) but I feel different this time. I look forward to going to see what I can push myself to do that day. I love feeling so tired it takes me 20 minutes to walk the 1/2 block home to my house. I love being so sore I have to use the handicapped bars to make it up the staircase. If you have a Crossfit gym around you - TRY IT! I'll be writing more about my adventures at the gym...and in the meantime - go try a workout and let me know how it goes! You won't regret it:-)
DISCLAIMER: It's now been 2 weeks and I have yet to tire of this place...check with me in 2 more weeks and we'll see if it's still as great as I currently think it is;-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Don't knock 'em til you tried 'em!

So, like I mentioned in my last post, I've been experiementing lately with different things in my diet and exercise routine. I've been reading lots of blogs and articles and recently read that Jillian from The Biggest Loser said (something close to/that sounded like,) "If it didn't have a mother or you can't grow it - you shouldn't be eating it." This stuck with me and got me thinking...Hmmmm...Doritoes do not have a mother, nor do they grow on trees. Poptarts and McDonald's Spicy McChickens do not have mothers and I don't believe there is a McChicken tree that I am unaware of. (I guess technically, yes you could argue that there IS parts of chicken in the McChicken. However, I'm going with the "spirit of the law" in this case and though I love McChickens dearly, I fully believe that the "chicken" is just beaks and toenails...which don't count in either the "mothered" or the "grown" categories. But I digress...) Anyway, I decided to try some healthier cooking - which led me to today's experiement - healthy french fries!

I tried this recipe (from for "Butternut Squash Fries" tonight. I recently bought the Hungry-Girl cookbook too and it's pretty awesome. Almost all the recipes are for 1 or 2 serving dishes which is sooooo great for me (who is always complaining about how every recipe out there is written for families of 6.)

Butternut Squash Fries
- Take a Butternut Squash (I had to read the labels on the vegetables at H.E.B. to find this because I had never seen one before.) This is what it looks like:

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut the ends off the squash and then cut it in half
- Using a peeler, remove the skin
- Cut the squash into french fry-esque looking slices
- Arrange on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray
- Quickly spray the tops of the squash with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasonings (I used salt but next time will go for some Cajun Seasoning Salt or some Crab Seasoning.)
- Bake in oven for 40 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through

Here is (someone else's) a picture of what the squash fries really do look like when you're done:

I was pretty amazed at how close to steak fries these actually tasted. You can eat a HUGE serving of them for around 110 calories too. I had a meatless "chicken" patty on an English muffin with them and it was pretty tasty, I'm not gonna lie. Try 'em out and let me know what you think!

DISCLAIMER: I will NEVER EVER give up my frozen ice cream bars or my weekly dinners out with the girls...but really, seriously, that's just asking way too much :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm coming back...I swear it!

I've been MIA for a while (that term just seems grossly inappropriate after Boo was in Iraq for 15 months...but for lack of a better term at 5am, "missing in action" it is!) Anyway, I started my new job in the operating room, moved to a new apartment across town (still unpacking! doh!) and have been experiementing with food/drink/exercise nonstop for a couple weeks now.

I religiously keep up with a few blogs that have truly inspired me to do/try different things. Gina, Jenna, Angela, and Danika each have a fun, friendly, and really inspiring blog about health, eating and/or running/exercise. I wanted to put in a plug for my favorite blogger ladies (because while I haven't been writing, they have and they are brilliant!) and let you know that AFTER this weekend (I'm going home to see my Boo, my family, and tie up some wedding ends) I'll be back and with updates on all my new endeavors! Happy Humpday :-)